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Hiring your very first employee can be a scary prospect. How do you make sure you pick the right candidate? And then how can you set them up for success when they start? Luckily there are a few tried and tested techniques you can use to ensure the hiring process is smooth for employer and employee alike.

1. Practice inclusive hiring to ensure you find the best candidate

When posting a job opening, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the number of applicants and lean into hiring who you know. Humans like familiarity and seeing the name of your old college or workplace on an application can seem like a good sign. But resumes are just records of privilege. There might be incredible candidates who weren’t financially able to go to a good college or take unpaid internships. Inclusive hiring is the act of being conscious of these privileges when hiring and practising blind hiring – the act of removing company and college names and dates from resumes.

By practicing inclusive hiring you can ensure that you’re judging candidates on their potential and abilities, not just their privileges.

2. Set the expectations early, for both of you

There’s nothing wrong with being upfront with a candidate early and setting expectations for salary, work patterns, and how often there’s an “all hands on deck” emergency. Some people thrive in fast paced environments, and others prefer to take it slower. Having an open and honest dialogue during interviews will help make sure it’s the best fit for you both. After all, hiring an employee is like embarking on a new partnership – you want to make sure it’s win-win.

3. Preplan your onboarding

The most stressful and insightful few weeks at any job are often the first few. There are so many processes and systems to learn, and so much information to take in.

Setting up a solid onboarding plan before your employee starts is the key to success, for both new employee and employer. Documenting things such as most used websites, account log in details, or frequently asked questions can be helpful as your new employee can refer back to that document whenever they need to.

If you’ve never hired an employee before, you probably don’t have a good onboarding template to refer to. Luckily lots of companies share their onboarding playbooks online for your reference. You can take the best parts and make them work for you.

4. Connect with your new employee on a personal level

Overwhelming, hectic, a whirlwind. That’s what it feels like to start a new job, so just imagine what it’ll feel like to hire your first employee. Make sure that you schedule time with your new employee, ideally in their first week, to touch base, get to know each other, and have some time connecting on a personal level.

You don’t have to be friends with the people you work with, but you should at least show that you value them as a person outside of the labour they produce for you. A quick 15 minute chat and check in where you ask them how the onboarding is going, but also if they have weekend plans, or if they saw the game last night, can be invaluable.