HOW TO HIRE YOUR FIRST EM­PLOYEE

NO big­gie, but this COULD make or BREAK your COM­PANY.

Collective Hub - - STYLE MAKERS - DO THEY SHARE YOUR VAL­UES? ARE THEY NIM­BLE? CAN YOU LEARN FROM THEM?

So, you’re ready to hire your first-ever em­ployee. Con­grat­u­la­tions! For many own­ers of bur­geon­ing busi­nesses, hir­ing their first em­ployee is a mile­stone mo­ment; your com­pany is thriv­ing and you’re scal­ing with it. How­ever, that’s not to say it’s not also in­cred­i­bly daunt­ing. Where do you be­gin? Who do you hire? Here are a few things you’ll want to look for be­fore you get po­ten­tial hires to sign on the dot­ted line.

DO THEY SHARE YOUR PAS­SION FOR YOUR BUSI­NESS?

Hav­ing founded Floom – an on­line bou­quet de­liv­ery plat­form be­ing touted as the De­liv­eroo of floristry – in March last year, Lana Elie re­alised she needed an­other pair of hands on deck.

“[I was look­ing for] some­one who wasn’t go­ing to be too pre­cious about their ti­tle,” says Lana, who came up with the con­cept be­hind the Lon­don­based de­liv­ery ser­vice af­ter feel­ing unin­spired by the many bou­quets she sent as part of an old job as an ex­ec­u­tive PA at Burberry. “When you’re a small and new com­pany, ev­ery­thing needs do­ing. I wanted some­one who felt as ex­cited as I did about the prospect of launch­ing and grow­ing.”

CAN YOU SEE THE TWO OF YOU WORK­ING WELL TO­GETHER?

You’re go­ing to go from be­ing a one-man band to a team and the suc­cess of your start-up hinges on the qual­ity of your work­ing re­la­tion­ship. What’s more, your first em­ployee is the ini­tial step to­wards cre­at­ing a com­pany cul­ture, so try to fo­cus on how well you think you’ll work to­gether as op­posed to their ed­u­ca­tional level or qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

“I got where I was in my ca­reer be­cause peo­ple gave me a chance,” says Lana, who was head of brand so­lu­tions at Bri­tish fash­ion mag­a­zine i-D be­fore found­ing Floom. “They saw I val­ued the work I did, and that I took it se­ri­ously. As some­one who never got the op­por­tu­nity to go to univer­sity, I’d feel hyp­o­crit­i­cal to have those re­quire­ments of some­one else.”

As well as be­ing per­son­able, your ideal prospec­tive em­ployee will come armed with ex­pe­ri­ence, solid or­gan­i­sa­tional skills and a sim­i­lar work ethic to yours.

“It was less about their cre­den­tials and more about how proac­tive and or­gan­ised they were,” says Lana, who now em­ploys six peo­ple. “I now feel I have a good in­stinct for hard work­ers and peo­ple who may not come with the an­swers im­me­di­ately but will find ways of fig­ur­ing it out. Ev­ery per­son on the team be­lieves in the com­pany and its ul­ti­mate suc­cess – that’s im­por­tant to get you through the low days.” As you’re prob­a­bly al­ready aware, writ­ing a job de­scrip­tion for your firstever em­ployee is an al­most im­pos­si­ble task as your re­quire­ments for them are likely to vary wildly from day-to-day. How­ever, what you do need is some­one who ap­pre­ci­ates that fact and is able to deftly hop from one task to an­other.

“When I started, ev­ery­thing needed sup­port,” ad­mits Lana, not­ing that it’s now much eas­ier to hire be­cause she’s re­cruit­ing for more spe­cific roles. “[Ini­tially], no two days were the same, which still feels like the case, even though there are now six of us! The beauty of be­ing small is you can be re­ac­tive, you can test and change, and I think that’s im­por­tant to our growth.”

Fi­nally, Lana ad­vises small busi­ness own­ers to hire some­one whose skill set com­ple­ments their own, as op­posed to shar­ing the same strengths and weak­nesses. “Look for some­one who you think is smarter than you,” she con­cludes. “When it’s just the two of you work­ing all hours of the day, you’ll want some­one who you feel like you’re learn­ing from.”

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