Many people start freelancing so that they get to be their own boss -- be able to choose the projects that they work on and do them in their own terms. After some business growth though, freelancers usually find that they'll also need to hire some others and be their boss too if they want to take their one-person shop to the next level. The same is true for small businesses. They too need to go on the occasional hiring spree as they grow from small to not-to-small enterprises.
But even though one-man shops and smaller businesses don't have an HR department (or even a dedicated HR person), it doesn't mean that they need to hire blindly and hope for the best. In fact, that's probably the worst way to go about it.
What's the best? Glad that you asked, for, in this post, we'll give you five tips on how to hire the right person.
1. Know your needs
Before you start looking around for a hire, you need to ask yourself what do you need them for. What specific roles will they be asked to fulfill in the company? What skills should they have? If you put out an ad looking for a graphic designer, don't also expect them to answer your phones or keep the company's books.
That said, if you want someone to do "a little bit of everything" around the office, it's OK too. You just need to be upfront about it, and communicate it clearly in any job description you put out there.
2. Hire people that are a proven fit
The hardest thing about hiring the right person is that you don't know whether they are that before you have worked with them (which, of course, means that you've already hired them).
Sounds like a cul-de-sac, but there's an easy way out:
See if you can hire some person that has worked with you in the past, perhaps an ex-colleague from the company you were working before, or someone that did some gigs for your freelance business in the past.
They might be interested in becoming full-time employees -- and you already know and appreciate their work. If you already have a few other employees working for you, ask the ones you trust more to recommend some people that they know.
3.Do a proper interview
Job interviews are not just for big enterprises.
Sure, you don't have to make it a whole complicated process (or worse, an ordeal) that prospective hires have to go through. But at the very least, have a talk with them and try to gauge their skills.
4.Make a decent offer
If you want to hire the best, be prepared to pay accordingly. Or at least, give them some perks (e.g. fun office environment, flexible hours, insurance plan, working-from-home Fridays or such) so that they might prefer you from a better paying job.
In any case, try not to pay below what's the average for such employees in your area. If you can't afford it, perhaps you're not ready to hire another employee (or even your first employee) yet.
5.Start with a trial
If you are uncertain about a candidate, don't just blindly offer them some multi-year contract. Depending on the country and/or jurisdiction your business is in, it might be difficult or costly for you to fire them mid-contract if they prove not to be a good fit.
Instead, start them off with a trial period -- anything from one to three months should be enough. If you are satisfied with how they performed through that period, then you can hire them without worrying about how they will turn out.
Hiring is hard. Our tips and tricks about how to hire the right person make it a little less so -- but it's still more of an art than a science. In the end, after you have ensured you did a thorough evaluation, just go with what your gut tells you. Check out our previous article on finding the right accountant for your small business!