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Hiring your first employee: our tips for doing things right! (Part 1)


Once your company is up and running and business is steadily growing, you will likely start thinking about bringing in reinforcements by hiring your first employee. This is a turning point for any company and comes with risks. Certain oversights can have serious consequences. So, to help you build your future dream team in the right conditions, we have compiled a few helpful tips:

Tip 1 Ask the right questions prior to recruiting


1. When and why recruit?

It is important to assess whether your recruitment responds to a temporary increase of activity or rather a long-term need. Next, you must determine if your new recruit will complement your company’s portfolio of services and skills, or if you intend to delegate tasks to them that you are capable of doing yourself. This will affect both the type of employment contract and the profile you’re looking for. Along the same line, you will have to feel out the “right timing” for your hire, which is usually ASAP, as soon as finances allow, so you can free up your hands and focus on developing your activity. Next, you will have to define the missions to entrust to your employee and estimate the overall workload.

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2. What profile are you looking for?

Based of your initial responses, you need to determine the skills, knowledge, experience, etc. for your ideal candidate. It’s all a matter of the person’s know-how, often considered to be the most important criterion. Nonetheless, do pay attention to their soft skills such as: their independence, adaptability, people skills, curiosity, etc. Other criteria can also come into play: possibility for frequent travel, foreign language skills, and their level of digital literacy.

You really need to know what you want. And you will surely have a very personal concept of the “ideal employee.” But careful not to fall into the trap of hiring someone because they’re a lot like you! Nurture your differences.

3. What is your budget?

Like for any major expenditure, the overall cost of your hire should be established and sized up against your budget, payment capacity (cashflow) and profitability objective. Not only will this help you avoid nasty surprises, but it will also make you more efficient in your search by narrowing the suitable profiles and ease salary negotiations down the road. Items to take into consideration are, at minimum: the gross salary (over 12 or 13 months) and the employer’s social security contributions (+/- 14% of the gross salary). Beyond that, be sure not to forget any fringe benefits you promise (meal vouchers, insurance, company vehicle/accommodation, etc.), the cost of potential training and any other expenditures relating to material/equipment/supplies, licences, etc.

Tip 2 ► Do not neglect any steps in the recruitment process


1. Define the job, the profile, the contract type and draw up an ad

It should include the definition of the job title, the mission, responsibilities, contract duration, probationary period if applicable, etc. and the desired profile (required skills: education level, specific skills, personal qualities, etc.). When drafting the ad, be careful not to include any discriminatory criteria such as age or gender and try to highlight your company (values, history, “raison d’être,” …). Making your business stand out is essential. Your ad shouldn’t resemble a mundane to-do list, it should give applicants an idea of what it’s like to work in your company. For example, what would the hiree’s average day be like?

2. Post your job offer

First, think to post on the ADEM1 According to law and in the interest of maintaining full employment and market analyses, employers who wish to recruit a new employee are required to submit a declaration of vacant position to ADEM. Employers who do not find the ideal candidate through ADEM can extend their offer and look in the right places: once you know “who” you’re looking for, you need to figure out “where” to look. You will not use the same approach if you’re looking for a student right-out-of-school or someone with 10 years’ experience. There are many options for posting your ad: educational institution’s employment and recruitment websites, student fairs, LinkedIn (more and more popular!), job offer sites, recruitment agencies, etc. You might need to try several channels to find the perfect fit.

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3. Analyze applications and hold interviews

Based on the CVs and cover letters (if you ask for one) you received and analyze (presentation, length, spelling mistakes… all of which can be very telling of the candidate, their qualities and their mindset), you will select a certain number of people for one or more interviews. No need to wait to have dozens of CVs to start this process. Good candidates won’t wait around so call them in ASAP. Interviews should allow you to verify their professional skills and gauge their motivation. More technical tests and/or practical examples can be used as well. During interviews, don’t be afraid to promote your company and adjust your approach to each candidate, but be honest. There is no use making promises you can’t keep. The applicant will find out the truth sooner or later and may decide to walk away.

4. Hire and integrate your employee

First things first, make sure you don’t forget your obligations (see Tip 3 for administrative formalities). Next, to ensure your employee is operational from their hire date, prepare their integration into the company and make yourself available for their arrival. You will likely be the one training your first employee (company operations, clientele approach, transmission of know-how, etc.). It could be wise to factor in a drop in productivity for the period until your new recruit is fully functional.

As you can see, hiring your first employee is a major step and an important decision that requires careful planning of your needs and the desired profile, not the mention the paperwork it involves. In the upcoming Part 2 of this article, we will provide a checklist to help you through the process, error-free!

Learn more :

1 : ADEM 

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