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6 min read

Your business' first hire

Making the pivotal decision to bring on your first hire marks a significant milestone in the journey of your business. It is not merely about expanding your team; it is about entrusting someone with your vision, inviting a new perspective into the fold, and laying the groundwork for growth. Learn more about how hiring can make a profound impact on shaping your company's culture, productivity, and future. 

Know when you’re ready to hire

How do you know if it’s time to take the leap and go from a team of one to two?

Here are two simple questions to give you a quick gauge of whether hiring is the best move for you now:

  • Are you too busy working in the business to work on the business? In other words, you're spending more than 20 hours per week on administrative work. 
  • Do you have the revenue to hire an employee? 

Is it a “yes”? Some more detailed questions to consider include: 

  • Are there patterns of extended working hours, missed opportunities or declining quality?
  • Are you consistently receiving more customer demand than you have the capacity for?
  • Is there a skill or knowledge gap that’s actively harming your business operations or potential?
  • Have you identified bottlenecks caused by resource limitations?
  • Do you have the capacity to effectively manage an employee?


Figure out who you need to hire

Once you know you’re ready to hire, clearly define what kind of person you need to support you. A full-time salaried employee isn't your only option. Depending on the current strengths and weaknesses of your business, you may find a contractor, co-op student, co-founder, part-time employee or seasonal worker could be the right fit.

Define your needs, then create a job description that meets them. You may not be able to find someone who checks all the boxes at a price you can afford, and that’s okay. Hiring is also about developing talent, so your employees can grow with your business.

A hiring strategy that works for you

Once you’ve defined the role you need filled, you can decide which channels to use to reach potential candidates. You could use job boards, company websites and social media profiles, networking events, LinkedIn, your professional network and referrals. Try using several channels to reach a broad audience and high-quality applicants. 

  Pros Cons
Full-time employee
  • Higher cost
  • Can be hired on a project-by-project basis making them very flexible
  • Offers specialized skills which can be useful for short-term, specific tasks
  • Cost-effective and simple. Contractors are responsible for their own taxes
  • Less oversight and control over the work done
  • There is high turnover and you may not be able to find someone consistently available
  • Depending on the need, they may be more expensive because they offer highly specialized skills
  • Useful academic knowledge
  • More affordable due to wage subsidies and less experience
  • Often bring a strong enthusiasm to the workplace 
  • Can be hired on permanently after graduation, offering a trial period prior to bringing on full time 
  • Often lack experience compared to more seasoned employees and may need more training and guidance 
  • Usually only available for short terms 
  • Personally invested in the success of the business 
  • Distributed responsibilities: they are able to share the workload and have a different area of expertise 
  • Shared financial contribution 
  • Decision conflicts can lead to serious problems 
  • Equity distribution: determining ownership can be complex and requires legal agreements
  • Long term committment: departure could signficantly impact the business
Part-time employee
  • Flexibility: can help provide capacity and cover tasks without the need for full-time salary and benefits
  • Reduced cost: they require lower payroll
  • Limited availability can create scheduling issues 
  • Commitment: part-time employees are usually not as invested in your business' long-term success
Seasonal employee 
  • Temporary support during peak periods allow you to meet demand 
  • Cost-effective: less expensive than keeping an employee on throughout the year
  • Scalability: you can adjust the number of employees needed based on the time of year and demand
  • Training costs can be higher 
  • Limited engagement and commitment 
  • Can be challenging to find candidates during peak-seasons 



Create a timeline for filling the position. If you’ve already determined that you do need support, there’s likely some level of urgency. Establishing a timeline for each step of the hiring process—posting the job, reviewing applications, interviewing and extending offers equips you to fill the position when you need to, and gives you time to find a quality candidate. 


With some intentionality, you can create an interview setting that allows you to learn more about your candidate’s skills (interpersonal, technical and problem solving), culture fit and attitude. There are a few variables for you to choose to make your interviews effective and work for you (and your candidates): phone, video or in-person interviews, behavioral versus technical questions, and live challenges or tasks.

Once you've finished your interviews, it's time to make a choice based on your shortlisted candidates.

Even with your interview notes and established evaluation criteria, comparing candidates can be challenging. In this phase, it may be natural to rely on your intuition and lean toward the candidate you liked the most.

While there's merit in incorporating your instincts to a certain point, being aware of your own biases and not being swayed by them is crucial. An objective approach not only upholds your ethical responsibilities by providing fair evaluations but also allows for decisions grounded in tangible evidence. Plus, opting for candidates with different perspectives, skills and backgrounds means building a more diverse talent pool with complementary skills.

You can offer feedback to shortlisted candidates who weren’t selected. Giving them valuable, constructive insights adds to their professional development, which could allow them to come back around to you later as future prospective hires. You can play a role in their growth and position your company as valuing continuous improvement and nurturing talent—building a stronger candidate pool for future openings.

When it comes to the final decision, reference checks can help sway split decisions and confirm you’ve verified a person’s performance. Make sure you have a candidate's permission before you reach out to references with specific questions.

The offer and onboarding

Reach out to the candidate with a formal offer letter that outlines the job role, compensation package, benefits, start date and any other details you discussed. It's a good idea to have a lawyer review it before you send it out to confirm you're navigating the hiring process by the book from a legal standpoint.

The offer solidifies your previous commitments and sets clear expectations for the job. It will be an important document for both you and your new hire to refer to.

Be prepared to answer any follow-up questions and acknowledge any changes with a revised letter if needed. This is the beginning of a new working relationship—take the time to make a positive first impression and start the relationship off right.

How you set up payroll for your new team member will depend on their employment type. Set a clear payroll plan in place before your new hire's start date so you can make accurate payments, handle tax deductions (and any other necessary withholdings) and deposit their paycheques on time. This shows your commitment to a smooth and dependable payroll process—and ultimately, your new team member.

Developing an onboarding strategy creates a smooth transition for your incoming team member, along with a warm and professional welcome. Walk them through your company's policies, operational procedures and overall ethos. After they become familiar with these foundational elements, you can slowly introduce specific assignments and duties, giving them time to absorb what they’re learning while preventing overwhelm. Prioritize training, effective communication channels and a nurturing atmosphere to help your new addition succeed. Your thoughtful investment in their onboarding will lead to strong productivity and an effective working relationship.

You’ve started to build a strong team around you.  Next, dive into business continuity planning and how to keep your business running smoothly in case of emergency.