If your start-up has reached the point of expansion where you are looking to bring on new members of the team, congratulations! That is a huge a milestone and you should be extremely proud of the hard work that it took to reach this point.

At Summa Media, we know first hand how hard it can be to hand over pieces of the business that you built from the ground up to someone else. It is your baby, your pride and joy! How can you expect someone else to invest the same amount of work and attention that you have over the years?

While giving up control can be scary, it is also necessary. As you grow, you will likely find yourself stretched thin and needing certain expertise that you yourself do not possess.

To help make reaching this milestone more exciting than scary, the Summa Media team is sharing our guide for hiring your first employee with you today. Keep reading below to learn our secrets for building a top notch team.


Deal With the Legalities First

Bringing on an employee means dealing with quite a few legalities including:

  • Obtaining an Employer Identification Number
  • Getting your taxes in order
  • Setting up insurance, workers compensation, and other relevant benefits

We recommend brushing up on federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations prior to taking any action.


Understand Your Needs

Once you understand the legal impact of taking on an employee, it is time to identify, understand, and prioritize your needs. Look for areas of your business that you have begun to neglect or that have begun to struggle with growth. Then, ask the following questions:

  • How critical is this function to my business?
  • What skills are mandatory to fulfill this role?
  • What skills are nice-to-haves, but not must haves?
  • Where are these candidates likely working now?
  • Is this a full-time role or a part-time role? 

Write a Job Description and Post the Opening

Once you understand what functions you are hiring for, it is time to write a job description. In the description be sure to include any skills that are required and preferred, the location of the position, and general expectations for the role.

Once you have your description it is time to post the job on prominent job boards. There are hundreds of option available. Take the time to research which job boards are best for your industry and start with those.


Reach Out to Your Network

Chances are that someone somewhere in your network that fits the candidate profile is looking for a job. Share the position with friends, family, and on your social networking sites to try and source candidates locally.

Consider attending industry networking events as well. These can be particularly helpful if you are looking for a very specific skillset.


Interview the Candidates

Once you have a candidate pipeline, it is time to interview the candidates. To create a positive candidate experience, set expectations early on. Things like the interview process and timeline should all be disclosed upfront. If there are multiple business partners, everyone should take part in the interview process.

During the interview process it is important to remember that the candidate is also interviewing you! Just like they need to impress you, you need to impress them. Why should they want to come work for you? What opportunities for growth will you offer them? What benefits are you offering that other employers don’t?


Check References and Background

Once you have your top candidate it is time to run a background check and call your candidate’s references! Some employers like to do this prior to interviews, but we advise against it. References should only be called once you know you have your top choice and background investigations for every single candidate will get expensive.


Make the Offer!

Once your candidates references check out and background check comes back all clear, it is time to make your offer! Before making an offer, research industry and local averages for similar positions in order to help yourself remain competitive.


Offer Accepted, Now What?

Once your top candidate accepts the offer, it is time to begin the onboarding process. In addition to the legalities such as I-9 verification and tax forms, it is also important to consider how you will train this person. How will you bring them up to speed on your business practices? How will you educate them on the scope of their role? These are all important things to consider prior to their first day.

Hiring your first employee will likely ignite a range of emotions, but overall it is a milestone that you will look back on with pride for years to come.



If you have experience scaling your business and bringing on your first, second, third, employees, and beyond, the Summa Media team wants to hear from you. Share your hiring best practices with Summa Media’s team and readers in the comments below!

Call Now ButtonCall Now