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Hiring Your First Employee

Multitasking is second nature to many entrepreneurs. Present sales pitches, close deals, issue invoices and follow up on payments – entrepreneurs know it all. However, at some point, you start to wonder if you should hire someone so you can focus on growing the company strategically.

How do you know if it’s the right time to hire an employee? Do you have sufficient cash flow to hire one? Or worse, what if you hired the wrong person? Hiring your first employee can be scary so we have come up with some points to help you with it.

How do you know if you’re ready?

Check your finances. It’s not just about paying salaries. Someone who earns a gross monthly income of RM3,000 doesn’t just incur a cost of RM3,000. As an employer, you will need to contribute to your staff’s Employee Provident Fund (EPF) as well as Social Security Organi¬sation (SOCSO). The cost increases when you factor in staff benefits, insurance, allowances, and claims.

Assess the role you need to fill. Ask yourself this: are the tasks meant for a full-time or part-time role? Is the role strategic or administrative in nature? Be clear about the role you’re hiring for. If it is merely administrative duties, you could hire an administrative assistant to help with the paperwork.

Assess what kind of person you need. Apart from hiring the right skill set, you also need to look for someone with the personality and values that fits your vision and work culture. One often-dispensed advice is to hire someone who has worked in a start-up before, because a lot of autonomy is required. Seasoned hires from multinational corporations who are used to structure may struggle with that.

You’re not ready if…

You’re desperate. You have 10 projects coming in at the same time. This doesn’t mean you need to hire immediately, especially if all 10 projects are short-term. Remember, full-time hires are long-term investments.

You come across good talent but... Unfortunately you’re not sure where to fit them in. It’s extremely tempting to “snap up the goods” when you see it, but a good employee will not be of any use if you have no real work for them.

You only need someone for a one-off project. Full-time hires aren’t your only option. Consider freelancers or temporary staff if you only need someone for a short period of time.

Where to get talent?

Online job portals. You can search for suitable talents at job seeking portals such as Wobb or MauKerja. Wobb is a work culture-centric job search platform that focuses on getting jobs for young professionals, while MauKerja is the #2 generalist job board in Malaysia that focuses on both government and private sector jobs all over Malaysia.

Word of mouth. Talk to your friends, fellow entrepreneurs, and business contacts. This method is more likely to get you a good candidate because whoever recommends a candidate is prepared to vouch for them. This means reputations are on the line.

Social media & your own website. Social media is the way to go, and recruitment ads on Facebook are not uncommon, especially if you’re aiming to hire a millennial. Put up an eye-catching post and link users back to your site for more details and where to submit a CV.

Universities. Get connected with relevant schools and faculties in order to reach students in your industry. You may even get the opportunity to educate students about your business and this will surely lend a hand towards hiring fresh grads in the future.

Hiring an employee for the first time may seem intimidating, but hiring the right person at the right time is a clear indication that you are ready to move to the next level. The only way for a business to grow is to hire resources. It is scary and exciting but take it as a sign that your business is heading in the right direction – towards growth!

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