Writing a job description

When you’re ready to hire your first employee, the job description deserves careful attention. A good job description will give prospective hires a clear idea of what you’re looking for, and will attract people you have in mind. A bad job description, on the other hand, can lead to confusion and wasted time.

Here are some of the key features to have in mind when writing a good job description:

  • Job Title
  • Job Purpose
  • Duties & Responsibilities
  • Relationships & Roles
  • Qualifications/Requirements
  • Job Location
  • Salary/Wage
  • Hours & Days of Work
  • Equipment to Be Used

Take some time to enter in as much info as you can in each of these sections. You can build upon the above features if you like – they are key in creating a strong foundation to work from.

Read more: Hiring Your First Employee

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When to hire in your small business

when-to-hire-in-your-small-businessWhen we interviewed successful entrepreneurs across Canada, one of the areas of difficulty they found in their businesses was the decision of when to hire employees.

So – how do you know when to hire your first employees?

  • Sum everything up in a big pros and cons list — identify what benefits an employee could bring to your company, as well as the drawbacks and costs of being an employer that would result.
  • Which business activities are you really good at? Which could use some improvement? It often doesn’t make sense to hire someone to perform an activity that your company is particularly skilled with.
  • Consider the financial impact that hiring will have on your company, as well as on corporate culture and daily operations.
  • Take a look at your business’ finances and calculate your ability to afford payroll.
  • Assess the variety of options you have available, such as full-time, part-time, hiring on contract/a freelancer, or hiring a student.
  • If you find you’re not ready to commit to hiring a new employee, consider contracting or outsourcing the work through personal networks or websites such as Upwork or Freelancer.
  • Consider the business activity that will be happening in the next month, three months and six months. Is this a workload that you’re able to handle on your own? Think about the business processes you’re currently responsible for that you could hire help for — things like accounting, administration, manufacturing, website design, marketing and public relations.
  • Once you’ve calculated an allowable budget for hiring, consider whether you can afford a part-time or full-time employee or if it would be more beneficial to contract the work.

There’s a lot to keep in mind when making the decision to hire your first employees, but with proper planning and research, it can be a very rewarding experience!

After you’ve hired:

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22 job interview questions for employers to ask

You know that hiring employees for your small business is an important consideration, and the interview is the best way to get to know your candidates. It’s your only chance to gather as much information as possible to make your decision. Prepare a detailed list of measurable and comparable questions before beginning the interview process. Here are 22 basic question types to get you started:

Background/Personal:

  • What is your experience in relevant positions?
  • If I were to ask a past employer or supervisor, what would they say one of your biggest strengths on the job was?
  • If I were to ask a past employer or supervisor, what would they say one of your weaknesses on the job was?
  • What do you consider to be your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
  • If your friends, co-workers or colleagues were asked to describe you in three words, what would they say?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What has disappointed you with previous jobs?
  • What motivates you to do your best with a job?
  • What do you look for in a job?
  • What was the most important decision you’ve ever had to make?

Company/Position Specific:

  • What do you know about this company?
  • What skills can you bring to this company?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • Do you work well as a team player? Do you feel most comfortable working alone or with a team?
  • What are you looking for in this position?
  • Do you have experience with the particular computer programs/equipment that we use here? (List all relevant programs or equipment)
  • How long would it take you to make a meaningful contribution to this company?

Situational/Hypothetical Questions:

  • Ask things like “If an unhappy customer were to approach you with a complaint about a malfunction with one of our company’s products, how would you respond?”
  • What would you do if . .
  • How would you react if. . .
  • Who would you tell if. . .
  • Tell me about a problem that occurred in the past at a workplace and how you handled it.
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Tip of the Month: Hiring Your First Employee

Your small business is growing and you’re finding yourself with more work than time – great conditions to warrant hiring your very first employee! So, now, how do you do that?

Firstly, this might seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you really do need an employee. As with every business decision, we encourage you to sit down and write out a plan. What will this person do? How often? For how long? Can you afford to pay someone? Can this person actually be kept busy and fulfilled?

Once you’ve decided that hiring an employee for your small business is definitely the way to go, here are some next steps:

  • Open a payroll account with Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Ensure you follow all governmental Human Resources Regulations.
  • Identify job requirements and prepare the job description for your first employee.
  • Use application forms for applicants and be sure you know what you can and cannot ask.
  • Begin to interview your chosen candidates (we recommend you set yourself a limit of interviews).
  • Check all references provided.
  • If this position requires any kind of testing, this can be undertaken at this point.
  • Once you’ve selected your ideal candidate, prepare an offer of employment letter.

Check out GoForth Institute’s How-To Guide for Hiring a First Employee for a step-by-step, more detailed document you can download for free to reference whenever you like.

Hiring your small business’ first employee is a very serious consideration, but it’s also infinitely rewarding and even fun. Enjoy!

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