How to Choose Your First Hires as a Small Business Owner

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[3-minute read]

You’re a solopreneur playing the boss role with a Shakespearean level of skill. You’ve been a lone ranger. The captain of your own ship. The master of your fate. But, there comes a time in the life of every small business owner when you have to recruit your first crewmates.

Ask some small business owners how they did it and they might put it down to a science – first you do A, then you do B; and C will follow. Others might put the process down to following your instinct. We think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. At Truevo, we’ve invested in building a People Team that’s got the perfect combination of experience and street smarts.

In the beginning stages of building a team that’s going to take over the world, you may simply not be able to hire an HR executive to sift through all the nitty-gritty. Relax, it’s not a train smash. Remember, you know your business, you’ve built it from the ground up, you’ve invested in creating a brand and with a bit of research and good ol’ intuition, you’ll be able to make a call on your first few hires. Here are our tips for onboarding your first recruits – Truevo’s very own People Coordinator, Cindy Mostert, weighs in.

Look for Jacks (and Jills) of all trades

Have you heard the term, specialist-generalist? Because as per the last decade, it’s become a “thing” in the business world. According to mba.com, specialist-generalists are the people you want on your side when you’re trying to turn a molehill into a mountain. Specialist-generalists are people who have skills in a particular area but who also have broad knowledge of other related fields and can apply themselves to tasks that may not directly fall under their certified area of expertise. Usually, the hallmark of being a specialist-generalist is a hunger to expand and learn. For example, in the creative industry, a copywriter who has a basic knowledge of web design and/or graphic design, and who has dabbled in aspects like web analytics or strategy, is a good investment. These are the kind of people who will grow with your business as it transitions and expands, and as Cindy explains: “generalists who can perform a range of different functions are able to adapt to change easier, and as your business grows, they can fulfil more specific, specialised roles if necessary.”

Sometimes it’s about attitude rather than aptitude

You can hire the most prolific professional in their field, with the most experience and a skillset that goes as far as fire-dancing, but if they’re not a team-player with a can-do attitude, they’ll cause more damage than good. Collaboration in a small business environment can sometimes be the key to innovation. According to Cindy: “Having the right attitude in life counts a lot in my books. The candidate might lack the skill, but you can work on that, while a person’s attitude is not easily changed.” At Truevo, we make sure that from the very onset of the hiring process, we make it clear that we’re looking for people with good characters – people who share our vision and resonate with our brand’s personality. For example, you won’t find any stock-standard, cut-and-paste, jargony-shmargony job descriptions coming from us. We make sure that our job advertisements talk to the kind of people we want to attract. We openly welcome “misfits,” and we have a “come-as-you-are” philosophy. We do human, and that’s always proved worthwhile.

Choose the people who choose you

Our People Coordinator, Cindy Mostert is always dazzled by candidates who can tell her something about Truevo during their first interview, or candidates who have questions relating to our product offering. Candidates who do research on your company proactively are people who really want the job – they’re not just playing a hit-and-miss game but have proven that they’re willing to invest time and resources into finding out about who you are and what you do. Forbes encourages us to “measure passion,” in order to find people who don’t want just any job but who are after the job you’re offering. Candidates who go the extra mile without being asked to do so, or who show that they’re able to take initiative at interview stage, are usually the kind of candidates who demonstrate this same strong work ethic in their jobs.

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