Whether hiring your first employee or your 1,000th, the process you use to do so matters. Bringing a new person on board requires thoughtful planning. Most of us don’t “just need an employee.” We want a person who will mesh well with our existing team, meet the position’s criteria and be flexible.

For most startups, the creation of a hiring plan isn’t always considered a priority. As a result, at one time or another, you end up hiring a person with the right experience without considering how well your new hire fits with your existing employees (if you have any). Often business owners are more concerned about filling a void in the short term, without considering the long-term outcome of the decision.

After a few bad hiring decisions, it becomes apparent you need a plan. You realize you aren’t simply filling a vacancy. You’re hiring someone you’ll build a relationship with, someone who will impact your business either for the good or bad.

Do you have a hiring plan or process in place? If so, is it meeting your business needs when you interview and hire a new employee? Creating a benchmark to evaluate applicants is the best way to ensure you, your existing staff and your potential new hire are compatible. Moreover, you’ll gain much-needed insight into your candidate’s communication skills, how she deals with stress and the unexpected.

These criteria can help you develop a hiring process for your business, or evaluate your existing plan.

  1. What opening needs to be filled? Is it an existing vacancy or a newly-created position?
  2. Do you have a written job description for the position?
  3. Determine exactly what you are offering, in terms of pay, benefits, bonuses, employee discounts, etc., prior to an interview.
  4. Develop a standard list of questions you’ll ask each candidate.
  5. Consider your environment and current employees, if any. What is your tribe’s vibe? What personality will your new hire need to fit in with your current team?

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll cover setting up the hiring process in more detail. We’ll go in-depth regarding the criteria I listed above. I’d love to hear what works for you, and what you might need help with. Please respond with a comment below or an email to [email protected].

Robin Aldrich is the author of Bootstrapped! Creating a Small Business on a Budget. Robin helps entrepreneurs thrive through personal and professional development. For more information visit her website, robinaldrich.com.

Originally published at medium.com