5 Things to Know About Making Your First Hires

Last Updated Jan 21, 2011 6:26 PM EST

The Question: I've never hired an employee before, and now my business demands that I hire several. How do I minimize the number of hires who don't work out? -- Jim Hathwater, MI

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council, an advocacy group founded by serial entrepreneur Scott Gerber that works to take action against youth unemployment by teaching young people how to build successful companies. The council's members include Generation Y entrepreneurs and experts in a variety of fields.

1. Find the round peg
"As an entrepreneur, your job is to be a constant promoter, but often I see business owners make the mistake of hyping a position too much during the interview. The result is that they try to push a square peg in a round hole. Instead, use the interview as an opportunity to set clear expectations of the job and then work to find someone who is qualified and excited to fill that particular role." -- Anderson Schoenrock (@ScanDigital), co-founder of ScanDigital
2. Hire for your values
"It is all about core values -- discover them, know them, and use them in the interview process to screen out the people you do not want." -- David Hauser (@dh), co-founder of Grasshopper Group

3. Avoid big titles with little real experience
"Look behind impressive resumes for inherent flaws. Don't get gamed. Verify the legitimacy of references before you contact them. You never know when someone is using his or her mother or friend as a 'former employer.'" -- Scott Gerber (@askgerber), founder of The Young Entrepreneur Council

4. Sweeten the deal but protect the company
"If you're giving equity as part of the compensation package, make sure that there is a cliff of one year and that the equity vests in four years. A one-year cliff ensures the employee has been at the company for at least a year before he or she accrues equity. A vesting period of four years ensures that the employee earns equity at the company over an extended period of time." -- Jun Loayza (@junloayza), co-founder of RewardMe

5. Start everyone as contractors
"Even the best talent recruiters hire crappy people at times. Minimize your risk of hiring the wrong person by hiring everyone as a temporary contractor. Set up 6-month initial contracts with new people and set expectations that it's a trial 'fit' period. If the person is good, then offer a full-time job. If the person isn't good, then you have an excuse to show them the door due to lack of fit." -- Eric Bahn (@beatthegmat), founder of Beat The GMAT
The Young Entrepreneur Council is a nonprofit led by the world's top, young entrepreneurs. Our mission is to take action against youth unemployment through programs that encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. It was founded in New York in 2010 by serial entrepreneur and internationally syndicated small business columnist Scott Gerber, author of Never Get a "Real" Job.