You know all about background checks already, so we aren’t going to waste your time with that (which isn’t to say you shouldn’t hire a convicted felon. He did his time. It’s up to you). But let’s imagine your first employee isn’t a convicted felon. Let’s also say you’re not necessarily hiring just one person – maybe your first few employees. This is a major decision for a young entrepreneur. The quality of staff can mean the difference between your business prospering and going under. When you don’t have enough (or any) experience, it can be a scary decision.
You won’t know anything about your future employees without asking. Don’t just ask the typical questions (i.e. why did you apply for this job, why are you the best fit, what are your strengths and weaknesses), but actually listen to what the person says. Ask follow-up questions if something isn’t clear. Don’t dismiss them just because their answers weren’t unique – in fact, be prepared for less-than-imaginative responses.
Don’t confine yourself to the usual questions – ask what you really want to know. It’s important to ask them how they imagine the job in order to deal with unrealistic expectations or false impressions in advance. It’s also important to know how they work under pressure or whether they are able to at all. Ask them what they last did or how they last felt when working under pressure to make a better judgment.
Employees are human beings just like you. You should treat them the way you want them to treat you. Try to be a good boss instead of someone they’ll run away from. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t act decisively when you sense something’s wrong. Your company’s success should be just as important to your staff as it is to you.