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Time to Grow: A Guide to Hiring Interns, Assistants, and More

There comes a time in every business journey where you simply need help. Expanding your team is an excellent way to accommodate new clients, free up time to pursue new projects, or simply clear your plate of all those tasks that make your eyes cross. If you hate social media or can’t wrap your head around accounting numbers, it may be high time to bring on someone who can take that work from you and do it even better.

Still, growth should never be spontaneous; a successful expansion requires careful planning to ensure your company is ready to bring on new talent and effectively train and onboard them.

Let’s explore a few considerations to keep in mind as you’re preparing to grow your team.

Is it time to expand?

Before writing job descriptions or setting up a new desk, you need first to determine whether you’re in an excellent place to bring on an employee. Check-in with your books to determine your financial solvency; if you’re barely scraping by month to month, you probably shouldn’t be offering someone a regular paycheck. You may need to consider taking a step back to keep your workload manageable so you can slowly build up revenue that can pay a new team member.

Who should you hire?

There are different routes to take when seeking help in your business; each has its merits.  So consider the pros and cons of each within the context of your company and its needs. The type of help you seek will depend on what kind of work you look to outsource. Hiring someone to plan out your social media strategy will look very different than bringing in a team member to balance your books.

Employees

Employees are likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think “hiring.” You bring new staff members on board as a part of your team and expect them to stay with you for the foreseeable future. It’s not seen as a temporary agreement, like contractors or interns, so an effective hiring process is especially critical when seeking both part-time and full-time employees. Full-time employees should be earning benefits in addition to salary, so be sure that you are prepared to satisfy their pay and benefits package on an ongoing basis.

Contractors

Contractors and freelancers work for you, but not under you. They do not become a part of your company, and you are not responsible for benefits. You simply outsource your work to them, and they return it completed for your review. Working with contractors is great because it requires far less overhead than an employee; however, you need to firm about expectations and quality of work, as you won’t be working with them in person. Review contracts very carefully when hiring contractors and always ask for references to ensure it’s a good fit.

Interns

Contrary to popular belief, interns are not free labor. Interns are typically students who are seeking academic credit (in place of pay) or people who are new to the industry and looking to gain beginners’ experience for a stipend or minimal compensation. There is no salary or benefits, so internships are generally set for a finite amount of time. Once the time is up, you are free to offer the intern a job in your company, or they will seek employment elsewhere. Interns don’t bring the level of skill that vetted employees and contractors do so consider that as you determine what type of work you plan to outsource. Administrative tasks, social media, scheduling responsibilities, and office management are great roles for interns.

Finding, Hiring, and Onboarding

Regardless of who you aim to hire, you need to start by writing up a job description that outlines the position’s responsibilities and any expectations that go along with it (i.e., hours per week, ability to drive, use of a personal computer, etc.).

This job description can go up on online job boards, industry Facebook groups, local newspapers, and even sites like Craigslist. You should also reach out to industry peers for referrals, as the names you get back will be pre-qualified for you already. If somebody you trust trusts them, then there’s a better chance they’re a good fit.

As the applications start flowing in, start reaching out to the impressive applicants and schedule interviews, whether in-person or via video call. Prepare interview questions in advance and align them with your company’s values and the position’s responsibilities. When you’ve found “the one,” close the job posting and let everyone else know you’ve made your selection.

Onboarding is a time-intensive process, so be prepared to spend the first few weeks (or months) training your new team members and showing them the proverbial ropes. Check-in with them often in this initial stage to ensure they are grasping the work at hand while showing them that you are a resource when they need help.

Hiring help takes time, and there’s always a certain level of risk in bringing someone new onboard. However, rest assured that, in the long run, your efforts will pay back tenfold when you find yourself with more freedom and a trusted team member to back you up when needed.

 

Jennifer Taylor is the owner and founder of Taylor’d Event Group, a leading event planning company that serves local and destination clients in Washington State and Maui, HI. She is also the principal of Jen Taylor Consulting, a consulting firm that works with creative businesses of all sizes to implement streamlined workflows and organized systems to find more time and space for business growth and personal development.

 

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