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Hiring your first employees: facts and advice

Hiring employees in the early stages of your business can be a challenging proposition, but there are ways to increase the chances of success. Working with a staffing agency, knowing what you're looking for in candidates and emphasizing the advantages of working for a small company will help you attract qualified candidates. 

One of the most effective ways to attract strong candidates is to work with a staffing agency. The Wall Street Journal emphasizes that agencies can help you meet a range of employment needs, and find you employees from entry-level to top-level executives. This need is even more pronounced in fledging and small companies, who do not have large HR departments. Recruiting is an involved and time-consuming a process—not feasible for busy entrepreneurs who have an endless number of other tasks. However, agencies take over all of the "legwork," finding you top-tier candidates to fill essential company needs.

Employers should also pinpoint the qualities, beyond core competencies and skills, they're looking for in prospective employees. Since workers must operate in a fast-paced, high demand and constantly changing environment, autonomy and self-direction are key traits. 

"In many cases, the ideal candidate can operate with a great deal of autonomy and doesn't require hand-holding," The Wall Street Journal argues.

Another way to attract well-qualified candidates is to emphasize the perks of working for a small firm: less bureaucracy, more flexibility and the potential for high growth in one's career. Moreover, in small companies, leaders "tend to have closer relationships with employees and often treat them like family," an upside for individuals wanting a close-knit company culture. 

Employers should highlight unique selling points for different positions. For example, when hiring an executive, you should emphasize the equity you'll provide "in exchange for the risk," The Wall Street Journal proposes. For middle managers, make the case for why your company has "staying power," and for entry-level employees, focus on the potential for high growth within the organization.