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3 tips for hiring the first employee for your startup

Running a startup is exciting and challenging. Eventually, you may find yourself in need of employees. Taking on your first worker is a major step for your new business. It may feel intimidating and scary, but it is a good sign that your company is thriving and has potential. 

Going from a solo entrepreneur to a boss is an amazing accomplishment. Here are some guidelines for successfully hiring the first employee for your startup organization.

1. Handle all legal obligations

There are plenty of documents to file and regulations to follow when it comes to employing an individual. Some legal responsibilities you may need to take care of include the following:

  • Getting an employer identification number from the IRS
  • Registering with the Georgia Department of Labor
  • Obtaining workers' compensation insurance coverage
  • Setting up a payroll process
  • Serving the employee with IRS Form W-4
  • Filling out IRS Form I-9

Do not put these obligations off. Instead, tackle them head-first. The sooner you get your legal ducks in a row, the better.

2. Conduct thorough background checks

You want to put each applicant through a stringent screening process. If your worker does something unlawful while working for you, you may face legal consequences. Putting each applicant through a background check will help you find out any criminal histories so you can avoid problems and lawsuits. 

3. Create a handbook

While this is not a legal requirement, an employee handbook will help you and your new employee tremendously. The purpose of a handbook is to describe your policies in detail. Your manual should explain workers' compensation policies, nondiscrimination policies, medical leave policies and disciplinary processes. This removes a lot of gray areas and misunderstandings that can lead to complications down the road. 

Interviewing, screening, hiring and managing your first employee may be challenging, but it is a worthy pursuit if you want to have a successful enterprise. Adhere to these tips to conduct an effective hiring process.

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Robert Kaufman has been selected as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in ‘Commercial Litigation’ as will be published in the May issue of The American Lawyer & Corporate Counsel magazine.Alex Kaufman has been selected as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in ‘Commercial Litigation’ as will be published in the December issue of The American Lawyer & Corporate Counsel magazine.

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