What were your experiences when hiring for the first time?

Hi all,

I am researching a book an hiring for the first time, and want to know the biggest problem or challenge faced when entering the world of being an employer. Was it scary? Exciting? What would you do again and what would you do differently?

Thanks, Scott.

Top voted answer
Phil Joel

Phil Joel, Director at SavvySME

I was in my mid-twenties and a newly appointed manager and had the pleasure of hiring for my team. It was nerve wrecking at first as I had no experience (other than my own sitting on the other side) and I was interviewing people who were a lot older than me. It was only recently that I had some formal training on how to interview people. That would have helped me immensely by knowing the type of questions to ask. Depending on the role, sometime I am more interested in how the candidate approaches the situation rather than their technical knowledge or experience.

Scott Brown

Scott Brown, Principal at

Great insight, Phil, especially identifying how important the interview is. I especially like your last sentence...how many times do businesses hire on skills but fire on fit? Getting the mix of skills and culture fit is the best way around that little issue. Seems you have that sorted!
Steve Gray

Steve Gray, Director at Gray Capital Investments

Similar to Phil, I have had to select staff based on little experience. I hope I did a good job. :)

Years later I had a position as a job search trainer so selecting staff after that wasn't too daunting. Actually day one of this job I got asked to select an assistant for my area... two choices, I made the right choice! but it took a while for me to realise that :)

In one of my businesses, I was contemplating taking on staff, had a few casuals to help out (relatives) so it was easy to have some people to give me a hand.

On a number of occasions I wanted to have a part timer, but when I NEARLY got to the point of taking that action the contract I was working on was canceled.

It would be useful to  have some form of financial device (perhaps a spread sheet?) to be able to know when you can viably take on a new person.

Scott Brown

Scott Brown, Principal at

Thanks Steve. Seems to be something I am hearing a lot - hiring the first time is usually done without proper experience and/or training. Making the right choice does come with practice...glad it worked out for you!

Financial constraints seem to be a kicker as well. I would like to think that by the performance of our business we can determine when the need for staff and when the need to hold back is evident.
Thang Do

Thang Do, Project Intern at SavvySME

Hi Scott,

We, a team at SavvySME, are currently working on a project to help SME owners to improve their productivity when it comes to hiring new employee.

I would love to hear more of what you've managed to research in this topic, if you don't mind sharing?