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After the Hire

Get new employees off to a good start.

Congratulations! You've hired your first employee. Now what?

As soon as you hire, call or write the applicants who didn't make the cut and tell them you'll keep their applications on file. That way, if the person you hired isn't the best--or is so good that business doubles--you won't have to start from scratch in hiring your second employee.

For each applicant you interviewed, create a file including your interview notes, the resume and the employment application. For the person you hire, that file will become the basis for his or her personnel file. Federal law requires that a job application be kept at least three years after a person is hired.

Even if you don't hire the applicant, keep the file. Under federal law, all recruitment materials, such as applications and resumes, must be kept for at least one year after the employment decision has been made.

In today's climate, where applicants sometimes sue an employer who decides not to hire them, it's a good idea to maintain all records related to a hire (or nonhire). Especially for higher-level positions where you narrow the field to two or three candidates, put a brief note or memo in each applicant's file explaining why he or she was or wasn't hired.

The hiring process doesn't end with making the selection. Your new employee's first day is critical. People are most motivated on their first day. Build on the momentum of that motivation by having a place set up for them to work, making them comfortable and making them feel welcome. Don't just dump them in an office and shut your door. Be prepared to spend some time with them, explaining job duties, getting them started on tasks or even taking them out to lunch. By doing so, you're building rapport and setting the stage for a long and happy working relationship.

From Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Book You'll Ever Need, by Rieva Lesonsky and the staff of Entrepreneur magazine

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