3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making That Hire


By nature, entrepreneurs are optimists. After all, you don’t go out and risk everything if you’re not sure it’s going to pay off in the end. But there are times when that cheery outlook can get you into trouble. You’re so sure that everything will turn out right that you can end up spending money before it’s actually a smart time to write the check.

One of the areas where this ice is particularly thin is hiring: As your company gains momentum and the work piles up, an extra pair of hands can seem vital. And it might be. But if you still don’t have full funding or are relying on clients to keep your cash flowing at the right clip, moving too quickly can mean weighing yourself down with unintended consequences.

The truth is, even when you’re sure you need a new project manager, you really may not. It’s at times like this when it’s important to step back and examine your plan in cold light. Before you move ahead with an addition to staff, ask yourself the following three questions.

How Will You Pay for It?

If you can’t draw a straight line between the hire and an increase in your margin, don’t do it. Too often, entrepreneurs justify bringing someone on board by pointing to their financial pipeline — the sales they’re about to close or the investment round that’s about to come through. To be sure, it’s a hopeful time when you’re preparing to sign a deal. But hope isn’t a reason to add expense.

Are You Hiring for the Right Job?

So you’ve been hunting for a project manager but haven’t found anyone who fits the bill. Then you meet a developer who’s got a stellar resume along with experience as a team lead. She’s looking to make a change and thinks working for you would be a gas. Paying for her would be a stretch, but you’re pretty sure you can swing it. A better-than-hoped for solution? No.

You decided to add a person because there are specific holes in your operation that need to be plugged. Yet now you’re bringing in someone whose skills lie in other areas. By hiring them, you’re not addressing the issues you faced in the first place — and which will remain after the hire. The lesson: Focus on your core needs. Otherwise, you’re just solving problems you don’t have, and adding more trouble to the problems you already do.

How Does Your Team Feel About It?

In some cases, your team may be clamoring for a new hire to help them, first, keep things going and, second, retain their sanity. If that’s the case, your job is to question them about how a new person will streamline their work, help them accomplish more and strengthen the business’s finances. In other cases, you may have decided the team needs help on your own. Either way, it’s smart to question others to make sure your hire will fill the right need.

And don’t forget the personal aspects of all this. Your plan to bring in a developer may get your existing developer’s nose out of joint if he believes he’s got everything under control. While his upset may not change your mind, consulting with all involved will help you identify any challenges you’ll have to address to keep everyone happy and productive.