In the Trenches: The Difficult Process of Hiring

BrettSnyder by Brett Snyder on February 2, 2011
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Last week I mentioned that I had a plan for avoiding burn-out. The plan seemed simple; I was going to shift my time around somewhat, but the centerpiece was to hire a part-time admin to help take some work off my plate. Only one problem. Hiring someone is one of the most difficult things on the planet. Now I find myself looking for alternatives.

There’s been so much lip service paid by politicians to job creation that you would think my effort to create a part-time job would be welcomed. Instead, complex regulations have me curled up on the floor in the fetal position wondering if it’s even worth it. That’s a shame. No, that’s just insane. This shouldn’t be so hard, but it is.

The easy way to “hire” someone is to bring them on as an independent contractor. That works for a lot of jobs, but for an admin that would have set work hours, that’s probably not going to pass as legal. And I’m one of those law-abiding types of people, for better or worse. This is a job that seems to require hiring someone as an employee.

I had heard that it wasn’t the easiest thing to do, so I reached out to my grad school network and received a blizzard of responses from people on what to do. The responses made the situation even more overwhelming. There were things I hadn’t thought of. Do you offer benefits, vacation, sick leave, holidays…? The list goes on and on. The answer to most of those is “no” for a part-time job like mine, but those decisions were the easy ones.

More importantly, there are tax considerations. You don’t pay tax for independent contractors, but for employees there’s a payroll tax. (You know, it’s the Medicare and Social Security stuff.) Oh yeah, and you have to pay into unemployment as well.

I would also have to get workers compensation insurance, among other policies. Then I was told I would need to put together a comprehensive employee handbook and I’d have to make sure my offer letter was reviewed by a lawyer to make sure that I had structured it properly in case problems arose later on. Many people I spoke to mentioned how difficult it can be to actually fire someone once they’re hired, and that was a big frustration for those who were stuck with poor workers.

The dizzying volume of information told me I couldn’t go it alone. I had to get help, and there are a few options for doing just that. I’ll talk more about those next week.

BrettSnyder

Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.

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