What to look for in your first employee, according to Monzo Business customers

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Choosing your first hire is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a business owner.

It’s the first time you’re letting an outsider in on your vision - and the first time someone other than you will have a direct impact on how your business performs. And, of course, your first hire will be someone you’re going to spend a lot of time with.

Now, you can’t really post a job ad until you know what sort of a role your business needs. But whether you’re hiring a head of sales, a customer service rep, a marketing exec or even someone to co-run the entire business with you, certain qualities matter more than usual when it’s the very first person you’re recruiting.

We asked some of our Monzo Business customers to describe these qualities and explain why they matter so much.


According to our customer community, ‘Curiosity, ‘Sincerity’ and ‘Flexibility’ are all attributes you’d hope to see from candidates applying for a role at an early stage business. Even if you’ve written a detailed job description, a two-person team will always need to be a bit flexible to get everything done. 

Curious minds are always open to new possibilities and ideas – handy when the path of your business is still being laid one stone at a time. And as for sincerity, that’s something every small business needs to set itself apart in the market. You win clients and customers because they can see how much you care about the work and doing a good job. Your first hire must convey the same qualities.

Speaking of customers, gifting specialist @hamperlovin believes that the right personality fit is essential in a first hire – not just so that the two of you will get along well, but to make sure your new hire will get along with your customers and clients. “You can teach people how to do the job, but soft skills are the foundations to connect with customers and become a customer-centric business.

Is experience important?

While it might be tempting to go for the candidate with the most impressive CV, several of our customers suggested that ‘experience’ might be overrated in a first hire.

As graphic designer Pip Carters-White explains, “it’s so much more important to hire someone who aligns with your company values than it is to hire the most qualified person. People can become more qualified easily with training and experience, but it’s nearly impossible to train a mindset and an attitude.” 

Meanwhile, video creator @andyhirst.co suggests that ‘attitude’ is all-important because “you can teach everything else.” 

Next steps

Whether you go for a more experienced candidate or someone who just instinctively feels right for your business, our business customers agree that drive, motivation and energy are essential qualities every first hire should have in abundance. You’re putting your heart and soul into your work – you need your new teammate to do the same. 

And remember, it’s alright to take your time and avoid rushing into a decision. You don’t have to go with the first candidate to walk in the door. Nor do you have to go with the best of a bad bunch (or even the best of a good bunch) if you aren’t 100% convinced that the person is right for your business.