How to Hire Your First Employee

Needing to hire an employee is a sign your business is doing well. In reality, it adds another thing to your to-do list. Simplify your task with our handy guide of legalities, processes and steps you need to consider before taking on a team member.

Congratulations! Business is booming and now you’re looking to hire an employee (or employees) for the very first time. The only thing is, you’re not exactly sure the process of hiring employees.

  • Do you need to tell the government? Does the employee?
  • What’s the go with tax and super?
  • You want someone good. Where do you find them?
  • Where do you go to for advice on hiring someone?

The list goes on. It’s pretty daunting stepping into the world of recruitment. We’re here to help; starting with what you need to know before you even advertise for someone to help you out.

Before Hiring Your First Employee

Information you’ll need before advertising to hire someone:

  • What will the person’s role and tasks be?
  • How many hours a week will I need them for?
  • Will I need to provide a workspace, vehicle or tools?
  • Do I need more than one employee?
  • What are my legal responsibilities for my industry?

The Government and Hiring an Employee

The best place to start is by reading the Fair Work Act 2009 and checking out the Australian Taxation Office’s Hiring Workers For The First Time Checklist. This will give you the foundation knowledge you need for your industry as standards can change between fields. However, there are 10 National Employment Standards (NES) that apply nation wide.

  1. The maximum number of time an employee can work a week is 38 hours, plus reasonable additional hours (overtime).
  2. Certain employees can ask for flexible working arrangements, which you may need to abide by without a plausible reason.
  3. Employees have the right to up to 12 months unpaid parental leave (per employee), as well as the right to request an additional 12 months leave.
  4. Each employee has the right to four weeks paid leave per year. Some shift works may be eligible for an additional week.
  5. Each employee can take 10 days paid personal or carer’s leave per year, two days unpaid carer’s leave and two days compassionate leave (unpaid for casuals).
  6. In the event of emergency management activities or jury service, employees are entitled to unpaid leave.
  7. Long service leave (paid) is available for employees who have been with the same employer for a long time (generally 10 years).
  8. Employees receive a paid day off on public holidays, unless reasonably requested to work.
  9. Employers must provide employees up to five weeks notice of termination and up to 16 weeks redundancy pay.
  10. A Fair Work Information Sheet must be provided to all new employees.

You will also need to investigate wages, discrimination, record keeping, tax and super obligations and WH&S, at a minimum.

Is your employee to be full-time, part-time or casual?

Once you have figured out the role the person will play in your business, you will need to determine how many hours you will require them. This will then reflect the type of employee you hire.

Full-time employee: 38 hours (on-going employment).

Part-time employee: Less than 38 hours (on-going employment).

Casual employee: Aren’t guaranteed a set amount of hours per week.

Fixed-term employee: May be hired to cover paternal leave, holiday periods, etc.

During the Hiring Process

Okay, you have all the legal stuff out the way, it’s time to start advertising. You don’t just want anyone. As your first employee, they will have to be very reliable and have an incredible work ethic, as well as any specific skills they’ll need to complete their day-to-day tasks.

Take your list of tasks you want them to complete and write a second list for the skills they’ll need to complete each job. Add any qualifications, computer programs they’ll need to know and any other unique aspects. Now you know who you need, go and find them.

Writing a Job AdvertisementWoman writing in notebook

What you need to remember is as much as you want someone to work for you, someone out there is wanting a job. It’s a give and take relationship. In your advertisement, you’ll need the following:

  • A summary of what your business does.
  • Company values.
  • A thorough explanation of the role (what they will be doing).
  • Any non-negotiable skills.
  • The benefits of working with you.
  • An expected salary scale.
  • What they need to submit (resume, cover letter, portfolio, etc.).
  • Application expiry date.

Where to Advertise for Employees

There are so many ways to find people to be your first employee. Each has its pros and cons depending on the type of role and your target demographic. Explore each option to see what will work for you:

  • Facebook Jobs.
  • LinkedIn Jobs.
  • Online job sites, such as Seek or Jora.
  • A post on social media (to raise awareness of an ad).
  • Recruitment agencies.
  • Business contacts.
  • Newspaper or industry magazines and publications.
  • Notice boards or shop windows.

If you choose to publish your job on a popular avenue, such as Seek, be prepared to receive a large number of applications. It’s not uncommon for some roles to bring in upwards of 150 resumes.

How to Sort Through Applications

As cautioned, you may receive a lot of applications. You will want to have a foolproof process to make sorting through the pile as quick and easy as possible.

Example process:

Step 1: Quick Sort

Create a yes and a no pile. Cast your eye over each application, putting any application that has not provided what you asked them to or who do not meet your non-negotiables. If someone cannot follow instructions on how you prefer an application, it’s not a good start. You should get rid of quite a few applications during this step.

Step 2: Select Your Top 10 and Top 5

Go through each application in your yes pile thoroughly. You may be tempted to interview anyone who is overqualified for the role, however, you will need to consider if you can create enough job satisfaction for them to stay with you long term.

Out of your remaining applications, select a top 10 (given you have enough applicants left). Out of the 10, select your top 5. These will be the people you call for an interview.

Step 3: Interview Round

Some people may recall their application and not want an interview. If so, fill their place with someone from your second top 5. Now it’s time for interviews. Before carrying out any interviews, write a list of questions and create any tests (such as software proficiency or typing) you would like them to complete.

Advise the interviewee when they will hear back from you about the position.

Step 4: Reference Checks

Anyone can say they did something on their resume and give you a spiel in their interview. While you want to trust everyone, you will need to carry out reference checks to remove any doubt in a person’s ability. Some questions to ask an applicant’s referees:

  • Are they reliable?
  • Do they work well with others, as well as solo?
  • How was their day-to-day performance?
  • What top 3 things did they bring to the role?
  • Where do you think they can improve?
  • If they work with customers/clients, how do they handle a bad experience?

You will want to confirm with their past employers their role title and how long they were with the business.

Step 5: Offering a Position

Assuming you do not need to conduct a second round of interviews (if your first round were not successful at producing the right person) you should have a good idea at your preference. If you haven’t already, you will need to investigate contractual agreements.

Call the person you want to be your first employee and tell them the good news. If they accept, ask them their required notice period (if they’re currently employed) and organise a start date. Follow up with an email of the details and anything they will need for their first day.

After Hiring Your First Employee

Preparing for Your New Employee

Before your new employee’s first day, prepare any documents they need to read, such as employment agreement, policies, work guidelines. You may want to create a plan for them for the first week or so, plotting out how long they will ghost you (follow you to see what you do/how you work) and tasks you’d like them to start on.

Now may also be the right time to look into booking and CRM software. If your new staff member will be running appointments or looking after yours, an easy system will make both your lives so much easy. The right booking system will have calendars for each staff member and allow you to see who is available at a glance.

As for a customer relationship manager, it’s better to get on top of your client database before you grow anymore. Neither booking or customer manager tools need to be expensive to be effective.

Learn more about:

Customer manager

Booking software

Plan for the Future

How you work with your first employee with set the foundation for how other additions will fit into the company. However, as your first employee, there are sure to be a few hiccups along the hiring process. Make note of what worked for you and what did not.

Hopefully soon, you will be employing your third team member!

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