Hiring your first employee is a big milestone, which can make a huge difference for your business. A lot can also go wrong. Here are some tips to help you get the right person for the job.
Hiring your first employee is a big decision , and it’s a real milestone for any business. If managed well, it can mark a turning point for what your business can achieve.
First off, it’s important to think ahead, and to plan for this new phase in the life of your business. Many businesses owners only start the hiring process when they are already overwhelmed with work. Ideally it is better to hire before you get to this point, so you can take your time and find the right person for the job.
We’ve brought together some of the key advice and resources focused on hiring an employee.
If you think you’re ready to hire, make some time to work out:
Then it’s time to write a job description that clearly outlines the tasks and objectives of the role. It should:
You could tell friends, advertise the job on your website and social media channel. You might also use a job advertising website or a recruitment agent for a fee.
Having someone fill out an application form can be helpful – it can give you information you need to help you select people for an interview. It’s also a good place to ask them for consent to contact their referees if you need to.
You don’t have to interview everyone – shortlist the people you think are best suited to the job, and spend some time preparing for their interview.
Write down the information you need to give them in the interview, along with the questions you’ll ask, so all candidates get the same information. Make sure your questions are open-ended (can’t be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’) so the candidates can show you what they know, and so you can learn more about them.
When you think you’ve found the right person, you should always check at least one reference before you make a job offer.
“Reference checking is key because most people tell you what you want to hear in an interview,” says Jason Stockdale, Regional Growth Advisor at the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce. “Ask referees questions that show that the candidate can do what they said they can do.”
Ask yourself what is most important and relevant for you to find out about the candidate’s abilities. Prepare your questions in advance and ask concise, open-ended questions that make the referee use their judgement, rather than letting them answer ‘yes’ or ’no’.
The goal is to hire the person who’s the best match for the job you’re offering, and the best match for your work environment.
Take time to compare each applicant to the job requirements, to ask yourself who could do the job and which person best fits the job’s requirements.
When you’ve gone through a good hiring process, you should end up offering the role to the best applicant, and the employer and employee should both understand their own roles, rights and responsibilities.
Register as an employer (external link) — Inland Revenue
How to hire – a guide for employers [PDF, 805KB] (external link) — Employment New Zealand
Our DIY tool helps you create contracts tailored to your business and to each person you employ — and it won distinction in the Plain English awards.
Download this list of what to get ready before your new employee's first day on the job — you can customise it to suit your business.