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Hiring employees

Finding and hiring the right people ensures your business is in the best position to sustain itself or grow.

You’ll need to consider the skills and experience you need, how much you can afford to pay, and whether you require full-time, part-time, casual or other types of employees. You may wish to seek advice from a contact in a similar business, or from a recruitment company with experience in your sector and region.
You’ll also have to align your employment negotiations with relevant industry agreements and the laws covering equal opportunity.
When you’ve identified your workforce needs, you should prepare a job description that outlines the roles and responsibilities of each position. This will help you advertise for and attract the right person for each job.
Fair Work Australia provides information about hiring staff and employees’ rights.
Visit the Australian Government’s business website to use the Taking on an employee checklist.
Below are the common steps for hiring new employees.
  • Advertise the job

    Before advertising a role, you should check that the information and job description are free of discriminatory language.
    You can then advertise the role by placing an ad:
    • on your website or in social media
    • in the local paper
    • on an online recruitment site
    • in a trade, industry or business site.

    Word of mouth is still a valuable way to promote any vacancies in your business.

    You could also use a recruitment agency to help you manage the all or part of the process. You’ll have to balance the time savings and expertise on offer with the cost of using a recruitment service.
  • Shortlisting and conducting interviews

    Before conducting an interview, you'll need to shortlist applicants based on their application.

    Shortlisting requires you to examine the applications and decide which ones meet enough of your criteria so that the applicants are suitable for interviews.
    This usually means considering the information in a cover letter (if you asked for one) and the CV or resume, and how it meets your job description. You may also have standards in terms of how the letter was written, spelling and other content.
    You may find shortlisting takes one, two or three stages until you reduce the number of applications to a manageable quantity for interview – usually between two and five for a single position, but sometimes more. During these stages, when you are comparing candidates, you may wish to list the job description criteria and other important factors in a checklist and compare each applicant against the checklist.
    You will also need to decide if you will have anyone helping you in the interview process, both in reviewing applications and in interviewing, particularly if you want to employ a lot of people quickly.

    When interviewing for the position, ensure that the questions you ask are related to the position advertised. You will want to ask questions that help you understand the skills, qualifications and experience of potential applicants as well as their fit within the team. Just as when you advertised the job, you must not use discriminatory language or questions within the interview. 
  • Selecting the right applicant

    When conducting the interview, use a standard set of questions for each applicant. This will help you and your interview panel members compare and select the right applicant for your business.
    Having someone record the responses during this interview may help you when reviewing later.
    As well as asking interview questions about applicants’ relevant skills and experience, consider including questions that ask applicants to tell you about themselves, which may help you decide whether the person is a ‘cultural fit’ for your organisation. Remember, you cannot ask questions that are discriminatory or contravene equal opportunity legislation.
    Following the interview, you may wish to contact the referees for one or more applicants to check the accuracy of what’s been said and gain information that may not have emerged ‘on paper’ or during the interview.
  • Make an offer

    When you’ve selected an applicant, you should contact that person directly to offer the position. If not previously discussed, you must talk about the salary, conditions and workplace benefits and entitlements as part of their employment.
    If your business is in an industry with a workplace agreement relating to the position, you’ll need to align the pay and conditions with that agreement. You also need to meet your obligations according to the Fair Work Act 2009 and other legislation and guidelines.
    If the employee accepts your offer for the position, you can proceed with preparing the formal documentation and offer of employment.
    The Fair Work Ombudsman has information about selecting and hiring employees.
  • Start on the right foot

    As an employer, you want to both attract and keep good staff. First impressions count, so it’s important to have your employee feel they’ve made the right choice from day one.
    Welcome your employee, introduce them to at least one or two key people, including their direct manager. You or a suitable, friendly person should show them what they’ll need to settle in and feel included, and who they should go to for help.
    You should also have processes in place to ensure that the workplace is ready for your recruit. Have necessary keys, equipment, computer access and paperwork ready.
    Together, these processes will help make your employee feel valued, informed, welcome and ready to do their job.
    If your business has an induction process, make sure your new employee is taken through it as soon as possible.

Planning templates

Use these free planning templates and guides to help you better plan, prepare, manage, and exit a business. Investing time into proper research and planning can help turn your ideas into reality, and prepare you for what’s to come.

Business plan

A business plan works as a guide when your business is operating; how you operate, planning the future and preparing for risks. It is also often a required document for finance applications.

Marketing plan

An effective marketing plan can help you set clear, realistic and measurable marketing objectives for your business. It can boost your customer base increasing your bottom line.

Emergency plan

Your business is critical to your financial wellbeing, so you’ll want to protect it as much as you can against emergencies and disasters.

Succession plan

Planning for the day you leave your business is a valuable investment.

Our friendly team is here to help

If you need any assistance, please call 1300 142 820 for information relating to small business or visit our contact page for more information.