Hiring your first team member is an exciting and daunting milestone that can help build business success. Here’s a step-by-step guide to hiring success.
8 helpful steps to hiring (PDF 60KB)
Identify skill gaps:
- Self-assess: what are your current skills and strengths?
- What skills will you need to meet the current and future needs of the business?
- What’s missing? The answer may not be what you expect, so it’s worth taking the time to think strategically and, ideally, outside the box.
- Write a detailed job description. This will help clarify the role and can give you useful pointers for advertising and interview questions.
Choose the job type:
- How skilled is the role and what are the key tasks involved?
- How long will you need the new hire?
- What type of employment arrangement is the best fit? (Permanent vs casual vs temporary/contractor)
Know your obligations:;
Write an effective job ad:
- Create a simple and descriptive job title.
- Use clear, personable language.
- Articulate your company vision and values.
- List the traits you require to ensure a good fit with your values.
- Include required vs nice-to-have skills.
- Make sure grammar and spelling are perfect.
- Mention salary range*.
*Job ads that mention salary attract up to 30% more applicants (PayScale).
- How do their skills and qualifications match up?
- Could any ‘missing’ skills be easily developed? Through training, for instance?
- Do their recent positons/projects reflect the level of experience you need?
- Have they taken the time to customise their application to your hiring criteria?
- What value did they add in their former/current role?
- What does the language they’ve used say about them?
- Are there any red flags? Sloppy errors, big gaps in their work history, for example?
- Call shortlisted applicants (don’t email) and schedule an interview.
Tips for an effective interview:
- Open by asking what attracted them to your business. (Have they done their homework? Do their goals and values align with yours?)
- Check off their skills/experience and seek out evidence of relevant career achievements.
- Try to uncover behavioural traits. For instance, you could ask them to describe a major challenge and how they overcame it. Are they confident enough to show vulnerability?
- Note non-verbal cues – eye contact, body language, disposition (a sense of humour is always a plus).
- Ask if they have any questions or concerns about the position.
- Create moments to ‘sell the role’ and the opportunities you’re offering.
- Outline the next stage in the process.
Create a final shortlist:
- Review all your interview notes.
- Put applicants who don’t match up to one side*.
- Re-check remaining candidates against your hiring criteria.
- Focus on must-have capabilities, cultural fit and motivation.
- What else can they bring to the role?
- Decide if psychometric testing is necessary.
- Check references – call at least two for each candidate.
* Remember to follow-up with them to let them know you won’t be offering them the role.
Make an offer:
- Contact them promptly by phone.
- Follow up in writing with a letter of offer.
- If they accept, inform them about their start date and time, and keep selling the dream about their place in the business and your aspirations for them.
- Speed is key: Over half of Australian employers have lost a great candidate because of a slow hiring process (Robert Half survey).
- First impressions matter, so make sure they feel welcome on their first day.
- Provide a workspace and essential job items, e.g. laptop, phone, uniform.
- Set clear goals and expectations (but go easy in the first week).
- Provide adequate training/mentoring.
- Schedule regular catch-ups to check how they’re going.