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A step-by-step guide to hiring success

4-minute read

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)

Step 1. Identify skill gaps

  1. Self-assess: what are your current skills and strengths?
  2. What skills will you need to meet the current and future needs of the business?
  3. 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.
  4. Write a detailed job description. This will help clarify the role and can give you useful pointers for advertising and interview questions.

Step 2. 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)

Step 3. Know your obligations

Step 4. 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.

Step 5. Review resumes

  • 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.

Step 6. 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.

Step 7. 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).

Step 8. Get them off to a great start

  • 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.


Let’s be honest. Adding staff to a one-person business is daunting. But with the right research, diligence and introduction to the company, you’ll be able to hire and build a fantastic team that gets your business growing.

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You’re ready to take on your first employee. Before you post that job ad, make sure you understand exactly how much a new hire could cost you with this helpful guide.

Things you should know

This infographic is a general overview and should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before acting. Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141. AFSL and Australian credit number 233714.