happy staff meeting in a stylish office

Hire Staff – hiring the right people

by Angus Jones

A business is only as good as the people it employs.  Do they work hard, do they work smart, are they loyal or do they just want that paycheck and be out of there. This guide will look at if you have a need to hire staff, defining the role they will do and the task that must be completed.  Will they be full time, part-time, casual, or a contractor?

The common types of employment are:
full-time: an employee who works 35+ hours per week on an ongoing basis
part-time: an employee who works less than 35 hours per week and has a guaranteed minimum number of working hours
casual: an employee whose work hours may vary each week, depending on the work available
fixed term: an employee who works for a fixed period of time e.g. 3 months
shift workers: an employee who works shifts and gets an extra payment for working shift hours
An employee works in your business and is part of your business. A contractor is running their own business.
contractor can be great for short term projects and can also be paid by the hour without superannuation requirements.

WHY hire staff?

You may not have the skills or the time to do some tasks, or perhaps your time is better spent working on other parts of the business. If so and its time to hire staff assuming their efforts will drive more profit than their salary.

WHAT do I need to understand before you hiring staff?

Ask yourself, what level of skill will this person have and how much will you need to pay to attract the right candidate?  You do need to comply with government legislation in regard to award pay levels which can be found here https://calculate.fairwork.gov.au/findyouraward and discrimination laws here https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/employers/quick-guide-australian-discrimination-laws

HOW to hire staff?

Finding candidates

To find the right candidate, you can either do this yourself or use a recruitment agency.  A recruitment agency will charge you either a set fee or a percentage of the employee’s salary.  If you can afford this it offers a great way to only interview a small number of vetted candidates. If you decide to do this yourself make sure you don’t hire the first person you interview.  Even if they turn out to be the right person you need a point of comparison.  You can find people by word of mouth, an advertisement in your window, the local paper, social media post, or a post on your website or newsletter. A job board like LinkedIn or Seek is handy and with a small fee, it will significantly increase your pool of candidates.

Candidate selection starts before the interview stage where you decide who you will interview.  Many businesses may have 100 applicants for 1 position.  Start by setting the criteria that are most important from a skill perspective to perform the job, for example, must have managed people before.  If the candidate has not they are out of contention.  Seek has a function where you can ask candidates set questions during the submission process. Once this is determined start reducing your list of candidates down to around no more than six people.  Your time is valuable and you cannot interview everyone.  A very important criterion is to ensure the candidates have the right to work in Australia.  There are ways around this but require a significant investment of time and regulation. https://www.business.gov.au/People/Hiring/How-to-hire-an-overseas-worker  Even those with working or student visas have restrictions,  students only being able to work 40 hours in a fortnight and holiday visa workers are not able to work for someone for more than 6 months.


Now it is time to interview.  Consider where you will interview them, for how long, by whom, and specify if you want them to bring anything. Remember they are interviewing you as well as you interviewing them.  A candidate wants to understand your business, and you as the boss, to decide if they indeed want to work for you.  So some points to consider include what you wear, how you treat them and what questions you ask. You do not want to be a tyrant and you are not their friend so remember to treat them with respect.  A successful practice is to ask each candidate the same questions and to rate them against each other.  That way you have a clear comparison and a method of comparing the person you interviewed today with the one two weeks ago who you can hardly remember. You should take into consideration how each person fits with the skills set you defined earlier, how they will fit into your organisation culture, if they can show you their previous achievements and if they are passionate  (remember a small business is only as good as its people).

In some industries it is common practice to test potential employees through a trial.  We recommend that you pay them and give them a proper opportunity to show their worth.

You have now found the right person but before you hire them on the spot it is a wise idea to check references.  Unfortunately, some people do lie, and the more you are sure about someone the better things will work out.  Okay, all that checks out and the person has great references.  Now it’s time to make them an offer.  The offer needs to be clear around working hours, salary, place of work, anticipated start date, and may include additional items like employee confidentiality or IT policies. A template for an employment offer can be found here. https://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/templates


Once they accept, congratulate them and provide them with any further information to ensure they know the next steps, like what time you need them and what the dress code is, etc.  Now comes the hard bit.  Unsuccessful candidates interviewed with you and chances are they put a bunch of effort into that process.  You need to contact them and let them know they were unsuccessful.  Ideally be specific with the reason, for example, they lacked a specific skill, so they can improve next time rather than some generic statement like the other candidate was better.

The big day has now arrived for your new employee. Before they turn up you need to plan to induct them into your business and decide what they need to be taught and by whom.  Chances are it is you and it will take a lot of effort to begin with, but if done well you will have a happy and hardworking employee in no time.

You are now responsible for a new employee both personally and from a legislative perspective. If you don’t already have systems in place you must consider reporting like timesheets, payroll and taxation, superannuation, annual and sick leave, insurance, and workplace health and safety. (Be sure to check out our essential guides on these topics)


Candidates may attempt to negotiate employment terms such as wages. Always listen but remember it does not mean you have to compromise. 

Additional information can be found here

SUMMARY – Hire the right people

Your people are your business. Having the right employees is critical to your success. To Hire staff can be a rewarding process and will become simpler the more experience you gain.

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