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How To Hire Your First Employee

How To Hire Your First Employee

Hiring your first employee is a significant milestone for any small business or start-up. The right hire can propel your business forward, bringing fresh perspectives, skills, and energy crucial for growth. Conversely, the wrong hire can be costly, affecting productivity, morale, and overall business performance.

For small businesses and start-ups, the first hire is not just about filling a role. It’s about finding a partner who shares your vision and is committed to helping your business thrive. This pivotal decision can influence everything from daily operations to long-term strategic goals, making it a crucial step in shaping your company’s culture and operational efficiency.

In our blog post, we guide small business owners, start-up founders, and co-founders through the intricate process of hiring their first employee. We will cover everything from understanding your hiring needs and crafting an effective job description to conducting interviews and onboarding your new team member. Our objective is to provide a comprehensive roadmap that will empower you to make a well-informed, strategic hire, instilling confidence in your hiring process.

Our blog is tailored specifically for small business and start-up leaders looking to expand their teams. To assist you further, we also offer an in-depth resource, A Guide On How To Hire, which delves deeper into each hiring process step, ensuring you have all the tools and knowledge needed to make your first hire successful.

View Our How To Hire Guide

Highlights And Key Takeaways:

  1. Before you embark on the hiring process to, it is essential to thoroughly understand your business requirements, current workload, growth projections, and the specific tasks that need to be handled by your new hire.
  2. Crafting effective job descriptions is essential to attract the right candidates and ensure your new employee is well-suited to the role.
  3. Choosing the right job platform for your job advert is a crucial first step.

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Understanding Your Needs

Before you embark on the recruitment process to hire employees, it is essential to thoroughly understand your business requirements. This involves a careful assessment of your current workload, growth projections, and the specific tasks that need to be handled by your new hire. By deciding on these aspects, you ensure you are clear about what your business needs to thrive.

Defining the role and responsibilities is a crucial step in the recruitment process. A well-defined role helps you attract the right candidates and sets clear expectations for your future employee. Be sure to outline the position’s day-to-day tasks, long-term goals, and key performance indicators. For more detailed guidance, refer to our blog What Are Job Responsibilities? which offers insights into creating precise and effective job descriptions.

Identifying the skills and qualities needed for your ideal candidate goes beyond just technical abilities. While hard skills are important, soft skills such as communication, adaptability, and teamwork are equally crucial for your new hire’s success. Make sure to include both types of skills in your job description. Our blog, What Skills To Include In A Job Description, provides an in-depth look at how to balance technical competencies with essential soft skills, ensuring you attract well-rounded candidates.

By carefully considering these elements, you can define the profile of your ideal candidate, streamline your recruitment process, and increase the likelihood of making a successful first hire.

Creating An Effective Job Description

Creating An Effective Job Description

Crafting an effective job description is essential to attract the right candidates and ensure your new employee is well-suited to the role. A compelling job description is a great resource for employers and potential hires, outlining the responsibilities, skills required, and department details. Here are some key elements to include when writing job descriptions:

  • Job Title and Summary: Clearly state the job title and briefly overview the role.
  • Responsibilities: List the primary tasks and duties for which the new employee will be responsible.
  • Skills and Qualifications: Detail the necessary skills, qualifications, and experience required for the role.
  • Salary and Benefits: Information about the salary range and benefits offered.
  • Department and Reporting Structure: Specify which department the role belongs to and who the new employee will report to.
  • Location: Indicate where the job is based, including any remote working options.
  • Company Overview: Briefly describe your company and its mission.

For more detailed guidance, refer to our blogs Job Title Examples and How To Write A Job Description.

To ensure your job ad stands out in a competitive market, consider these 5 tips:

  1. Use a Catchy Job Title: Make the title engaging yet clear.
  2. Highlight Unique Benefits: Emphasise what makes your company a great workplace.
  3. Be Specific: Clearly outline job duties and expectations.
  4. Showcase Career Growth: Mention opportunities for advancement.
  5. Include Keywords: Use relevant industry keywords to improve searchability.

For more advice on creating eye-catching adverts, see our blog Catchy Job Adverts That Stand Out.

Here are some examples of well-crafted job descriptions:

1. Example Assistant Site Manager Job Description:

Job Title: Assistant Site Manager

Summary: We seek a diligent Assistant Site Manager to oversee daily site operations, support project managers, and ensure safety protocols are followed.


  • Assist in managing site operations and project schedules.
  • Coordinate with contractors and suppliers.
  • Ensure compliance with safety and quality standards.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in construction management or related field.
  • Strong organisational and leadership skills.
  • Excellent communication and problem-solving abilities.

Salary and Benefits: Competitive salary with health benefits and performance bonuses.

Department: Construction

Location: London

2. Example Asset Manager Job Description:

Job Title: Asset Manager

Summary: Seeking an experienced Asset Manager to manage and optimise our asset portfolio, ensuring maximum return on investment.


  • Oversee asset performance and financial metrics.
  • Develop strategies for asset acquisition and disposition.
  • Maintain accurate records and reports.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Degree in finance, real estate, or a related field.
  • Proven track record in asset management.
  • Strong analytical and negotiation skills.

Salary and Benefits: £50,000 – £60,000 per annum, plus bonuses.

Department: Asset Management

Location: Manchester

3. Example Acupuncturist Job Description:

Job Title: Acupuncturist

Summary: We are looking for a certified Acupuncturist to join our wellness centre and provide high-quality acupuncture treatments to clients.


  • Conduct patient consultations and assessments.
  • Develop and administer individualised acupuncture treatment plans.
  • Maintain patient records and follow-up care.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Certification in acupuncture from a recognised institution.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Commitment to patient care and wellness.

Pay and Benefits: Hourly rate plus commission, health insurance, flexible working hours.

Department: Wellness

Location: Birmingham

We offer thousands of free job description examples to get you started, as well as a blank job description template and a blank job advert template for those who prefer to create their documents from scratch. These resources help streamline the process and ensure your job adverts are professional and effective.

Advertising Your First Position

Advertising Your First Position

Effectively advertising your first job position is crucial to attracting the right employees for your business. Choosing the right platforms for your job advert is the first step. There are numerous online job boards and sites where you can post your job listings to reach a wide audience. For a comprehensive list, refer to our page, The Top Job Advertising Sites, and our blog, How To Advertise A Job Online, which provide insights into the best platforms for your specific needs.

Get A Free Job Advert Review

Leveraging social media and professional networks is another powerful strategy. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter allow you to reach potential candidates directly and engage with them in a more personal way. This direct engagement can make your audience feel more engaged and connected, increasing the likelihood of attracting the right candidates. Sharing your job advert within relevant industry groups or using targeted ads can increase your visibility among qualified candidates. For detailed strategies, check out our blog Advertising On Social Media.

Claim 20% Off Your First Job Advert

In addition to online methods, using local business networks and job fairs can be highly effective. Participating in local business events and job fairs provides an opportunity to meet potential employees face-to-face, discuss your job openings, and promote your company culture. These events not only attract motivated job seekers but also allow you to build a network of local talent, fostering a sense of community. This community can be a valuable resource for future hiring needs.

Combining these methods allows you to maximise your reach and find the best employees for your business.

The Screening Process

The Screening Process

The screening process is critical to identifying potential new employees who are the best fit for your business. To begin, it is essential to review applications and CVs efficiently. Look for candidates whose skills and experience closely match the job description. Please pay attention to how well applicants have tailored their CVs to the role, which can indicate their genuine interest and effort. For further guidance, please explore our blog How To Evaluate CVs.

Once you have reviewed the applications, it’s time to shortlist candidates. Focus on those who meet the essential qualifications and demonstrate the soft skills and qualities you value in an employee. This stage is crucial as it narrows your pool of applicants to those with the highest potential to succeed in the interview process.

Initial phone interviews play a significant role in the screening process. These brief conversations allow you to assess candidates’ communication skills, clarify any questions about their CVs, and gauge their enthusiasm for the role. Phone interviews can help you decide which candidates to invite for more in-depth, face-to-face interviews.

By systematically reviewing applications, shortlisting the most promising candidates, and conducting initial phone interviews, you can streamline the screening process and focus on those potential new employees who will most likely be a great fit for your business.

Conducting Job Interviews

Conducting Job Interviews

Conducting job interviews effectively ensures you select the best candidate for your business. Preparation is key, so start by reviewing our Interview Resources, including How To Conduct Phone InterviewsHow To Conduct A Remote Interview, and Key Questions To Ask Candidates In Interviews. These guides will help you formulate relevant questions and set up any necessary assessments.

When preparing for the interview, consider your questions and assessments. Develop a list of questions that explore the candidate’s experience and fit with your company culture. Include questions about their notice period, previous jobs, and wages and pay expectations. Also, plan any skills assessments relevant to the role.

6 Tips for Effective Interviewing:

  1. Be Punctual: Start the interview on time to respect the candidate’s schedule.
  2. Create a Comfortable Environment: Ensure the setting is professional yet welcoming.
  3. Be Clear and Concise: Explain the job role, responsibilities, and expectations clearly.
  4. Listen Actively: Pay close attention to the candidate’s answers and ask follow-up questions.
  5. Take Notes: Document key points during the interview for later review.
  6. Discuss Logistics: Cover practical details such as notice period, work hours, and pay expectations.

Evaluating candidates beyond their CVs involves assessing their interpersonal skills, cultural fit, and growth potential. Observe their body language, how they handle unexpected questions, and their enthusiasm for the role. Consider their answers in the context of your company’s values and team dynamics.

By preparing thoroughly, conducting structured and effective interviews, and evaluating candidates holistically, you can make informed hiring decisions that align with your business needs.

Making The Hiring Decision

Making The Hiring Decision

Making the right hiring decision is crucial for the employer and the future employee. Once the interviews are complete, it’s time to compare your shortlisted candidates. Evaluate their skills and experience and how well they align with your company’s culture and values. Consider all interviewers’ feedback and assessment results to make a well-rounded decision.

Checking references and conducting background checks are vital steps in verifying the information provided by the candidates. Reach out to previous employers to confirm their employment history and performance.

Here is a Reference Request Template you can use:

[Your Company Letterhead]


[Reference’s Name]

[Reference’s Job Title]

[Reference’s Company]

[Reference’s Address]

Dear [Reference’s Name],

I am writing to request a reference for [Candidate’s Name], who has applied for the [Job Title] position at our company. [Candidate’s Name] has listed you as a former employer, and we would appreciate your insights regarding their employment with you.

Please provide information on the following:

• The dates of [Candidate’s Name] ’s employment.

• The job title and responsibilities held by [Candidate’s Name].

• Their performance and any notable achievements.

• Their interpersonal and professional skills.

• Any other relevant information you believe would assist us in our hiring decision.

Your prompt response would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and assistance.

Kind regards,

[Your Full Name]

[Your Job Title]

[Your Company]

[Your Contact Information]

Conducting Background Checks

For background checks in the UK, you can request a Basic Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) through the DBS online portal or through a Responsible Organisation approved by the DBS. This check will provide information about unspent convictions, giving you peace of mind regarding your potential new employee’s background.

Checking a Job Applicant’s Right to Work

Before employing anyone, it is essential to ensure they have the legal right to work in the UK. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Check Online: If the applicant has provided you with their share code, you can check their right to work online.
  2. Check Original Documents: Review the applicant’s original documents to confirm eligibility.

Alternatively, you can use an identity service provider that offers Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) to verify an applicant’s right to work. Detailed information about IDVT can be found in the Employer’s Guide To Right-To-Work Checks dated 28 February 2023.

Online share codes are not available for British and Irish citizens. You must check their original documents, such as a passport or passport card, or use an identity service provider to confirm their right to work. It’s important to note that there is no requirement to check the right to work for existing employees from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland if they arrived in the UK before 1 July 2021. This exemption streamlines the process for you.

Ensuring these checks are carried out accurately helps you comply with legal requirements and avoid potential penalties.

Once you have completed these checks, you can make the offer and negotiate terms. Refer to our guide How To Make A Job Offer: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Job Offers for detailed instructions on drafting a formal job offer letter. Be clear about the employment terms, including salary, benefits, start date, and any probationary periods. Open the negotiation to address any candidate’s concerns, ensuring both parties are satisfied with the agreement.

Download Our Job Offer Template

By carefully comparing candidates, verifying their backgrounds, and making a clear and fair job offer, you can secure the best talent for your business, setting the foundation for a successful employment relationship.

Onboarding Your First Hire

Onboarding Your First Hire

Onboarding your first hire is a critical process that sets the tone for your new workers and can significantly impact their success and satisfaction. Here’s how to effectively onboard your first employee:

  • Preparing for Their First Day: Be well-prepared to make a strong first impression. Ensure that all necessary equipment, such as a computer and office supplies, is ready. Set up the new hire’s office space/workstation and prepare any required access credentials. Inform your team about the new hire’s arrival so they can extend a warm welcome.
  • Creating a Structured Onboarding Plan: A structured onboarding plan is crucial for guiding your new employee through their initial days and weeks. Outline key points, including an introduction to company policies, an overview of their job responsibilities, and initial training sessions. This plan should also include meetings with team members and key stakeholders to help them understand how their role fits within the company. Taking advantage of a detailed onboarding checklist can ensure nothing is overlooked.
  • Ensuring a Smooth Transition and Integration into the Team: Helping your new hires integrate smoothly into the team is essential for their long-term success. Assign a mentor or buddy to guide them through their initial period and answer any questions. Encourage team-building activities and regular check-ins to address any concerns promptly. Clear communication and support from the start will help your new worker feel valued and part of the team.

By preparing thoroughly, creating a comprehensive onboarding plan/to do list, and ensuring a smooth integration, you can take full advantage of your new hire’s potential and set them up for success in their new role.

Legal And Administrative Considerations

When hiring your first employee, several legal and administrative considerations are critical to ensure compliance and smooth operations. Here are the key aspects you need to address:

Understanding Employment Law and Contracts

Understanding employment law and drafting comprehensive employment contracts is legally required. These contracts should clearly outline the terms of employment, including job duties, compensation, and duration of employment, whether a permanent or fixed-term position. Our article, The Hiring Blueprint: UK Contract Of Employment Template, provides a detailed guide and template to help you create robust contracts that comply with UK laws.

Setting Up Payroll and Employee Benefits

Setting up payroll correctly is essential to efficiently manage wages, payroll taxes, and benefits. You must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from HMRC, which is necessary for tax purposes. Ensure you’re equipped to handle payroll taxes and submit the appropriate tax forms, such as the IRS form, for tax returns and reporting purposes. It is also important to comply with the minimum wage regulations and other statutory requirements like workers’ compensation insurance. Additional employee benefits, such as health insurance or retirement plans, can also enhance your employee value proposition.

Health and Safety Requirements

Maintaining a safe work environment is a key responsibility that requires employers to adhere to health and safety regulations. Conduct regular risk assessments and ensure your workplace meets all legal health and safety standards. Providing necessary training and equipment to your workers can prevent accidents and injuries, which protects your employees and reduces potential costs related to workers’ compensation insurance.

Intellectual Property

For companies dealing with intellectual property, including clauses in employment contracts that protect your business’s IP rights is crucial. This can prevent disputes over ownership of creations and innovations developed by employees during their tenure.

Cost Management

Consider the cost implications of hiring new employees, including salaries, benefits, and administrative expenses. Efficient cash flow management is vital to sustain these costs without impacting the financial health of your business.

Administrative Services

Utilising administrative services can streamline many of these processes. These services can handle payroll, tax filings, and compliance issues, allowing you to focus on core business activities.

By thoroughly understanding employment law, setting up an efficient payroll system, ensuring workplace safety, and managing costs effectively, you can build a strong foundation for your business and meet all legal and administrative requirements.

Recruitment Resources And Job Board Advertising Packages

Recruitment Resources And Job Board Advertising Packages

To support your hiring efforts, we offer a variety of recruitment resources designed to streamline your process and ensure you attract top talent. Our Example Job Descriptions provide samples to help you craft clear and compelling job ads. Our Recruitment Resources Page offers a wealth of information on effective hiring practices. The Interview Resources Page includes guides on conducting interviews and evaluating candidates. Additionally, our Recruitment Blog features articles on the latest hiring trends and tips. Also, don’t forget to read A Guide On How To Hire: step 1 in your first employee hiring journey.

Our Job Board Advertising Packages

1. Job Board Advertising: Hiring People gives you access to over 100 job boards for 28 days, all for one flat fee. Our job board advertising package includes:

  • 28-day campaigns
  • Coverage for any job, industry, and location
  • Job advert optimisation
  • Sharing across social networks

2. Flat Fee Recruitment Solution: Our comprehensive flat fee recruitment package includes:

  • Job advertising
  • Candidate filtering
  • Video interviewing
  • Interview scheduling
  • One fixed rate

How We Can Help Streamline Your Hiring Process

Our recruitment solutions are designed to make your hiring process as efficient and effective as possible. By leveraging our resources and advertising packages, you can reach a wider pool of candidates, save time on administrative tasks, and ensure you find the best fit for your business needs. We handle the complexities of recruitment, allowing you to focus on selecting the right candidate.

For further assistance or to explore our advertising packages, contact us at 0330 100 2230 or email us at Let us help you streamline your hiring process and find the perfect candidate for your business.

First Employee Hiring Process FAQs

Here we answer the frequently asked questions of small businesses and start-ups on hiring employees for the first time in the UK:


Hiring someone for the first time involves several key steps to ensure you find the right fit for your business. Start by clearly defining the role and responsibilities and creating a detailed job description. Advertise the position through various channels such as job boards, social media, and local networking events. Conduct thorough interviews and consider using skills assessments to gauge candidates’ capabilities. It’s crucial to check references and ensure you comply with employment laws, including drafting a fair employment contract. Seek advice from HR professionals or recruitment agencies to streamline the process and make informed decisions.


Embarking on the journey to find your first employee can be both challenging and rewarding. One effective strategy is to tap into your existing network; inform colleagues, friends, and professional contacts about the job opening. Use online job boards and social media platforms to reach a broader audience. Attend local business networking events to meet potential candidates in person. Consider working with recruitment agencies or job centres, which can help match you with qualified candidates. It’s essential to clearly understand the skills and attributes you need in your first employee, ensuring they align with your business goals and culture.

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