A Guide to Hiring Employees


The time has come when your small business just can’t progress without a helping hand and you’ve decided to recruit. But hang on, you’ve just realised that although you have a lot of strings to your bow, you haven’t actually ever done this before so if you are racking your brain and a little bit of panic is setting in, take a breath and let’s take a look at how to organise those thoughts!

Initial Considerations:

You’ll need to take stock of your current position. Firstly, why do you need an employee? Are you bogged under with work and need to balance you work with home life better, are you wanting to expand or does your business require expertise that you do not have? Secondly, how much work do you have, would it only mount up to a few hours a week or are you looking more towards the 30 hour mark or even full time? Thirdly, what can you afford? In order to answer this one, you will need to have done a comprehensive financial plan and a forecast for the future. You’ll need to take into consideration costs other than basic salary that go hand in hand with having an employee.

Once you have jotted down the answers to these questions, you can start to decide what kind of assistance is right for you. If you only need a few hours a week freeing, some basic admin tasks completing or specialised expertise are required but only for a one off or irregular projects, then hiring a Freelancer rather than an employee might be the way to go. You might also consider recruiting an employee on a contract type other than full time, so taking a look at zero hour, part time and fixed term contracts might help you make the right decision for your business.

Employer Responsibilities:

If you decide to go down the route of hiring a freelancer then there will be far fewer employer responsibilities. A freelancer is self-employed so many of the responsibilities are theirs when it comes to things like HMRC, however you will still be responsible for their health and safety so it is important to do a little research into this.

Taking a look at Gov.uk’s Contract Types and Employer Responsibilities page will give you come clear guidance into your responsibilities but if you are thinking about a full or part time contract for your new employee then take into consideration things like; the kind of documentation you must provide them with, the kind of background checks for applicants that are your responsibility (such as the right to work check that carries a hefty fine if missed) and financial extras in addition to ensuring they are on national minimum wage (payroll service, holidays, sick pay etc.).

Just Good for Business and Your Working Environment:

In addition to the basic employer responsibilities there are some things that you should think about that will just make life easier going forward. There is nothing worse than being stuck in a contract with an employee who is damaging for business or sharing your working environment with someone who just can’t get on board with the team dynamic you want for your business so start thinking about these things early on:

  • Job Boards: This depends on your perspective, you may wish to employ someone you know or someone local but by advertising your vacancy on a well-known job board you will get a larger selection of applicants. Some job boards sign their applicants to training as well so if they are an avid user it may even be a better quality of candidate. Also, don’t forget to ensure you have created a quality job description and person spec so that applicants get a good idea of the job they are applying for and you don’t waste your time and theirs.
  • Interviews: Firstly, be discerning about which applicants you select for interview, only select those that are the most qualified for the position and look to have made an effort to ensure their CV matches up with you job description person spec. Secondly, select interview questions that give you an idea of their working style, their interests and how they deal with both colleagues and clients. You need to think carefully about if your working styles will match up, especially if you are going to be the only people in the team for a little while.
  • References: Everything looks great on paper and you think you’ve found the right person for the job, but let’s face it some extra reassurance never hurts. By getting character and employer references you can ensure that the candidate hasn’t embellished during the application process and you can get an idea of how other people view the candidate.
  • Employment Contracts: You’ve worked hard to get your business where it is so it is really important that you now work hard at protecting it. In terms of being an employer one of the best ways to ensure you have back up is by having a really solid employment contract. There are a number of free employment templates online but I suggest checking out advice from Gov.uk and perhaps seeking professional help the first time around to make sure you have a solid foundation.
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