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Hiring staff for the first time

Confidently employ your first staff members

On this page

  • Identify staffing needs
  • Deal with compliance
  • Successfully recruit great staff

Before recruiting staff

Determine if you have gaps in your business – and how staff can fill them:

  1. Look at your current business needs. Review your business goals so you know what level of staff support you will need.
  2. Think about what sort of hours you'll need them to work to meet your business needs.
  3. List the tasks that you'll need your new staff member to perform. Be clear on what skills and abilities they need.
  4. Outline the results that you want for your business from hiring new staff. Get help to do this with our workforce planning tools.

Deal with compliance

Make sure that you comply with your legal obligations as an employer:

  1. Determine the employment type – such as casual or full-time.
  2. Work out the correct rate of pay for your new employee
  3. Understand the employment conditions you will need to provide and make your business OHS ready.
  4. Register for PAYG and set up your payroll tax processes.
  5. Develop a staff manual tailored to your business so the employee knows how the business is run and what's expected of them
  6. Calculate the investment required to hire your new staff member.  This should include wages and ensuring the workplace is ready.

HR Policy and Procedure Manual template (DOCX 216.86 KB)DOCX icon

Cash flow forecasting template (XLSX 76.01 KB)XLSX icon

The recruitment process

Find a person who fits your business by following these steps:

  1. Define your value proposition.What will employees get from working for you?
  2. Develop your position description including background about your business.
  3. Identify your target audience. Look in the right places to reduce your effort and get a better result
  4. Write your job advertisement and make sure you put it in the right places. For example, casual food and beverage jobs might suit having an ad placed on university online portal chat boards.
  5. Create a selection process and conduct an interview.

Other resources

The Fairwork Ombudsman has resources to help small business when hiring staff for the first time. These include an Online Learning Centre which provides a series of free and interactive online training modules and resources. The training will help you with hiring new employees or taking on an apprentice. Their resources include guides to give new employees.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has a checklist to help you understand what you need to do when hiring workers for the first time.

SBS Small Business Secrets' How To: Hire the Right Staff video visits the Australian Institute of Music to give you tips on how you and your staff can sing from the same songsheet.

Ricardo Goncalves from SBS Small Business Secrets stands in front of a jazz trio

Watch video

Case Study: Preparing for staff recruitment 

'My business needed help. My biggest concern was whether I have enough work to justify staff.'

Ailsa Page, Marketing Works

Read more on Preparing for staff recruitment

Ailsa Page from Marketing Works, studio head shot