Hiring your first employee can seem like a daunting task. How do you know exactly what kind of position you’re seeking to fill? What do you do to make sure you hire the right person? How will you ensure you comply with employment standards? Hiring your first staff member carries many new obligations.

Here are some tips to make sure you do everything by-the-book and make the perfect hire.

Be sure exactly what position you’re hiring for

It can be hard to knuckle down and know exactly what you need assistance with. Make a list of the tasks you wish to hand over to an employee, and what you wish to continue doing yourself. From this, you’ll know exactly what you need. Perhaps you need an accountant, or a labourer. You’ll also be able to identify whether you need to employ someone on a full time basis, a part time basis or even for a fixed amount of time.

When you are able to discern this, drafting a job advertisement will be a simpler task. Depending on the responsibilities you wish to handover, you may need someone with more experience or particular qualifications. Be mindful that the more experienced someone is in their field, the higher the salary generally is.

Advertise in the right place

There are particular platforms where certain jobs are advertised more than others. For example, tech-related jobs tend to be best advertised or hired through recruitment agencies. Do some research as to where the best place to find candidates for your position is. If you post the opportunity in the right place, you will get the most suitable pool of candidates. It’s also at this stage that you should ensure your advertisement isn’t discriminatory in any way and focuses on the merits of applicants, rather than any other factors.

Ask the right questions

Now that you’ve figured out what role you want to hire for and published it in the most suitable place, you can read through the applications and see who you’d like to interview. When conducting an interview, it’s important to go beyond just asking about an applicant’s professional experience. Ask them behavioural questions that give you a feel for their personality. Do they seem like they would be a good and valuable team member? Are they the kind of person you could work with every day?

Employers often underestimate the importance of culture, but having an employee who is the right fit for a company is a must.

Have the proper documentation

It’s important when hiring an employee that you have an employment agreement. Although many employers think that it’s sufficient for the employee to be covered under the national award, an employment contract can account for things that an award can’t, such as protection of information, probationary periods and non-compete clauses. An employment contract should also set out salary, hours of work, superannuation contributions and the employee’s leave entitlements. It also needs to be signed by both the employer and employee to be valid. Having a written agreement sets out the terms of employment clearly so there isn’t room for disputes to arise later on.

Understand your new obligations

Being an employer carries significant responsibilities. Not only do you have to ensure that you’re complying with National Employment Standards (NES), the Fair Work Act and industry awards, you also have new tax obligations. You will have to withhold the employee’s tax through PAYG, as well deduct amounts to go into their superannuation account. If the employee will be making over a certain amount per annum, you will also be liable to pay Payroll Tax. Also, you may also have to withhold tax as part of your employee’s student loan repayments (HECS HELP). If you’re unsure, an employment lawyer can clarify anything that’s unclear.

Growth to the point where you need a helping hand is a positive sign you’re heading in the right direction. However, it’s important to remember that with success comes more responsibility- one of the most significant of which is becoming an employer.

Not sure where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.

Jackie Olling

Jackie is the Content Manager at LawPath and manages the content team. She has a Law/Arts degree from Macquarie University and has worked in the legal industry since 2014. She's interested in legal tech and the opportunities it offers to not only the legal industry, but all people.