How to hire your first employee

Making the decision to hire your first employee is an important step for any business. But it can be hard to know where to even begin. While you might be desperate to hit the ground running, it’s important that you focus on getting your hiring process right.

After all, a bad hire could have a serious impact on your business; and you want to avoid this at all costs. Below, we take you through our step-by-step guide to making your first hire and finding the best talent for your company.

1. Consider the skills you need

First, you need to think about what skills you need.  Your first employee is likely to be an all-rounder – someone who can be the jack-of-all-trades you need.

For example, you may need someone to do your sales and marketing activity, but also balance some of the administration work. Or, it might be that you need someone who can get involved with the financial side of your business; but also help with HR activity.

When you’ve figure out what skills you need to drive your business forward, decide if you want someone on a full-time or part-time basis and consider how much you can afford to pay them. Remember, they need to be affordable.

2. Write a clear job description

Now you know what you’re looking for in your first employee, it’s time to write your job description. The job description, or job advert, needs to clearly explain who you are; what the role will involve; and the skills and qualifications you require.

To structure this, start with a strong job title. This needs to describe the position and should be kept relatively simple. You can decide whether you want to include salary details in your job advert; this could be an approximate amount; a salary bracket; or, if you don’t want to disclose it, you don’t have to.

After this information, you should write the main description. In the first paragraph, you can say a little bit about your company.

Then, describe the main duties and responsibilities the position will involve and bullet point these for more clarity. Again, list the skills and experience you are looking for in the same way, bullet pointing your requirements.

Here’s an example:


Salary – £10 an hour

We have an exciting opportunity available for a keen and enthusiastic individual to join us as our full-time office administrator. You will be working in an upcoming and busy recruitment start-up company, based in Hampshire. As a growing business, this is an exciting chance to work in a thriving environment, supporting in the day-to-day running of the company. The role involves basic admin duties (emails, phone calls and filing) along with some sales and bookkeeping work too.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Answering email and dealing with phone enquires
  • Organising deliveries
  • Ordering supplies for the office
  • Filing and organising
  • Bookkeeping
  • Taking payments
  • Reaching out to new clients

Skills and experience required:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • A friendly and positive approach to work
  • Previous experience in administration work
  • Computer literate
  • Proficient in Microsoft Excel and Word
  • A knowledge of bookkeeping
  • Flexible attitude

After you’ve written your job description, make sure you thoroughly proof read it. Otherwise, you risk putting off candidates.

3. Conduct great interviews

It’s no secret that interviews can be nerve racking for candidates. However, as the interviewer, you might feel nervous too. Especially if it’s your first time. Preparation is key here; make sure you carefully decide what questions you will ask candidates.

Avoid cliché questions that won’t tell you anything useful about the interviewee, such as ‘if you were a colour what would you be’. Instead, ask questions such as ‘what interests you most about this position?’ or ‘what skill would you like to improve on and why?’ These questions can help you discover a candidate’s main goals and strengths.

During the interview, it can be easy to be swept up in the moment and not take any notes. However, after a few interviews, you may find it difficult to remember the difference between Sally and Sarah who both had two years’ experience.

To help, write a checklist of the skills and qualities you’re looking for. This means you can easily jot down your thoughts during the interview and gives you more time to listen to the candidate. Plus, always have a copy of their CV at the ready that you can scribble over!

4. Select your candidate

Now it’s time to decide who’s the right pick for you and your company. While this can be difficult, especially if you’re stuck between a couple of candidates with great potential, you need to weigh up everything that’s important to you about your first employee. Make sure they align with your company goals and trust your initial instincts.

Once you’ve decided, make an offer they can’t refuse. Be sure to highlight the benefits of working for a start-up; the career opportunities and ability to get hands on experience are invaluable.

5. Meet the legal requirements

You’re officially a new employer – congratulations. But there are a few legal steps you need to take first. You need to register with HMRC as an employer, provide pay statements every month and have insurance.

It’s essential that you also provide a safe working environment and give employees holiday entitlement, a pension scheme and minimum wage. And remember, it’s your responsibility to check that your employee has the legal right to work in the UK.