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Buying a Business

How to hire your first employee

As a business owner, you are responsible for putting together a skilled team of staff to help with day to day operations. If you own a very small business, or run a family business, you may not have needed to hire an extra pair of hands until now. Hiring an employee is a legal minefield, so it’s essential to make sure you are compliant as an employer at every stage of the process.

First of all, congratulate yourself on the growth your business has achieved – you are ready to take on a staff member to support the company, and the right employee could bring a fresh perspective and useful ideas. To make sure you find the ideal candidate, start thinking about the type of skills and personal attributes you require straight away. Although it’s tempting, try not to hire somebody you know or a relative of a friend who may be looking for work. Business needs should come first in this situation, rather than personal affiliation.

The recruitment process

Firstly, you need to advertise the new role to identify potential candidates. Take time to put together an accurate job description, including what the tasks are and how many hours of work a week you’ll be offering the new staff member. Other important considerations include the rate of pay and other benefits included (such as staff discount, pension contributions etc).

Will you be offering any training for the right candidate? This is usually an incentive for applicants who may not have a lot of experience, but are willing to learn. From these starting points in the job description, you can often produce a person specification to help you select candidates against relevant criteria.

Now you have a clear outline of the job vacancy, you can start to advertise the position. Start on your social media platforms, an ad in your local newspaper or simply putting up a sign in the shop. If you’re struggling to attract the right sort of person to apply, you can try hiring the help of a recruitment agency.

How to hire your first employee

Becoming an employer

Just because you are a business owner doesn’t necessarily mean you are an employer – many people run a company by themselves. Once you hire your first employee, you will immediately become an employer and there are legal obligations you will need to follow. Whether you have one employee who works a couple of hours a week, or a 10-strong team of full time staff, the rules are the same.

For instance, you will need employers’ liability insurance and you also need to register as an employer with HMRC. For more information and guidance about employing staff, visit the government website.

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