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How to hire (the right way)

As a small business owner, knowing how to hire is a key step in expanding your business. Hiring a new employee is both exciting and scary. Finding the right candidate based on culture, outlook, and expectation is essential for success. What does this mean? 

  • Culture: will their personality and working style fit within the organisation? Note, this is not somebody you would love to have a beer with down the pub. All sorts of personalities can get a job done, so it’s about finding the best match. 
  • Outlook: what do they want to achieve? What are their goals and ambitions? This is especially important for assessing longevity and role fit. If you’re hiring for a permanent, fulltime position, then offering the role to somebody who aims to go freelance in the near future, is likely not the best choice. 
  • Expectation: what does the candidate expect from the role? Training? Progression? Salary expectations? By understanding what they expect to gain from you, it’ll be easier to determine if that person will feel fulfilled in the role. 


How to hire

Before you even start the hiring process, here are some quick questions to check that you are equipped and ready to find the best candidate. 

1. What do I want the role to achieve?  

Assess the current and future needs of your business to define what the person in this role is aiming to achieve. For example, if you’re planning to hire an admin assistant, confirm which areas you want them to focus on. Is it office management, diary management, managing workflow, or a mixture of all three?  

Having a clear idea of the responsibilities the role requires and how they are going to help you to achieve your business goals, provides a solid foundation to find the right candidate. 

2. What knowledge and skills are minimally required and what am I willing/able to teach? 

Defining the skillset required to perform well in the role is a must. This will help with putting together the job description and crafting appropriate questions for the interview. To do this effectively, you’ll need to understand what success looks like. 

For example, you might own a B&B and have an average capacity of 70% year roundIn the next year, you want to increase bookings by 10%. So, you decide you need a sales and marketing co-ordinator to increase bookings. You’ll need someone experienced in client relations, social media and marketing, with an element of sales knowledge. You also want them to be experienced and be confident that they can achieve your expected growth. 

If you can’t quite find somebody with that set of skills, identify what capacity you have available to teach. Perhaps you have very little sales experience but are confident with client relations. Find a candidate who is a super star in sales and marketing and guide them on how to deal with guests and take bookings. 

 3. What can I offer a prospective employee? 

Start by outlining how much you can comfortably afford to pay this new employee – including super. This is perhaps the most important step in how to hireHaving accounting software in place makes this step easy peasy.  Make sure to leave some wiggle room to use during negotiation if you find the perfect candidate 

Rates of pay can also be determined by what award someone might be covered under, such as a clerks, hospitality, or vehicle. This determines the minimum rate of pay and conditions of employment. Find out more about awards from FairWork here.  

Minimum wage requirements should also be a factor in decision making. As of 1st July 2020, the minimum wage is $735.80 a week or $19.84 an hour. It’s a great idea to keep track of changes via FairWork’s news and media releases. More on minimum wage changes here. 

4. How can I attract the best person for this role? 

In other words, does the package – salary, training, progression – you’re prepared and willing to offer, match the level of experience required for the role. Many small businesses can’t afford to pay above market rate, so focus on business culture, learning opportunity, and role progression to attract the best candidates. 

On top of this, think about the benefits you could offer. This could include: 

  • Giving them their birthday off 
  • Allowing them to purchase annual leave
  • Earning an additional week of annual leave after 12 months of employment 
  • Gym memberships
  • Weekly drink events
  • Discounted concert tickets 

In the end, a high salary rarely equals happiness. It is the experience at the workplace and the benefits associated with the role that retain employees. 

5. Finding the best candidate 

Once you’ve got everything lined up and ready to go, it’s time to find the candidate. For small businesses, hiring a recruiter or posting a job on platforms such as Seek or Indeed, can be costly. So, consider some alternatives. 

Social media is useful starting point. Post in local community groups on Facebook, put together an ad for your business page and ask your friends and connections to like, share and even put a positive comment. Once you have enough engagement, social platforms are a powerful tool to spread awareness. 

Another great tactic for finding employees is to ask your network. Talk to friends, contacts and anyone else you can think of that might be able to send a qualified candidate your way. Ultimately, recommending somebody who turns out to be a bad employee reflects poorly on the referrerso you’ll find that these people are likely to only send you the candidates that they think are worthy of your time. 


Overall, hiring a new employee is an exciting time. It shows business expansion and brings another person on board that has a unique set of experiences. Hire somebody for their skill set, experience and outlook, and you’ll reap the rewards. 

For more details on the hiring process, including your legal and statutory responsibilities as an employer, the FairWork Ombudsman has excellent resources.

Happy hiring! 

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