Work out what help your business needs

Before you hire someone, work out if you have gaps in your business and how staff can fill them:

  1. What are your current business needs? Review your goals and work out what level of staff support you'll need.
  2. What hours do you need to cover? Think about what sort of hours you'll need your new staff member to work to meet your business needs. Do you need full-time staff or should you consider part-time or casual staff to cover busy times?
  3. What tasks do you need your new staff member to perform? Be clear on what skills and abilities they need.
  4. What do you need new staff to achieve? Outline the results that you want for your business from hiring new staff.

Our workforce planning tools can help you do this.

Calculate the financial costs

While new staff can bring new skills and increased productivity to your business, they also come with new costs. Consider the investment in hiring a new staff member and whether you can afford it.

As well as wages, some common costs include:

  • WorkCover insurance
  • training and certifications such as a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA)
  • information technology (IT) including computers and software
  • new office furniture such as desks and ergonomic chairs
  • workplace upgrades to meet occupational health and safety (OHS) standards.

Our Cash flow forecasting template (XLSX 76.01 KB) XLSX icon can help you work out the impact hiring a staff member might have on your cash flow.

Deal with your legal obligations

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

1. Check the employment type and entitlements

Decide the employment type such as casual or full-time.

Understand the correct rate of pay and employment conditions you'll need to provide your new employee.

2. Make your workplace safe

Assess your workplace health and safety to make sure your business is safe for an employee.

Register for WorkCover insurance if you need to.

3. Set up PAYG and payroll tax

Set up pay as you go (PAYG) withholding and your payroll tax processes.

Start the recruitment process

Watch the following video for 3 of our top tips on successfully hiring staff for your business:

[On screen: Penny Glover – Director, Satea Solutions]

Hi, I'm Penny Glover, and I'm going to give you 3 tips for successfully hiring staff.

Hiring staff is one of the most important decisions you will make in your business. For many small business owners, this can be a daunting prospect. Poor hiring decisions can have a big impact on your business, such as financial loss and reputational damage if customers and suppliers aren't treated well by your staff.

Your employees represent your business and are a critical part of its success, so it's important to get it right.

[On screen: Tip 1 – Screen candidate for soft skills]

There's an old adage that you 'hire for attitude and train for skills'. Many employers focus heavily on the

technical skills and overlook the so-called soft skills. Soft skills are character traits, such as how well someone communicates, works in a team or adapts to change. These skills are difficult to teach, so it's important not to overlook them in the hiring process.

So how do you do this? One useful technique is to ask hypothetical questions in your interview that are not related to technical skills. Their responses could provide insights into how they behave under pressure, their initiative and ability to solve problems.

[On screen: Ask hypothetical questions:

  • How would you deal with a situation like…
  • Give me an example of a time when…
  • Tell me about a time when…]

[On screen: Tip 2 – Write effective position descriptions]

When writing a position description, analyse the role and break it down into its components based on your needs for the business. Give each component a weighting of importance and list the technical skills and 'soft skills' that are required.

Apart from clarifying to yourself and to the candidate what the requirements of the job are, your position description will be helpful for performance appraisals later.

[On screen: Tip 3 – Run a fair hiring process]

We all have biases, whether we like to admit it or not, but there are a few simple things you can do to make your hiring process fair:

  • Ask each candidate the same questions and use an interview scorecard that grades their responses on a defined scale.
  • Evaluate the candidates' applications, focussing on their skills and experience. You could ask candidates to solve a work-related problem or take a skills test. This will allow you to assess the quality of their work rather than judging them on personal information. Remember, you want to get the right person to fit the role you've identified, so don't let personal biases get in the way, otherwise you may miss out on an excellent employee.
  • Have another person at the interview to offer a second point of view. This can be tough if you're running a small business, but consider asking another business owner in your network to help.

Hiring the right staff is critical to your business success. Invest the time into developing a hiring process that becomes part of your business practice.

For more information on hiring staff, visit

[On screen: Start, run and grow your business – – Business Victoria]

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

1. Think about what you have to offer

Define your value proposition – what will employees get from working for you? You want to be able to sell the idea of working for your business to potential candidates.

2. Create a job description and ad

Write a position description and job advertisement.

The description of the role should include day-to-day tasks, responsibilities and level of authority.

In your job ad, include background about your business, future prospects and any benefits you're offering.

3. Advertise to the right people

Your target audience might vary depending on the hours you're offering, or the skill level required for the role.

When you're ready to advertise, think about who you're trying to appeal to and how they might look for job vacancies. For example, casual food and beverage jobs might suit having an ad placed on university online portal chat boards.

Advertising to the right places will reduce your effort and get a better result.

4. Start the interview process

Based on the job description, come up with a selection process and criteria to help narrow down your applicants. Then contact the best applicants and conduct interviews.

Onboard your new recruit

When you've found the right employee:

Create a staff manual

Develop a staff manual tailored to your business and give it to every employee you hire. Your manual lists the standards and processes you set for:

  • how the business is run
  • what's expected of your employees
  • how you deal with issues