careerGrowing businesses will inevitably come up against the need to employ a new member of staff. Whether you are employing your first team member apart from yourself, or are expanding a larger team, there are a few fundamental things you need to decide on if you’re going to get the best person for the job.

We have created this brief checklist to make sure you secure the very best employees for continuing your growth.

What’s the role?
First, you need to know what role your new employee will play. Will it be part time or full time? Are you hiring an employee for their skills which you don’t have, or are you employing another ‘you’ to share workload? Perhaps what you really need is someone who can bring both (if they exist!)

Create a full, clear job description explaining honestly the qualities the candidate needs, all experience the position requires and an overview of the day-to-day tasks they will need to complete. Here is a useful job description template to draw inspiration from.

What’s the salary?
One particularly tough point is deciding how much to pay an employee. Asking what their salary expectations are is one way of setting an appropriate benchmark, and you must take into account what you can afford. Read our blog from the archives about what to pay your staff.

How will you promote the position?
When you’ve crafted a clear and precise job description, you must decide where to publish it. If you know you get a lot of website hits, it may be worth hosting a ‘careers’ page on your site.

Linking to the job description using social media is a great way to spread the word, as is posting it on free listing sites such as Gumtree and Indeed. Maximise your network and send the position out to all contacts, asking if they know anyone who may be suitable. It may also be worth considering specialist sites and messageboards for your industry, especially if you are looking for graduates or specifically qualified candidates.

The Interview
Choosing an interview format can be tough, and asking the right questions is key.
One particularly good question I was once asked at interview was “If I was at the pub with you and your friends and you left the room, if I asked them what one thing they’d change about you, what would they say?”

It took me by surprise and forced honesty. It forced me to see my negative traits through the eyes of people who liked me despite them, and it’s not often that you’re asked to think in that way. It was certainly much better than “tell me about your weaknesses”, a notoriously overplayed and much-anticipated interview question.

It’s a good idea to ask candidates, perhaps those who reach a second level of interview, to complete a short piece of work to demonstrate their ability. This will give an invaluable insight into how they work and the quality of work they produce.

Choosing the right candidate
checkOnce you have narrowed down the selection, choosing the right candidate can be difficult. Do you pick skills, experience or personality, if all three aren’t present in one candidate? Decide which of these is most important to you, and make any deficiencies which may need training clear to the candidate.

Best of luck in your search, and we hope you find the very best there is!

Note: New changes have come into effect from the start of April 2013, regarding how small businesses report their employees’ earnings to HMRC. Click here to read about the changes and what they mean for you.

Useful further reading: How to hire your first employee.