Employing People for Your Small Business in 5 Steps

How do I get employees for my business?


It’s a commonly held belief that your employees are your number one asset.

So it’s critical that small businesses take care to ensure they get the right people for the right jobs.

Here is our 5 step guide for employing people for your small business.

  1. Know your obligations

When it comes to employing people it’s critical you understand your legal obligations.

These will differ from state, to state and country. You should consult relevant small business sites in your state or territory to learn about your local legal obligations. In Australia you can get more information here.

A list of small business sites in Australia and New Zealand can also be found here.

Generally you need to understand relevant federal, state and territory laws, industrial awards and agreements and contracts of employment (whether written or verbal).

You will need to pay your employees correct wages, provide employees with pay slips, ensure a safe working environment, have workers compensation, make superannuation payments and in Australia forward PAYG tax instalments to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

You should especially know the minimum wage amounts for your employees.

In Australia, the Fair Work Commission conducts a national minimum wage review each financial year.

  1. Identify your requirements

What positions do you or could you have that are unfilled? What business needs do you have that can’t be met with current resources?

You should consult your business plan and any operational plans for the next 12 months (and even beyond) to determine if and when you need to hire people.

Consider whether you have any peak periods coming up or specific projects that require staff for a period of time. Do you have immediate needs, does the person you need require specific training or skills?

Do you have budget for employees? Will your employees be casual, part-time, temporary, permanent? Some small businesses (depending on their eligibility) engage contractors, consultants and trainees and apprentices in particular industries.

Do you currently have employees and if so assess your current skillbase. Do you have any gaps or capacity for employees to fulfill other roles? Is there a likelihood of employees leaving your workplace in the near future (through natural attrition, retirement, parental or other leave)? And if so what succession plans do you have in place?

  1. Create Job Descriptions

Before you start trying to find employees, it’s critical to create the job descriptions you need.

A job description is a summary of employee roles and responsibilities, and the skills required. It plays an important role in articulating your expectations of your employee and giving them clarity for their role.

If you already have a job description, you should review it to make sure it is up-to-date and still reflects the needs of the role and organisation.

You should use the same job description template for all of your positions, but it doesn’t need to be complicated or long.

A job description should include:

  • job title
  • who the person reports to
  • Section, unit or department if relevant
  • the employment status, such as full-time, part-time or casual
  • the key responsibilities for the job
  • the essential and desirable selection criteria – these may be based on skills, knowledge, experience, education, qualifications, qualities, competencies or behaviours.
  1. Recruit, Select & Induct


You then need to decide how you will recruit for the position.

You may consider placing a job advertisement in a newspaper or on an online job board, perhaps a sign up in your shop or on a community board.

Other options include social media including LinkedIn, recruitment agencies and word-of-mouth. You should provide access to the job description so you can ensure all applicants understand what’s required. You should also specify a closing date for applications, contact details for how they should apply or if applicants have any questions.


Before you even look at a single application you should determine how you are going to shortlist and select the preferred candidate.

Will you be using a scoring system for the applications and are some selection criteria more important to you than others?

Who will be involved in the shortlisting and interviewing? Who will contact shortlisted and successful candidates?

Will you be conducting interviews and/or are there other selection methods you may use, such as practical tests, portfolio, presentations.

What questions will you ask them in the interview and are they appropriate (within the bounds of the law such as anti discrimination legislation)? You should consider framing questions based on the selection criteria, such as, can you please give us an example of when you (demonstrated specific selection criteria)?

Don’t forget to conduct referee checks and out of courtesy inform unsuccessful candidates once the preferred candidate has signed an agreement to start work with you.


One of the most overlooked activities once a person is employed is the induction process.

An induction can help new employees adjust quickly and become productive members of the team as soon as possible. They are also critical for ensuring the employee understands workplace health and safety in your business.

You may also like to check out our article on employing people in your small business.

  1. Reviews

It’s important to have a process in place for giving and receiving informal feedback to employees but also structured employee reviews.

New employees should participate in a review process at the end of their probationary period, and then every 6-12 months.

The review process should be a two way process where the employee can rate themselves on their performance, specifically against the requirements in their job description, and the employers has and opportunity to provide feedback on the same areas.

There should be an opportunity to discuss learning and development opportunities and how the employee is or can contribute to the organisation’s overall vision. When a review is done well it can help employees feel valued. Regular reviews also play a key role in performance management when it comes to employees not meeting your expectations.

Overall, it’s not uncommon for small business to feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to employing people, so it can be extremely worthwhile to consult a Human Resource (HR) professional or employment law specialist.

Don’t forget to check out our 5 Steps to Starting a Business.