How to Hire Staff for your Small Business in Australia

May 23, 2024

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As your small business in Australia grows, you will probably reach a point where you’ll need some extra help. Hiring a new employee is exciting, but it can also be tough. 

After all, you will need to place your trust in handling your business in someone else’s hands. And you will also need to keep up with Australian regulations, before and after hiring. 

With all this in mind, what’s the best way to hire staff for your small business? Here are some tips:

Preparing to Hire a New Employee

Before you go ahead and start the hiring process, it’s important to think it through. As a small business owner, making poor hiring decisions can significantly impact your business and affect customer relations. It can also mean having different tax requirements that you should be aware of. 

That’s why it’s important to do your research right, assess whether you need a new employee and clearly understand your hiring needs.

When To Consider Hiring A New Employee

The safest time to consider hiring staff is when you notice that the demand for your products or services consistently exceeds supply. After all, a few extra hands can help your business bloom. 

Another great time is when customers may request new products or services and you need someone with more experience than you to develop them. Or, if you want to stay ahead in the game, a good time for hiring staff is when your business forecast shows growth in the near future.

Understanding Your Hiring Needs

To hire the right person, it’s essential to devote some time and understand your business needs. Here are a few things you need to consider:

  • Personal characteristics: What type of person are you looking for? And more importantly, what and how would they ideally contribute to running the business smoothly? What would be an ideal person for a good working relationship?
  • Filling business gaps: Are you looking for someone to help you with the current increase in your workload, or are you looking for someone more experienced to fill the skill gaps?

By understanding the needs of your Australian business, you gain a clear picture of what the best candidate would be. It’s also easier to fill the job description of your job advertisement later on with a clear picture in mind.

How To Create An Employment Contract

After you better understand your business needs, it’s time to consider the employment type of your ideal candidate. Are you looking for someone to work full-time, part-time or casual? Would a contractor be better suited for your business?

For example, consider this: 

If you are looking for someone to help you with one task like handling the paperwork and bookkeeping according to Australian laws? Then, hiring a bookkeeper as a contractor makes the most sense. If you are looking for someone to help you with running the business daily, then you are looking for a new employee on a full or part-time basis.

Here are some employment contract nuances to consider that might help you refine your choice:

  • Contract duration: short-term, long term or permanent contracts
  • Working hours: full-time, part-time or casual
  • Experience: new employee or apprentice/intern
  • Contract type: hiring employees or independent contractors

Legal Requirement When Employing Staff

Now that you have in mind which contract types are a good fit for your business, it’s easier to understand your legal obligations. After all, adding new employees to your business means keeping a tab on a few more legal requirements. 

For example, to stay compliant with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) you need to understand your legal obligations begin at the moment of hiring. When you hire them your new employee will need to supply their tax file number so that you can comply with the payroll tax. For full or part-time employees you will need to withhold tax from their wages, while contractors usually look after their own legal obligations. 

If you struggle with keeping tabs on legal requirements to meet Australian laws, you can also hire a local bookkeeper to help you stay compliant!

How To Organize The Hiring Process

We know it might be a lot to take in, however preparing yourself for the hiring process is a great way to ensure you will find the best candidates. Here are some tips on recruiting and interviewing potential candidates:

What To Include In The Job Description

Now that you’ve decided to hire, you need to craft a well-written job description to post. A good position description will be concise and clear. Ultimately it will provide candidates with an idea of what will be expected in the role. 

Here is what to include in your job ad:

  • Name of company
  • Location
  • Salary range
  • Job position – focus on purpose and key responsibilities
  • Main skills and knowledge needed for the position
  • The essential and desirable selection criteria
  • Closing date for applications
  • Instructions on how to apply
  • Who to contact and contact details

Where To Post Your Job Advertisements

Once your job description is ready, it’s time to consider where to post the job. If you own a local business, you can start by posting the job on your window or on university job boards. You can also leverage social media and post the job on your website, social accounts, or even your newsletter.

The Recruitment Process: Shortlisting Interview Candidates

Now that the calls for hiring employees started to come in, and the closing date is nearing you can start with the recruitment process. This is usually the time when you screen and shortlist candidates for the interview process. 

So, how many candidates should you shortlist? 

A good rule of thumb is to make a list based on the qualifications. Then depending on how many you have time to interview, you can apply some stricter criteriums to further cut that list down.

Make sure that you shortlist candidates that have the right qualifications, but also align with your business culture.

The Interview Process: Shortlisting Potential Employees

Hiring employees can be time-consuming, but when the right candidate to help comes in, it’s all well worth it. Here is what to consider for the interview:

  • Where the will interview take place – at your small business, or via a video call.
  • How long the interview will last? Usually, 30-60 minutes is enough.
  • Contact your potential employee and schedule the interview time.
  • Ask all candidates the same questions to keep the process fair, and easier assessment.

Also, consider what questions you will ask. Make sure you ask about their experience and values to asses whether they can successfully perform their role, but also note if this is a pleasant person you’d like to work with.

The Selection Process: How To Choose The Best Candidate?

Once the interviews are done, here comes the challenging part for small business employers choosing the right candidate. So, how do you select the best candidate when hiring employees? Here are a few tips:

Check Their CV References 

After all, a CV’s role is to showcase a person in the best light, so make sure you check their references. It’s polite to give the candidate a heads-up before you check them. Make sure you only ask questions related to their employment history, to avoid the risk of portraying yourself as discriminatory.

Get Actionable Insights From Your Interview Notes

Compare your notes from the interview, to make sure you have a good handle on their qualifications. Consider their work history, and how they handled previous similar responsibilities.

Consider Their Personality

Finally, when you hire employees, make sure you hire a person that you think you can have a good working relationship with.

Need help with bookkeeping and managing legal requirements for employees?

At First Class Accounts we have an extensive network of nationally accredited bookkeepers that spans across every suburb and town in Australia. We ensure you have access to reliable and tailored bookkeeping services right in your community. 

Contact us today to find your ideal bookkeeping partner!

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