A guide to hiring your first employee

Share This Post

Ready to hire your first employee? What an exciting time for your business!

Here is everything you need to know from recruitment to hire and the practical elements of taking on staff.

Deciding to hire:

Deciding to hire someone for the first time is a big decision and you’ve probably been thinking about the benefits, disadvantages, and costs for a while now.

HR isn’t just about the legal stuff and firing people. HR consultants help you grow your business by creating a plan.

This is a plan on how other people will help you to achieve your business goals.

Before you hire your first employee, be clear with what goals your business is trying to achieve and exactly how this new hire is going to help you get there. And you should even go as far as writing down exactly what your new hire will be doing for you and how that specific action is going to help.

For instance, do you want to free up more of your time so you can do XYZ, or keep clients happy so that they stay with you for longer?

That way, you can hire with confidence, knowing exactly how and when you’ll see a
return from your investment.

Designing the role:

Do your research! You want to attract the best person for the job, and you want the recruitment process to be nice and smooth, so doing your research and getting everything right from the start will help you.

Here’s some things you need to research:
  • Job title (You want to attract the best person for the job and you want the recruitment process to be nice and smooth, so doing your research and getting everything right from the start will help you)
  • Wage (What are other employers paying for a job like this? Make sure you’re being competitive)
  • Employee branding
  • Key responsibilities
  • Benefits (Make sure you’re offering an attractive package)
  • Job sites (Ensure your advert is in front of the right people)
Important things to consider from an HR perspective:

Although you may have a good idea of what type of person you want for the job, it’s important that your job advert doesn’t discriminate against any protected characteristics. Otherwise, you could land yourself in hot water.


Shortlisting and Interviewing Candidates

Hopefully by now you’ve got applicants and you just need to go through them and decide. Here’s our advice…

Wading through hundreds of CVs isn’t fun and it can be easy to start being inconsistent and disregarding people who may be a good fit.

So, before you start going through the CVs be clear on the skills and experience you’re looking for and create a criteria you can cross reference against to make things easier. Don’t be scared to add in a wild card though if you think they’d be a good fit.

It’s also important not to discriminate against people at this stage too.

You’ll want to think about how you want to get to know your candidates more. This will depend on the job and how many people have applied.

It may make sense for you to first complete a short 15 min screening telephone or Zoom call. From there, you may decide to progress to a longer Zoom or in person meeting etc.

After speaking to lots of different people, it will be difficult for you to be clear
on who stands out. That’s why it’s important to decide how you’re going to keep
notes on each candidate, if they match your criteria and what stage of the
interview process they are at.

Offer of employment:

Offering the position

You’ve found the right person for the job and you’re getting them started…

Here’s what to do next:

Firstly, phone the successful candidate to offer them the position and to make sure they’re still interested.

You can talk through the package, and notice period, and verbally agree on a start date.

Once you have sent the letter, it’s safe to then let the other candidates know that they haven’t been successful. You should do this, with some feedback if you can.

Employment checks and statutory processes:

Now it’s time to get organised

Before your new employee starts their job with you, there are some tasks to complete.

  • Decide how much to pay someone – you must pay your employee at least the National Minimum Wage
  • Check if someone has the legal right to work in the UK. You may have to do other employment checks as well.
  • Check if you need to apply for a DBS check (formerly known as a CRB check) if you work in a field that requires one
  • Get employment insurance – you need employers’ liability insurance as soon as you become an employer.
  • Tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by registering as an employer – you can do this up to 4 weeks before you pay your new staff.
  • Check if you need to automatically enrol your staff into a workplace pension scheme.
What HR documents will you need to prepare
  • Written statement of employment particulars

An employer must give employees and workers a document stating the main conditions of employment when they start work. This is known as a ‘written statement of employment particulars’. It is not an employment contract.

The written statement is made up of two documents.

Document one: The main document, also known as principal statement

The employer must provide the principal statement on the first day of employment
and must include at least:

  • Your company name (the employer), the recruits name, job title, and start date
  • Hours and days of work and if and how they may vary (also if employees or workers will have to work on Sundays, during the night or take overtime)  
  • How much and How often they will get paid 
  • Holiday entitlement and if that includes public holidays.
  • Where they will be working and If they will work in different places, where these will be and what the address is
  • How long any probation period is and what its conditions are
  • How long a job is expected to last (and what the end date is if it’s a fixed-term contract)
  • Any other benefits (for example, childcare vouchers and lunch) Obligatory training, and whether or not this is paid for by the employer

Document two: The wider written statement

Employers must give employees and workers a wider written statement within 2 months of the start of employment. This must include information about:

  •  pensions and pension schemes collective agreements
  • any other right to non-compulsory training
    provided by the employer disciplinary and grievance procedure      

You may also decide to create a handbook…

It’s also wise to create a company handbook at this stage. This should contain all your policies on things such as discrimination, inclusion, mobile phone and internet use, as well as your expectations of your employee, what they can expect from you, your legal obligations, and their rights.

These documents are important because they are what protects you as an employer should anything go wrong. That’s why it pays to work with an expert HR Consultant to help you create them. This is something we can help you with.


Your new employee’s first week.

You’ll need to do a bit of planning to make sure they get off to the best start.

Set up their desk. Have a computer ready, complete with their own login and e-mail account, and everything else they might need, such as logins for apps and software.

Create a plan for their first week, which should include them seeing how everything works, being trained on the necessary software, and shadowing you while you demonstrate their duties. But before any of this, make sure you give your new hire a tour of the office, whether they will be working from it or not. Show them where everything is, and explain what’s around for lunch, etc., too.

Make sure you cover everything they might need to know during their onboarding process, and always make time to address any concerns they may have, and to answer their questions.



For more information about hiring your first employee
or any other employment related concern please get in touch.

Harwood HR – HR Consultants providing HR Consultancy and
HR Outsourced Services.  We provide clear, cost effective HR advice. For a
free consultation, please contact us on:

0117 439 0119 or info@harwood-hr.co.uk

More to explore

Get in touch for a FREE 15 minute consultation

If you would like to book a free consultation to better understand how we can help with your HR requirements, fill out the form below and we will get back to you by email to arrange a suitable time.