Finding the right employee

Finding the right person for a job can be difficult, especially if you’ve never hired anyone before. With some preparation, you can make the recruitment process as straightforward as possible so that the best candidate is hired.

If you fail to get it right, the result could lead to serious long-term problems for your business with a new staff member unable to complete their work to a standard you expect, or even worse they disrupt all your existing employees.

Remember that each type of employee can involve different kinds of obligations and employment conditions. It's worth getting advice from an employment specialist to find out which one will best suit your needs.

Finding great employees

This 3 minute video shares the steps you can take to improve your chances of finding the best talent.

Write a job description

The first step is to write a job description. Not only will this help ensure that only suitably qualified and experienced candidates apply, but you’ll crystallize the role in your mind.

Include the following details in your job description:

  • A description of the job’s responsibilities and role.
  • Qualifications that are required for the specific role.
  • Minimum skills and abilities.
  • Experience such as number of years and industry sector(s).
  • Personal qualities such as being organized and able to work to deadlines.
  • A short description of your business so the potential employee understands what you do.
  • Location of the job in case they need to travel.

Make sure you promote fairly and do discriminate. For more information visit the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which outlines a number of practical examples on job advertising, recruitment, application and hiring.

Advertise the job vacancy

There are many ways of advertising a job vacancy, including:

  • Advertising in the local newspaper or media
  • Advertising on employment websites
  • Using the services of a recruitment agency
  • Advertise on your own company’s website
  • Informing your networks

The methods you use will depend partly on the nature of the job and budget. If you’re looking for someone to work in your retail shop, the best method could be a simple notice in your store window.

Is using a recruitment agency a wise idea?

Using a recruitment agency is a great idea in certain circumstances, especially if the position is specialized and technical. If you’re looking for someone with specific skills and several years’ experience, a specialist recruitment agency may already have many possible candidates on its books. The best benefit of agencies can be the time saved wading through (possibly) thousands of applicants.

An agency will give you a shortlist of candidates to interview without you having to spend time:

  • Advertising the job
  • Looking through a large number of resumes
  • Selecting the best candidates

However, the fees charged by agencies can be expensive, so be sure to include them in your recruitment budget. It’s usually worthwhile to get the right person for the job.

Consider using skills tests

Decide whether or not skills or aptitude tests are necessary to screen the candidates. If you decide to use them, prepare the tests in advance and decide where each candidate will take them.

Write down a list of questions that you’ll ask each candidate. It’s important to ask them all the same questions about their skills, experience, personal qualities, and ability to do the job – so that you can compare their responses as accurately as possible.

Ask candidates to give examples that illustrate how they’ve dealt with certain situations in the past. For example, if you’re interviewing for a customer service role, you could ask each candidate for an example of how they handled a difficult customer complaint.

Interview the candidates

Though interviews don’t necessarily prove a candidate will be the best choice, they’re often used to assess soft skills and personality. New employees do need to integrate with your existing staff. Ask a range of work and non-work related questions, and have existing staff attend the interview if you require a second opinion. You can also have the applicant perform on-the-job tasks to test their ability.

Ask each candidate if they have any questions. Make a note of the candidates who ask questions that show they’re enthusiastic about the job and the prospect of working for your business.

After each interview make notes and discuss the candidate with any co-interviewers to build a short-list.


After the first round of interviews, you may or may not have a clear idea who the best person for the job is. If you don’t, invite the best two or three candidates for a second interview and use that interview to clarify issues you’re unsure about. It’s better to delay and find the right person than take the best person from a poor selection.

Once you’ve decided on the best person for the job, check their references to be sure that the most important information on their resume is correct. You’re then ready to invite this person to join your team.

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For informational purposes only. There is NO WARRANTY, expressed or implied, for the accuracy of this information or its applicability to your financial situation. Please consult your financial and/or tax advisor.

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