HarborOne Voyage

HarborOne U Voyage for business

Hiring for the first time

Regardless of when you need to hire, there are specific steps you should take to make it easier to get new employees onboard and up to speed with your requirements. You’re likely to be ready to hire if you find it hard to manage an increasing workload yourself or want to offer services that require specific skills you don't currently have.

Attracting the best candidate

You’ll need a competitive salary with the bonuses, health care and perks relative to your industry. But in todays tight labor market, you’ll also need to consider providing benefits over and above what you might expect. These can include providing a future career path, flexible options to work from home, paid time off for study or training. Plus never underestimate the impact your culture, work spaces and having friendly employees will have on a decision. Build an environment your employees feel proud to be part of and can’t wait to tell their friends and family where they are working.

Your legal obligations

You need to register to be an employer to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number), so the IRS can expect you to commence filing and paying the appropriate taxes. You can do this online here.

All employers also have to report to their state all newly hired employees within 14 days of their hire date, whether they are considered full-time, part-time, or temporary employees. You can do this here for Rhode Island and here for Massachusetts.

There are a raft of other obligations, including:

  • Employment agreements to set out the basic terms and conditions of employment, such as holidays, leave entitlements and sick pay. It protects employee’s rights and are invaluable for you to refer back to if a problem arises.
  • Equality, as employers can’t discriminate when hiring because of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. For help, go to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which has a useful small business resource center.
  • Occuptational safety and health, managed by the Department of Labor to create a safe and productive workplace.
  • The minimal legal requirements for annual leave.
  • Confirming the prospective employee is allowed to work in the US.

There may be other legal obligations depending on your business, so it’s often best to get professional help or ask a business owner in the same industry to help you work through these legal obligations.

Setting pay rates

You must pay your employees at least the Federal minimum wage for all hours worked regardless of whether they are paid by the hour, the day, or at a piece rate, though Massachusetts and Rhode Island have slighty different rates (see the current minimum wage in your state here).

There are some exceptions:

Of course, you don’t need to pay the minimum wage. If you’re unsure what to pay, talk to another business owner who has employees, or get more information on Employer.gov about compensating employees.

You can also use the tool on Careeronestop to find salary information for more than 900 different occupations. To start, either search for an occupation by keyword or select an occupation from the list below. Their Job Description Writer walks you through a step-by-step process of building a meaningful job description.

Finding the right person

There are several methods when it comes to finding the right person for your team. Some of the options you could consider are:

  • Advertising in industry or local job agencies and online job sites like JobsearchUSA, Indeed or Monster Jobs can be useful, or if you’re hiring locally, MassHire Career Centers, WorkforceRI, can be a great place to start.
  • Contacting a HR or employment agency, as they are experts and often is money well spent as they handle all the time-consuming tasks plus help ensure your job description is attractive and accurate.
  • Asking your networks such as other business owners, past or existing employees, friends and family. Cast your net as wide as you can.
  • Social media (for example Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) can be an effective way to advertise. Even if someone who sees your post isn't interested, they may share with their friends or followers, who will share it with theirs, vastly increasing your reach.

Setting up for success

If you can build your brand as a great place to work, it can help when you come to advertise for staff. There are numerous examples of ‘great places to work’ which can help obtain a better quality of applicants.

The recruitment process

The person you choose will need to fit comfortably into your work environment, which is especially important in a small business because you’ll be working closely together. Don’t skip the references.

Interview the candidates

After the first round of interviews, you may or may not have a clear idea of the best person for the job. 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.


Employing for the first time can be scary and overwhelming at first, so seek help from others to make sure you’ve ticked off all compliance the boxes, to allow you to concentrate on building your business.

Contact us

Contact us

Contact a Small Business Team member to discuss how we may help you achieve your business goals. We are here to assist every step of the way.


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. Full legal disclaimer

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