Hiring Your First Employee: What Do You Need to Know

Accountancy Resources

Hiring Your First Employee: What Do You Need to Know

Recruitment Services


If your business has grown enough that you can no longer do it all by yourself, how do you go about expanding? Things are simple now, even if they are busy. Looking to bring your first recruit on board is a huge step. It’s also a huge investment in the business. How do you get it right?

Know that it is time

Firstly, don’t underestimate just how big a step this is. You need to be sure that the time is right. Get it wrong and it could be costly as well as pose cash flow difficulties. You’ll know it’s time to bring in your first employee when:

  • You are ready to delegate because you recognise you simply can’t do it all.
  • You have specific tasks which require a specific skill set which you don’t possess or have time for.
  • You’re turning down lucrative work which offers long term growth.
  • New avenues of opportunity are opening but you don’t have the capacity to capitalise on them.
  • You have the funds available to pay for them.

How to get started recruiting that first employee

You don’t start with a job advert. Particularly vital for small businesses who are recruiting in to newly created roles, you need to clearly define the role. There need to be clear and realistic expectations. This will also help you ascertain whether you need to look for someone on a full or part time basis.

Only when you have a good understanding of the role and your requirements are you ready to embark on recruitment itself. The defined role will inevitably highlight the skills, qualifications and attributes you are looking for. Advertise, screen candidates, and then interview against the defined job role.

How you advertise will depend on the nature of your business. You can consider job boards, job centres, social media, your own website, recruitment agencies or even head hunters.

Remember that you are going to be working closely with this first employee. It is vital that you select an individual who doesn’t just meet your skills criteria, but also is a good match for your business relationship. Being involved in the business in this early stage requires an individual who is flexible and innovative too.

The legal bit

This Gov.uk guide is useful for ensuring you dot the legal I’s. You will now need to ensure:

  • You pay at least the National Minimum Wage.
  • You provide a written statement of employment (most easily done through an offer letter and contract of employment). This will cover details of the job and their terms and conditions.
  • The employee has a legal right to work in the UK.
  • All necessary checks are in place, most notably a DBS check if the employee is working with vulnerable people or in the security field.
  • You have arranged employers’ liability insurance.
  • You know whether you need to automatically enrol the new employee in to a workplace pension scheme.
  • You register as an employer with HMRC.

Be honest with yourself

Not only do you need to be clear about the legalities and the role you are recruiting for, now is a time to be immensely honest with yourself. It will be considerably easier for the new employee to find their feet and contribute to the business if you are clear about the role you play in the business and as their boss.

You are now going to be a manager, not simply a business owner. You therefore need to establish professional boundaries and give due thought to your managerial ability. If you have shortfalls, then now is the time to address them with training or mentorship. Taking on your first employee is exciting. Be sure to get it right.

Are you ready to hire your first employee? Let us know how you get on!