Skip to main content

Hiring your first employee? Ten things to think about before you jump.

By February 1, 2024February 16th, 2024Blog

Hiring your first employee? Ten things to think about before you jump.

Congratulations, you’ve reached a point in your business journey where you’re ready to bring on your first employee! This exciting step can help take your venture to new heights. Before committing to that first hire, let’s dive into the top ten things you should consider.

1. Define the Role

Before posting job ads everywhere, take a breath and clearly define the role. What exactly do you need this person to do?

It’s too easy just to say, “I need help!”. But ‘help’ can look like a lot of different things. Start by brainstorming what you hope to hand off to someone else from your to-do list. Or think about the work you have too much of for one person, and you need a teammate to share the load. Next, think about what you are not good at and would love someone to do.

Now, create a list of responsibilities. What skills will be required to do them? Is it one role? Be careful not to look for a magical unicorn that doesn’t exist.

2. Budget Is King

Money talks, my friend. Before going on a hiring spree, ensure you’ve got the funds to support a new team member.

Check the applicable Award to see the minimum you will need to pay. Research the market in your location and see what you will need to pay to attract the right people. Consider salary, benefits, statutory costs, and any other perks you want to throw into the mix for recruitment and retention.

3. Cultural Fit – It’s Like Dating for Your Business

Think about your company culture and the vibe you want to have. What will this person need to fit in like the next puzzle piece? If you have established a particular style with your customers or clients, ensure the new person is on the same page.

Remember that you will be working very closely with your first hire. You want to make sure they are someone you will get along with. A harmonious team is a happy team.

4. Job Ad Coolness

Your job ad is like a dating profile for your business. Make it snappy and interesting, and give potential hires a taste of the awesomeness that is working for your company. Show off your personality – you’re not just looking for an employee; you’re looking for a team member.

You might be tempted to develop a cool new title, but remember that not everyone will understand what it means. Stick with something that is simple and will catch the attention of appropriate candidates. Then call them whatever you like internally, once they start.

5. Interviews: More Than Just a Chat

When you’re interviewing candidates, it’s not just about asking if they can handle the job. Dive into their work style, problem-solving skills, and what they do for fun. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time together.

List what you believe will make someone successful in the role. Do they need to be able to deal with difficult people, juggle competing priorities, and pay close attention to detail? Ask questions that test if they can bring that to the table.

6. References – Not Just for Renting

You wouldn’t rent a house without checking references, right? The same goes for employees. Talk to their former employers or colleagues to get the inside scoop on what they’d really be like to work with.

Ultimately, you may confirm what you already know about them (which is a good thing), but there will be that one time you ask if they would rehire them, and they say no!

7. Benefits & Perks: More Than Just a Paycheck

A living wage is great, but what else can you offer? From flexible hours and remote work options to free coffee and gym memberships – these are the things that may make your business stand out and attract top talent in a competitive marketplace.

Many industries struggle to fill positions and must compete for the needed staff. Use your imagination. What will people in your industry value? I know one business where the owner has a holiday home and offers it’s use it twice a year!

8. Onboarding – It’s Not a One-Night Stand

Once you’ve found your perfect match, please don’t leave them hanging. Develop a thorough onboarding process that makes new employees feel part of the team from day one.

Think beyond the first day. Don’t overwhelm them on day one. Plan what you will need to show them in advance. Prepare procedures for them to reference and follow. Start taking what you know in your head and put it on paper now so you will be prepared.

9. Communication is Key

Touch base with your new hire, especially if you aren’t always in the same office. Regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and open communication lines build trust, strengthen your relationship and build a team.

Don’t assume that they should (or will) know things. Ask questions and create an environment where they feel comfortable coming to you. Let them know you would rather have them ask than make assumptions.

10. Growth Potential – Like a Plant, Your Team Needs Room to Grow

Consider the future. Is there room for this employee to grow within your company? People like to know they’re not stuck in a dead-end job. Show them the potential for career growth, and you’ll have a motivated team member on your hands.

Let them know that as the first hire, there are opportunities for them to grow with the business. Be open with your plans and how they might fit into them. That will be an exciting prospect for many potential employees. Remember, this role will evolve as you determine where their strengths are best utilised in the business.


Hiring your first employee is a big step, but with some thought, you’ll find the perfect addition to your team. Strawberry Seed has a Fixed Price package, The Essentials Package, made for sole traders hiring their first employee. We set up all the HR basics you need to hire your first employee and (hopefully) the rest of your growing team.

Carli Saw

Author Carli Saw

Carli is a Human Resources professional with more than 20 years of experience across a range of industries and a passion for supporting small business.

More posts by Carli Saw