Recruiting staff

Recruiting staff: seven things you should know


If you want to expand your business, one way to do this is to take on new staff. Recruiting new staff means taking a chance and investing in your business so it's essential that you choose the right recruitment methods to suit your individual business needs.

Staff recruitment essentials

1. Decide if you really need to recruit new staff

You're going to be spending time and money on recruiting someone new, so look at your staffing needs in relation to your business objectives. Consider why you're looking for extra help and how long you will need it for. Could another option be more viable such as sharing work amongst existing employees, reorganising the company structure, or rearranging tasks? See recruiting new staff and the alternatives.

2. Register as a new employer

If you are taking on your first employee, you may be required to register as an employer with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Most new employers can register online but some will need to register by email, by telephone, or with an HMRC office. See how to register as an employer.

3. Consider the type of worker you wish to employ

The options you have for employing a new worker will depend on factors such as how constant the work is, how long it will last, and the number of hours per week. There are a number of options available including permanent employees, fixed-term contract employees, self-employed freelancers or contractors, and employment agency staff. In addition, do you need someone there on a full-time or part-time basis? See recruiting staff: your options.

4. Write a job description and person specification

Preparing a job description is not a legal requirement but it can help with deciding the scope of the work, advertising the job, and clarifying what applicants will have to do in the job. It can also help to identify a new recruit's performance and identify their training needs. If you decide to include a person specification, you should include the essential and desirable knowledge, experience, and skills you are looking for. If you already have an existing job description and person specification for a role, these should be reviewed prior to a recruitment exercise to ensure they are still accurate. See writing a person specification and job description.

5. Decide how much you should pay

Offering a competitive salary and benefits will help you to attract the best person for the job. However, you should balance this with how low you need to keep your costs. Work out what you can afford and assess whether the job requires specialised skills that should be reflected in the wages. See how to set the right pay rates.

6. Advertise and interview for the position

There are many options available when advertising a job including newspapers, online recruitment sites, and employment agencies. Decide on the most appropriate option for your business, ensuring you reach as wide a group of suitably qualified potential candidates as you can. When you have the replies to your advertisement, compare the skills and experience against the job description, draw up a list of candidates, and invite them to interview. Carry out appropriate preparation for the interview so it will be as easy as possible for you and the candidate. See recruitment forms and templates.

7. Make a job offer

The final stage of the recruitment process involves choosing the successful candidate. You can inform them by telephone or email, followed up by a formal confirmation in a letter which should set out the main terms and conditions of the job. It should also state whether the offer is conditional, ie subject to the outcome of checks, or unconditional, ie not subject to any further checks. Once the offer is accepted, a contract of employment exists between you and the employee. See job offers and staff inductions.

Further information on recruitment can be found in the Invest Northern Ireland Employers' Handbook which outlines both legal essentials and best practice guidelines for effective HR management.