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Category: ENTREPRENEURSHIP, The Entrepreneur

7 essential steps to hiring your first employee
Written by Bulelwa Mdanyana
29 November 2012

As a business owner making the decision to hire your first employee can be an exciting new step for your new business. It can also be rather overwhelming. Making the wrong decision at this stage can have a significant effect on a new business. It is not easily reversible because employees are heavily protected by South Africa’s labour laws. So what do you need to do when making that first hire? Here are a few steps to help guide you in the process:

1.  Should you really be hiring at this time? 

This is the first question you should ask yourself before you even begin the hiring process. Remember most businesses don’t have a healthy cash flow in the first few months of operation. It is therefore very important to be honest with yourself and ask some critical questions the first being:  do you really need to hire right now? Also consider how many employees you need?  Do you need a full-time or part-time worker? Depending on the nature of your business and the position in question, it may be more beneficial to hire a freelance worker or take someone on a part-time or temporary basis. Determine how much you will pay for the position.

 2.    Write up the job description

Once you have the first step out of the way, you will need to write up a clear and thorough job description. The document should have a set of guidelines describing the duties and responsibilities, defining the work environment and the equipment that will be used and laying down the skills and expertise required to perform tasks of the new position. This will help you to attract the right job candidates for the position. You could also get someone who has knowledge of the hiring process; this person can be a business person, HR consultant or a mentor to take a look at the job description you’ve written before advertising the post.

 3.    Take care of all the legal steps and regulations

When you hire employees for your new small business, there is an extensive list of regulations that you need to be aware of and they must be fulfilled. Some of these steps include the following:


  • Registering as an employer with the South African Revenue Services (SARS).
  • Employee’s tax: which is called registering for SITE/PAYE (SITE stands for Standard Income Tax on Employees, and PAYE stands for Pay As You Earn)
  • Skills Development Levy
  • Unemployment Insurance (UIF)
  • Regional Service Levies
  • Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (Compensation Commissioner – WCA)

 Make sure your company is in a position to do all these things before you even start looking.

 4.    Advertise the Position

Once you are clear about what you are looking for in a new employee and you have taken care of all the legal steps, you can now begin to advertise the job opening. There are various ways to advertise the job opening; however the one thing you need to keep in mind is that your hiring strategy, including any advertisements you put out, should be targeted. You don’t want to be flooded with applicants who are not appropriate for the position. Choose your advertising medium carefully to avoid unnecessary headaches. You can also avoid the traditional hiring strategies used by most businesses, such as ad in the local newspaper, recruitment agencies and use the internet, social media networks because they provide a cheap platform for spreading the word.

 5.    Shortlist candidates

Once u the word is out and you start receiving applications for your job opening, depending on what you are looking for, this is the step where you will select the candidates you think best fit the description of the job and make your selection.

 6.    Conduct Background Checks

Now that you have selected the candidates you think best fit the description, you need to do your due diligence so you can crop out any candidate who may bring harm to your business or its customers. It is time to do some back ground checks common screening tactics include: reference checks, professional background checks, criminal records and credit reports. When conducting a background check, there are several points you should consider: make sure you contact at least two of three references provided by the job candidate, including former employers

 7.    Conduct the interviews

After selecting the job candidates, you will need to focus on how you will go about interviewing them. There are several things to consider at this point: Will the interview be conducted in person? Over the phone? Online via webcam? Who will conduct and attend the interview? Will you conduct one interview or have follow up ones as well?  It may be useful to get someone else to sit in the interviews with you to help assess the candidates. 

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