How to Hire Employees: Your Complete Guide From Recruiting to Onboarding

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When you lose an employee, you’ll be faced with the prospect of hiring someone to fill the open position. You also need to know how to hire employees if you are opening a new business, or your business is growing and you need more help.

This can feel a bit overwhelming when you consider that hiring the wrong person can impact your company culture, efficiency, customer service, and your bottom line. You can lower the risks of making a poor hiring choice by creating a strategy for attracting and vetting candidates for any open position. 

Whether you use a recruiting agency, your HR department, or a platform like ZipRecruiter, the following guide can help you create an effective plan that addresses how to hire employees to fill any open positions you have in your organization.

Determine Your Hiring Needs

The first step you should take is to determine what will be involved in filling a vacancy. 

Do you need to hire someone on a full-time basis, or do you only need to fill a part-time position? When you hire a part-time employee, you may not be required to provide full benefits or other perks, but this will depend on the needs of your business.

You may decide not to fill the role after all or determine that you need to hire more than one person.

You also need to decide whether you’ll oversee the recruiting process yourself, or whether you’ll leave it in the hands of your human resources department. If you don’t have an HR department, this responsibility will fall to you or a manager. If you can save money without compromising efficiency, it may be better to outsource the task to a third-party company such as a recruiting firm or staffing agency. 

Write the Job Description

The next step is to write a job description for the open position or update the one you currently have. 

This requires providing information about the job skills and education necessary to perform the tasks of the position. You should be as detailed as possible to ensure potential applicants will understand what is expected of them. 

Try to create a list of the tasks the applicant will be expected to perform on a daily basis. While you don’t want to clutter the job description with generic tasks, such as keeping one’s work area clean, you should write detailed descriptions of more complex tasks. 

This is especially important if the position requires any type of technical knowledge. If specialized knowledge, such as a specific computer coding language, is required, be sure to mention that in the job description as well. 

Focus on providing enough information to ensure any interested candidate can determine whether or not they have the qualifications to fill the vacant position.

Create a Job Ad

Your next step is to write a job advertisement announcing the vacancy. 

While the job ad will contain some of the same information as the job description you previously wrote, it should include more information that will be of interest to applicants. 

Provide information about the position, such as the job title, work schedule, rate of pay, and other similar details. Doing so will help candidates determine if they have the flexibility to fill the position. This can help you save time in vetting a candidate who may not be able to work a full-time job or one who may be looking for a higher salary.

You should also include a brief history of your company, along with its mission statement and goals. Follow that up with a description of the company culture and working environment. Candidates will want to know what they can expect from the team you already have on staff, so try to outline some of the high points pertaining to the work environment in your organization. 

Whether or not you include the job description in your job ad will depend on where it’s being published. Most of the time, jobs ads will include a separate link where a candidate can read the full job description.

If you need more help creating a job ad, check out these Helpful Tips on Writing Strong Job Advertisements from a Career Expert.  

Publish the Vacancy

Now that you have written an excellent ad for your job vacancy, you’ll need to get it in front of the eyes of job hunters. 

You should begin by posting the announcement on as many job boards as you can find. Popular sites that people in need of jobs frequently search include CareerBuilder, Indeed, Monster, and ZipRecruiter. 

Look for other websites where you can post your job for free that also cater to job seekers.

Be sure to submit your listing with the Department of Labor in your community, as well as any local employment centers. You can print out copies of the announcement to post in your brick-and-mortar business and on college campus bulletin boards. You can reach more applicants by publishing an ad in local newspapers as well. 

Creating greater awareness about the job opening will help you access a larger pool of talent, so use your imagination when looking for more ways to let people know that you’re hiring new employees.

ziprecruiter logo

Review Applications

While reading through stacks of applications and resumes may be a tedious process, taking the time to read everything carefully will be helpful. There’s a great deal you can learn from an applicant’s resume beyond the facts shared on the page.

The first thing you should do is make sure the candidate’s education and experience match your outlined requirements. When you come across a candidate who is clearly unqualified for the position, you should discard that resume or application immediately. Move on to candidates who do meet your expectations.

Next, pay attention to phrasing in the resume and cover letter. You’ll be looking for signs that the applicant read and understood the job announcement. 

You should also look for indications that the candidate possesses soft skills that will be useful in the position. For example, clear writing indicates a talent for the written word, and it may suggest good communication skills. Look for signs of other soft skills, such as time management, leadership, and critical thinking skills.

If you anticipate receiving a lot of applicants or need someone with specific skills, let technology do some of the heavy lifting for you. For example, you can add screening questions to your job post with ZipRecruiter and use their dashboard to sort and rate candidates quickly.

Raise Awareness About the Vacancy

It’s not uncommon to find that you’re either not getting a good response or you’re not getting enough qualified candidates. In that case, there are still some things you can do to reach more promising applicants. 

Think of the recruiting process as being similar to marketing your brand. You can use the same resources to attract qualified candidates, and it’s not uncommon for a business to advertise available jobs on the radio or TV, especially if they are hiring for multiple roles or hosting a job fair.  

You should also take advantage of your brand’s social media following. Create posts that let your followers know that you have an open position. If you post the job opening on your website, your social media posts can link back to the job announcement. Be sure to use hashtags with relevant keywords to reach social media users who may not be following your page.

The article How To Find Employees Who Will Help Your Business Grow has more advice on this if needed.

Conduct Initial Interviews

Once you have narrowed down your choices, it’s time to start calling candidates in for initial interviews. The interview will be the deciding factor in who you choose as a new hire, so you’ll want to be prepared for this process. 

You should create a checklist of traits you’re looking for in each candidate, as well as a list of questions that will be standard in every interview. A copy of the checklist and questionnaire should be completed for each candidate, so you can review and compare them later. 

You will want to ask questions that will give you insight into what you expect the candidate to bring to your organization. You can find sample interview questions online if you’re unsure about what to ask. You should also ask important questions about the job, even though they may not be typical interview questions. 

You’ll want to ensure the candidate’s personality is a good fit for your company as well as verifying their practical skills.

Run Background Checks

You should run a background check on anyone you plan to hire. Since this is an extensive undertaking, save this step until you have chosen a candidate to fill the open position. If you cannot verify their information, you can always go back to the previous step and choose another candidate. 

The background check should begin with verifying the candidate’s employment history and personal references. Many hiring managers only ask for this information without verifying it, which can be a mistake when hiring employees. Unfortunately, people lie on their resumes.

You should also run a criminal background check on your candidate to ensure you’re not hiring someone with a violent history, outstanding warrants, or other severe criminal behavior. (Although you should consider giving former felons a second chance if you can.)

If the open position involves accessing your business’s financial records or revenue, you may also want to run a credit check on your candidate. This type of check is only legal when it specifically pertains to the job position, so be cautious about conducting this type of check.

Make the Job Offer

An important part of knowing how to hire employees is making a job offer to the candidate of your choice. 

In today’s market, you have to move quickly when you’ve found a desirable candidate, or you’ll risk losing them to another business. You should call them in for a second interview as soon as you determine that you want to hire them. 

During the interview, you’ll extend the job offer and discuss specifics about the position. This is the best time to talk about salary, benefits, and other work perks like stock options in more detail. 

Remain open to negotiation if the candidate seems hesitant to take the position so that they don’t flat-out decline your job offer. They may have another job offer on the table, or they may find some aspect of the job undesirable. If you’re willing to negotiate, you may still be able to hire the candidate of your choosing.

Prepare For Your New Hire

While you’re almost done with filling your vacant position, you’ll still have to prepare for the new hire’s first day. This will involve creating a hiring packet that contains the employee handbook, employment agreement, tax forms, and other paperwork that your new hire will have to complete and sign. 

You should also assign a staff member to mentor and work closely with your new hire. Starting a new job can be stressful and intimidating, so you want to ensure they will feel welcome.

Although they are skilled in their line of work, a new staff member will be unfamiliar with policies and procedures that specifically pertain to your organization. For this reason, the mentor should be prepared to train the new hire and provide them with any information they may need to perform well. 

Be sure to check in often with both parties, especially in the first few weeks. If there are any issues or concerns, it’s best to address them as soon as you can. 

After a week or two, ask your new hire to fill out a review of your onboarding process. Their insight can help you refine this process to make it more beneficial to new hires in the future.

In Conclusion

Once you create your own strategy that addresses how to hire employees, you can save that plan for future use. 

Be sure to save copies of any documents, training resources, or marketing materials you create. This can help you reduce the time it takes you to go through this recruiting and hiring process the next time you are looking for new employees. It will also make it easier for you to train your HR personnel in following your hiring process. 

Over time, your use of the same procedures will make filling any open position in your organization easier.

Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN,, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.

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