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Hiring A New Employee Guide

Hiring A New Employee Guide (Last Updated On: March 7, 2019)

Hiring new employees can be a tricky process, especially for small business owners, who may not recruit new employees all that regularly. There are certain legal requirements that need to be followed, but selecting the right person goes beyond this. Read on to find out how to identify the business need, advertise a vacancy, check entitlement to work and assess a potential candidate.

Types of employment.

Before hiring staff, it is important for any business owner to consider the structure of the business, and decide on the type of employment required. While permanent staff may be the default option for most employers, having the right mix of employment types can provide a degree of flexibility, while also ensuring all business needs are met.

As entitlements vary dramatically depending on whether an employee is permanent, casual, or a contractor, it is worth considering all the options before advertising for a role. By having a sound understanding of the different employment types available, the process of determining the best fit for the business becomes easier.
Familiarise  yourself with the different types of employment and regulations here.

Advertising vacancies.

The first step in finding your perfect candidate is to identify your company’s need, job specifications and the overall cultural fit you seek. You will also need to identify whether you are looking for a highly skilled employee, junior, apprentice or trainee.

When advertising vacancies your ad should always be a fair and accurate description of the role, including the title, reporting procedure, how to apply, location of the job and the duties and responsibilities of the role. You may also include pay and benefits, skills required, experience and qualification, and an application deadline.

Spend time getting the job description right. Being clear about exactly what the role involves from the start sets the expectations for both parties, reducing the risk of misinformation and dissatisfaction on starting.

When hiring new employees, it is very important to be aware that employment law applies throughout recruitment, from advertising vacancies to interviewing and probationary or trial periods. It is unlawful to discriminate against potential employees by advertising for a person from a specific ethical background, age, sex or sexual orientation.

Entitlement to work.

Employers are liable if they employ an illegal worker. Knowingly hiring people when they are not an Australian citizen and are working without a visa or in breach of their visa conditions is highly prohibited. To avoid this risk, always check the work entitlements of your employees and if they have a valid working visa.  Employers’ can verity a new employee’s work status by using the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website, however ensure you have the candidate’s consent before doing so.

Each of the following documents allow a person to work in Australia:

  • Australian birth certificate
  • Australian citizenship certificate
  • Certificate of evidence of citizenship
  • Australian passport
  • Valid visa with permission to work (not all visas allow people to work).

Test work ethic.

Once you’ve established the basics, don’t over-engage applicants. First impressions are irreplaceable and should be a true indication of the applicant’s future work ethic. Difficult candidates are those who are slow to respond, hard to get a hold of or change the time of their interview regularly. Our experience shows that these people often end up repeating the same behaviour if they are successful in the role.


Be certain of your company values before heading into any interview and keep these front of mind when speaking to applicants. At Employsure we believe values are twice as important as capabilities. This means that sometimes  a candidate with a great attitude and work ethic may be successful in a role over someone more technically skilled who has a bad attitude. Often it’s much easier to teach technical skills to a willing and enthusiastic employee than it is to teach values and attitude.

Plan your interview questions in advance and take the time to review the candidate’s CV so you can ask specific and relevant questions. It is a good idea to ask both skills based questions and behavioural questions. An example of a behavioural question could be – Tell me about a challenge you had at work recently, how did you overcome it? This type of question can provide insight into the way a candidate thinks, and solves problems.

After asking your questions, always ask the candidate whether they have any questions about the role or the company. This is a great way to clear up any misunderstandings and to give the candidate a clearer picture of the role.

Don’t forget that internal recruitment is a great way reward good staff. It can contribute to the development of individuals within the business who are empowered to work hard to reach the not only their professional goals, but your company’s goals as well.

Probationary period.

A probationary period allows employers the opportunity to assess a new employee’s capability, reliability and suitability for the job. The standard period is normally 3 to 6 months and must be included in all contracts of employment. A probationary period is not a separate form of employment, therefore new employees receive the same benefits as existing employees.

During the probationary period, employers may hold regular reviews in order to give the employee necessary support and feedback. Reviews also allow both parties to voice any concerns they may be having. This gives the employee the best chance of passing the probationary period successfully.

As soon as the probationary period is complete, an employer must let the employee know whether they have passed. If unsuccessful, an employer has the choice of extending their probationary period or end their employment. Employers must always keep a written record of this discussion.

When it comes to notice periods and dismissal, probationary employees have the same rights as other employees for notice periods and dismissal, therefor are entitled to have their unused leave paid out. If you choose to hire the employee permanently, they can accrue and access their paid leave entitlements, such as annual or sick leave.

If you have any questions regarding new employees, contact Employsure today on 1300 651 415, or book a Free Workplace Check here.

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