Chapter 4

The recruitment process

Now the applicants are lining up. So how do you sort through them all and select the best fit for your business?

An employer on the phone with an applicant and a laptop screen showing other applicant profiles

1. Create a set of criteria based on your job description

Use the job description to create a list of must-have attributes. Make a second list of nice-to-haves, which can be a tiebreaker when choosing between candidates with similar skills or experience.

2. Create a shortlist

Find the two to three people who measure up best. Keep your shortlist short, or else it will bog down your recruitment process. Send a thank you to those who didn’t make the cut.

3. Interview

Decide how long interviews will take, and pick out your questions. Besides asking about skills and experience, you might also ask them:

  • why they want the role
  • how they like to work
  • about their strengths and weaknesses
  • how they deal with challenging situations

4. Making your selection

Stick to the job criteria when assessing candidates. Avoid putting too much stock in how you hit it off during the interview. That personal connection is important but it’s hard to truly judge character in such a short window of time. Involve other employees or business partners in the recruitment process if they’ll be working with the new hire.

5. Check references

Small businesses often overlook this part of the recruitment process, which isn’t a good idea. It takes no time to call a past employer and check that your preferred candidate is as good as they say they are. One of the most telling questions you can ask is if they’d hire the person again.

6. Make an offer

Draw up an employment agreement and make an offer that includes:

  • employer name
  • employee name
  • job description
  • hours and place of work
  • pay
  • whether employment is casual, fixed-term, full-time, part-time or permanent
  • start date (and end date for fixed-term employment)
  • entitlements such as leave and holidays, holiday work pay, and more

Let them know when you’ll need their decision, but give them enough time to consider your offer and to seek independent advice about the agreement.

Sample job offer email

This is not necessarily the end of the recruitment process. Candidates don’t always accept the first offer. Be open to a negotiation.


Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided.

How to hire employees

Hiring help can improve your business, and your lifestyle. But it’s a big process. Here are the main things to keep in mind.

  1. Know your employer responsibilities

    You have a duty of care to your employees. Get familiar with your employer responsibilities before you start the hiring.

  2. Register as an employer

    You’ve considered the position you want to fill and your own responsibilities. It’s time to register as an employer.

  3. Write a job description

    You want the perfect employee. They want the perfect employer. Find out how to write a job description that stands out.

  4. The recruitment process

    Now the applicants are lining up. So how do you sort through them all and select the best fit for your business?

  5. Employee onboarding

    Employee onboarding is more than orientation. It’s setting expectations, building relationships, and providing support.

  6. Run payroll for your employees

    Paying your employees right is essential. It’s also a legal requirement. Let’s take a look at the payroll process.

  7. Manage employee evaluations

    Your employees need support too. They need to know if they’re on the right track. Employee evaluations help with that.

  8. Tools and guides for your business

    Now that you’re an employer, you want to strengthen your business. Xero’s got resources and solutions to help.

Download the guide to hiring employees

Learn how to hire employees and how to handle the admin that goes with it. Fill out the form to receive this guide as a PDF.

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