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7 min read

How to hire employees: 8 steps to find the perfect candidate

Have a role to fill but not sure where to start? Learn how to hire employees – from recruitment to onboarding – to find the perfect person for the job.
From Team '23

Tempo Team

If you’ve ever browsed jobs on LinkedIn, you probably noticed two things: Tons of companies are looking for new employees, and many job postings get loads of applicants – sometimes into the thousands.

Here’s what that means for hiring managers: You need a solid recruitment strategy to make your unfilled position stand out in a never-ending sea of open roles. Once your recruiting efforts pay off with a stack of applications, you need to know how to hire employees who are a good fit for you and your company.

Finding the right employee takes more than just posting a job ad and hoping for the best. Follow these steps to streamline your hiring process and staff your team with top-tier talent:

1. Define the job responsibilities and requirements

Before you begin your search for a new employee, take time to clearly define the role. Consider the following:

  • Essential duties: What specific tasks will this person be responsible for on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis?

  • Required skills: What hard skills are necessary for success in the role? Examples include software knowledge or fluency in a second language.

  • Desired qualities: What soft skills and personality traits should an ideal candidate have? Examples include problem-solving, organization, and a team-oriented mindset.

  • Experience level: How many years of relevant experience are you looking for, and does that expectation align with your budget for the role?

  • Education and certifications: Does the role require specific educational requirements or certifications? 

2. Define the job title and write a job description

You can’t recruit the right people if they never learn about your open role. Here’s how to craft a winning description:

  • Job title: Make the title clear, concise, and searchable. Avoid internal jargon like “People Czar” when your ideal candidate’s search keywords are more like “HR Director.”

  • Company overview: Briefly introduce your company’s mission and what makes it a desirable workplace.

  • Responsibilities: Review the list of essential duties you created and concisely outline them for the job description.

  • Requirements: If you’re open to people who don’t meet every requirement, create two lists – one for non-negotiable requirements and one for preferred qualifications.

  • Compensation and benefits: Include a salary range and highlight the aspects of your benefits package that will most likely attract candidates.

  • Call to action: Give job prospects clear instructions and the information they need to apply, like a link to your website or an email address.

3. Cast a wide net

Once you’ve created a job description that really shines, it’s time to put it to work. Here are some of the best ways to share it:

  • Job boards: Sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, and industry-specific platforms are favorites for job seekers.

  • Company website: A “Careers” page on your website is a prime spot to list current openings.

  • Social media: Promote open roles on your company’s social channels, not just LinkedIn.

  • Employee referrals: Spread the word at work so current employees can tap into their networks. You could even add an incentive in the form of a referral bonus.

  • Networking events: Industry events and conferences are great places to connect with potential candidates.

4. Create a shortlist of top candidates

Once the applications start rolling in, you can begin the evaluation process. There are four essential elements to consider when sifting through resumes.

Best fit for the role

Consider the candidate’s knowledge, skills, and ability to fulfill the role’s requirements. Experience matters here; you probably wouldn’t hire a physicist with no bookkeeping skills to do an accountant’s job. But don’t rule out people who have the capacity to learn. An enthusiastic but less experienced candidate who can develop into the employee you need may be a better fit than a jaded industry veteran who ticks all the boxes but resists change.

Best fit for the team

Your new hire must be compatible with other team members and committed to your project – a results-oriented candidate who values making a difference. You can get a feel for this by reviewing cover letters.

Avoid “yes people,” instead seeking those who voice a different perspective from you and your existing team members. A fresh point of view could boost morale and help your team’s productivity reach new heights.

Good communicator

When your team isn’t firing on all cylinders, you need people who will talk about issues, not clam up or get defensive. Good communication contributes to a positive work environment and helps you tackle problems early.

Strong sense of character

Look for candidates with a positive mindset – people with integrity who take responsibility for their tasks. You and your team will have a better experience if you hire employees who are both coachable and willing to mentor other team members.

5. Conduct interviews

Once you have your shortlist, it’s time to schedule a meeting. The interview process will help you narrow down your list and find someone who’s not just qualified but also a cultural fit. Here’s how to make the most of your interview time:

  • Prep your team: Involve relevant stakeholders and develop a standard set of interview questions to guide the conversation.

  • Include a mix of questions: Combine behavioral and situational questions to learn how they’ve handled real-life situations and how they would handle hypothetical scenarios.

  • Take detailed notes: Conversations can blur together, so make note of what you like and don’t like about each candidate to aid in accurate comparisons.

6. Contact references

For many employers, the last step of the screening process is speaking with a candidate’s professional references. You can request a list before or after the interview, but be sure to get the go-ahead from the applicant before reaching out to anyone they currently work with.

When contacting references, prepare specific questions related to the candidate’s work style, skills, and past performance. Ask open-ended questions that encourage the reference to elaborate beyond a simple “yes” or “no,” but remain respectful of the reference’s time.

7. Make a job offer

Once you’ve found your ideal candidate, it’s time to extend an offer. A typical job offer includes the following info:

  • Job title

  • Start date

  • Compensation

  • Benefits overview

  • Any contingencies (e.g., a background check or drug screening)

If you decide to run a background check, get consent from the candidate and be transparent about why you’re doing it. Consult with your legal team to ensure you and your company comply with labor laws.

Don’t be afraid to hire an employee whose record isn’t spotless. Consider the context of any less-than-perfect findings, and be open to speaking to the employee to see how they respond to your concerns.

8. Onboard the new employee

A well-structured onboarding plan will set your new hire up for success. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paperwork: Have all the necessary HR and tax forms ready for them to fill out, and give them a copy of the employee handbook to sign.

  • Introductions: Facilitate introductions with colleagues and key stakeholders.

  • Workspace setup: Ensure they have the tools and equipment needed for the role, such as a laptop, company email account, and access to necessary portals and databases.

  • Training: Provide comprehensive training on company systems, processes, and job-specific software.

  • Check-ins: Schedule regular check-ins during the first few weeks or months to offer support and gauge your new hire’s progress.

Review federal and state laws regarding new hire reporting. Each state has its own requirements, but you’ll generally need the employee’s name, address, Social Security number (SSN), and date of hire, plus your company’s Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you don’t have a robust HR department, contracting with a payroll service can help you report new hires.

Make hiring and onboarding a breeze with Tempo

Recruiting, hiring, and onboarding are time-consuming, but Tempo can streamline the process. Track time spent on recruiting, streamline project hand-offs during onboarding, and give employees clear visibility into their work, all with Tempo.