Starting a Business Step 9 - Employing People

Recruiting the right people is a key part of being an employer. Once you have the right people in the right positions it's also important to keep them there. Keeping your employees not only saves on recruitment costs, but their experience and knowledge of your customers is invaluable.

Establish the need for an employee

Take a look at your business and decide in advance what staff you are going to need and when. Take into consideration whether the positions would be short or long term depending on whether the work flow is seasonal or constant.

Flexible working, staggered hours or overtime could be an effective short-term solution.

Check to see what your competitors are doing.

Consider how much you would have to pay them and whether the business can afford it.

The right person

Create a job description that includes:

Create a personal specification of who you would like to recruit that includes:

The personal specification should detail what aspects are essential and which are desirable.


Advertise the position as widely as possible using job centres, libraries, local newspapers, recruitment agencies, recruitment websites and social media.

Send applicants a copy of the job description and personal specification. Creating an application form to send to applicants is a good way of standardising the process that will not only make it easier to sift through the applicants, but will give you a basis to ask questions at interview.

Use the essential and desirable criteria to find the applicants that best match the job description and personal specification.


Where possible interviews should be conducted by more than one person and in an environment free of distractions.

Prepare a list of open ended questions before the interview that explores the candidate’s skills and experience.

Do not ask questions that could be considered discriminatory. You must not discriminate on grounds of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion during any part of the recruitment process.

Check that the candidate has authorisation to work in the UK as it is a criminal offence to employ someone who doesn’t.

Keep all notes from the interviews to help you make your final selection. These will also help give reasons to rejected candidates you should they ask.

Make an offer

Once you've decided who you want, send out a job offer letter. The job letter should include:

Legal requirements

You must pay someone at least the minimum wage.

Apply for a DBS check (formerly known as a CRB check) if you work in a field that requires one, e.g. with vulnerable people, children or security.

Get Employers Liability Insurance - you will need this as soon as you become an employer.  Click here for more details.

A Written Statement of Employment Terms and Conditions must be given to the employee within two months of them starting work.

Tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by registering as an employer - you can do this up to 4 weeks before you pay your new staff.  

Tax and national insurance

The video below from HMRC explains an employer's responsibilities for tax and national insurance.

Types of contract

As an employer, the tax and employment responsibilities you have for your staff will depend on the type of contract you give them and their employment status. Click on the links below for more information.

Employee Development

Helping employees to develop their skills is a key part of retaining them within your business and getting the most out of them. This can be done through:

Useful links:

GOV.UK - more detailed information on how to employ staff.

Business is Great - lots of useful information regarding employing staff.

Growth Hub Services - advice on all aspects of recruiting.

Growth Hub Page - for more details regarding apprenticeships.

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Contact us:

Growth Hub engagement officers can offer you up to 12 hours free advice and assistance. If you would like to contact the Growth Hub team or arrange a call back to discuss starting a business click here.