Hiring employees is inevitable for any business owner who is looking to grow. Recruitment can be expensive and hiring the wrong person adds to overall business costs. So, how can employers find the right candidate – one who’s capable of furthering the business’s agenda and improving workplace culture? The following tips can help.

Signs it may be time to hire

Employees can take on many roles at smaller companies, often working outside their job description to help support business growth. Employees working across departments is a sign of flexibility and drive, but it can also be a sign of being stretched too thin, which can lead to low productivity and burnout.

Look out for the following signs that indicate it’s time to grow your team:

  • High employee turnover rate
  • Rise in overtime costs
  • Frequently falling short of goals
  • Regularly needing to extend deadlines
  • Inability to take on new projects or clients
  • Need for specialized skills


Determine the type of positions needed

It is important to understand the type of role that will fill a position most effectively. Options include:

  • Full-time employees: Employees who work 30 hours or more per week.
  • Part time employees: Employers who haven’t quite figured out how much assistance they need may find part-time employees to be a cost-effective option.
  • Temporary/Seasonal employees: These employees fill short-term requirements during specific seasons or fulfill defined business requirements.

Independent contractors: Freelancers are self-employed and can lend specialized expertise on a project-by-project basis

Define job responsibilities

Finding a candidate who can be relied upon starts with understanding the responsibilities of the position. Some of the key aspects to consider are:

  • Essential functions: A job’s core responsibilities consist of daily functions, as well as duties that recur infrequently. If workloads and time commitments are expected to increase, such as during peak seasons or events, those details should be made clear from the start.
  • Supervision: Some jobs are autonomous, while others require a good deal of oversight. Whether the person in the role will one day supervise others is also important to keep in mind.
  • Physical demands: Employers should state in the job description whether the position requires heaving lifting, walking, long periods of standing or any other physical requirements.

Create a list of requirements 

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is setting standards that no candidate can match. To avoid this pitfall, separate the “must haves” from the “nice-to-haves” when asking these questions:

  • How many years of experience in a particular industry or role are necessary?
  • Does the position require a college degree or certain licenses and certifications?
  • If travel is part of the job, how frequent is it and what does it entail?
  • Are there any acceptable alternatives to the expected qualifications?

Now is also the time to decide how much compensation will be offered based on the candidate’s experience. HR technology solutions can provide industry and geographic benchmark data to assist with making decisions about compensation.

Write a job description

Job descriptions that entice qualified candidates to apply generally contain the following elements:

  • Brief company overview: Describe the business’s industry, products or services, mission, and vision. To maximize appeal, this portion of the ad can also be used to highlight company perks and benefits.
  • Qualifications and essential functions: Be as specific as possible about the job’s responsibilities and the desired skills and experience to limit applications from unqualified candidates.
  • Selection requirements: Include any pre-employment screening requirements – certifications, questionnaires, drug tests, criminal background checks, etc. – and ensure they are consistent with the applicable federal, provincial/territorial and local laws.
  • Equal Opportunity Employer statement: Demonstrate that the business doesn’t discriminate on the basis of any characteristics that are protected by law with an EOE statement.
  • Job location: Give the location of the office or job site if work will primarily be conducted in person. Or, state if hybrid and virtual or remote work is acceptable.

Where to post jobs

Getting a job ad or in front of the right pairs of eyes requires a medium that hits multiple groups of candidates. Here are a few ways to get the word out:

  • Online advertising: Career websites and job boards are typically an inexpensive way to reach a wide audience.
  • Trade journals: Employers who are looking for people with specialized skills, such as medical practitioners or technicians, may benefit from posting a job in a trade journal.
  • Professional associations: By contacting a professional or alumni organization, it’s possible to zero in on candidates who have years of experience in a specific field.
  • Career fairs and university career centers: Promoting a job in person has the added advantage of face-to-face interaction, allowing recruiters to ask questions and evaluate if someone is a good fit from the very beginning.

Conduct interviews

Interviews are an opportunity for a handful of candidates to shine in person, but they’re not the only ones under pressure to perform. Recruiters who aren’t diligent could suffer a setback at this stage. Best-practice guidance is to:

  • Prepare: Every person who will be conducting the interview, not just HR, should set aside adequate time to review the candidate’s resume or application and prepare a list of relevant questions. This step may require coordination when interviews involve multiple people throughout the business.
  • Be consistent: All applicants for a given position should be subject to the same set of requirements. Not only does this allow recruiters to make valid comparisons, but it also helps demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Ask only job-related questions: Federal, provincial/territorial, and local laws prohibit employers from asking interview questions that probe protected characteristics, such as age, marital status, race, religion, national origin, military status or disability.
  • Consider behavioral-based questioning: Asking candidates to describe a problem they encountered at a previous job and how they resolved it provides a snapshot of their competency and character.
  • Take notes: Notes on each candidate’s skills, experience, interview responses and any other job-related information that was discussed should be shared amongst the interviewers. When such correspondence is timely, it often leads to a consolidated review and decision.

Select a candidate

Choosing a candidate isn’t always easy, especially when more than one of them have stellar resumes and ace the interview. Ask these questions to help guide the decision:

  • Which candidate best meets the required experience and skillset of the job?
  • Who brings the most value to the project and the team they’ll be joining?
  • Which candidate will fit in best with the company’s vision and its culture?

It also helps to have an HR and recruitment solution that can consolidate interview notes and streamline the review process prior to making an offer.


Extend a job offer

When a candidate is finally selected, it’s customary to extend the offer via phone, followed by a letter that outlines the following:

  • Job title
  • Pay
  • Expected start date
  • Supervisor’s name
  • Brief summary of benefits
  • Number of hours
  • The contingent nature of the offer (contingency based on background checks and reference checks)
  • Any other requirements dictated by law

Those who were rejected should also receive a letter thanking them for their interest and wishing them luck in their continued job search. If using an HR and recruitment solution, employers can create a pool of previous candidates who may be a fit for future roles at the company.

Run a background check

Depending on the industry and the nature of the position, background checks can be a helpful way of evaluating a potential new hire’s previous work, education, criminal records and driving records.

Employers who initiate a background check generally are required to:

  • Notify the individual in writing via a separate document from the application form
  • Obtain the individual’s written authorization
  • Not discriminate against the applicant or employee or otherwise misuse the information
  • Other regulations may apply, so employers should consult legal counsel before running a background check.

Fulfill legal requirements

When onboarding employees, all employers must complete the necessary employer regulations that differ in each province. For the most accurate employer regulations, visit the Government of Canada website and search for employment regulations for your province.  Regulations include but are not limited to the following, which may differ from province to province:

  • Opening a payroll account number
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
  • Employer Health Tax (EHT)

Tracking the progress and completion of onboarding paperwork is often easier with a digital HR solution that integrates with payroll. The mobile capabilities common with this type of technology also make onboarding more flexible and convenient for new hires

Onboard the employee

A quality onboarding experience can improve the loyalty and productivity of new hires, while a poor one often leads to a lack of employee engagement and high turnover rates. Getting off on the right foot with new employees generally requires an orientation in a welcoming environment where they can learn about the company’s mission and vision and meet their fellow colleagues. Training is also typically provided to help ensure safety and productivity on the job. Learning opportunities should continue beyond onboarding, accompanied by frequent check-ins with supervisors, for long-term growth and development.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I hire my first employee in Canada?

To hire your first employee, you need to prepare for the hiring process. The goal is to attract the best candidates and bring the top candidate on board.

What is the most important step in the hiring process?

The interview experience can influence the candidate’s decision to accept or decline a job offer.

How do small businesses hire employees?

It can be challenging for small business owners to compete with larger organizations for talent. To improve their chances of finding and keeping the best candidates in their field, they can:

  • Improve the candidate experience so it’s easy to find and apply for jobs
  • Build the employer brand and make it visible to the target audience
  • Source talent from the channels that yield the most qualified candidates
  • Consider recruitment process outsourcing to fill HR gaps

Learn More

With intuitive recruitment management software and best-practice guidance from ADP, you can identify, attract, and hire top talent. The best technology is only as good as the people and processes supporting it. That’s why ADP blends the right technology with the right people and focuses on the right process improvements to help you reach your business goals.

Talk to us about your recruiting and onboarding challenges, and we’ll walk you through the hiring and recruitment solutions we offer — including how companies like yours are using them. Call 866-622-8153 or start a quote to get started.