Hiring for the first time: what you need to know

Hiring for the first time: what you need to know

Hiring can be intimidating – especially if you’re a smaller company. Where do you start? What are you really looking for? What if you make the wrong decision? Here are 6 things to keep in mind when hiring for the first time.

1. It can take longer than expected to hire

According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) it takes an average of 35 days to hire a new employee. This might be shorter if the client is available immediately, or longer if the candidate has a notice period to work out. Some notice periods may be as long as several months. When hiring, you should have a good idea of how urgent your role is. If it’s a very urgent vacancy, you may want to look for a candidate with a shorter notice period. If it’s not an urgent vacancy, you may be able to afford to wait out the notice period to hire the absolute ideal candidate.

2. Your applicants may not have the experience

Many candidates apply for roles although they do not have the necessary experience. It’s up to you how you approach this. Much of the time candidates are applying for anything and everything. As such, they might not be suitable for the role. In cases like these, find ways to filter applications, including email rules, online filters, and screening questions.

However, sometimes candidates apply who don’t have the exact experience required but have knowledge and transferrable skills that make up for it. In these cases, you might want to give these candidates a chance. Perhaps through interviewing, you may find that they would be the perfect fit for the role with a bit of training.

3. Your job description is the most important thing to hire well

If you have a good job description, half your work is done. You’ll set clear expectations for your role, and will increase your odds of relevant candidates.

When it comes to writing job descriptions, there is no right or wrong way to do it. You may, however, want to follow the following guidelines:

  • List key responsibilities and performance standards
  • Explain where role fits (supervisors, subordinates, etc.)
  • Set management expectations (weekends, holidays, overtime, shifts, etc.)
  • List required skills, experience, or qualifications

4. Offer letters are contracts for your hires

Your new hire may not have started their new role, but with a signed offer of employment they are your employee. This means that a letter of employment isn’t something you can just withdraw. If you do withdraw your letter of employment once it’s signed, the candidate may take you to the CCMA on grounds of unfair dismissal. It’s happened in a handful of cases in South Africa, and can end up becoming a costly exercise, particularly if you’re an SME. As such, when considering your new hire, be sure that both you and the candidate are on the same page before providing any official paperwork.

5. AI can help you hire faster and easier

Instead of scouring a million websites manually to find your perfect candidate, AI can do the hard work for you. Tools like our AI Recruiter, Crystal, scan the web on your behalf, helping you gather a list of ideal candidates in a matter of minutes with the click of a button. Not only is it quick, but Crystal finds candidates that you might never have found otherwise. This means that you can be sure you’re getting 1-in-a-million candidates that match your job spec.

6. Background check your hire

As trusting as you may be, and as much as you may want to give people the benefit of the doubt, you never really know who you’re hiring. For the safety of your business and the people who work with you, it’s important to make sure the person you’re hiring is safe. You should always run a criminal background check, but you may also want to verify your candidate’s educational details or check their social media to make sure they are who they say they are. If the position is in Finance, you should also run a credit check on your candidate. All these checks are available through our Job Crystal Background Checks service and are super quick and easy to do. It’s better to hire knowing you have peace of mind than to take a risk that might cost your financial or even physical safety.


There’s no right or wrong way to hire because every company is unique. But there are some best practices that you can use to make sure that hiring is as easy as you can make it. Remember to trust your gut and always make sure you do your research.