Don’t be a good employer, be a great one: Hiring process

28th April, 2017

employment hiring

It’s important you take your time when it comes to advertising, interviewing and considering applicants, because getting the right person from the beginning is essential.

What you don’t want to do is rush the process and end up with someone who’s unsuitable – it makes things very complicated and costly.

So how do you advertise for the best available talent?

Employment law

There are certain things that you can’t do or say when you’re advertising and interviewing.

Getting to grips with employment law is a good idea, so that you don’t run the risk of discrimination.

This is when you reject someone because of their age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, marital or family status and political opinions.

And unless it’s specifically relevant to the position you’re advertising, you can’t ask them personal information about what’s mentioned above.

Job description

Think of this as like a business plan.

It helps you to define the role and means that both you and the potential candidates understand exactly what the role involves.

Once finalised, you can continue to refer to it throughout the hiring process and rest of the employment lifecycle phases, as it will act as a guide.


If you’ve decided to advertise the position yourself (instead of using an agency), there are some key factors to keep in mind.

Aside from making sure the advertisement isn’t discriminatory, make sure you include key points such as:

  • Minimum qualifications or experience
  • What kind of position it is (permanent, fixed term etc.)
  • A check to make sure they’re entitled to work in New Zealand
  • Some language that illustrates what a great place your business is to work.

The interview process

If you’ve gone with an agency, they’ll have reviewed all the applications and narrowed it down to a shortlist, including their own notes on the screened candidates.

If you’ve reviewed all the applications yourself, take your time when creating your own shortlist. Ideally you want to interview three to four people.

Develop a set of questions based on the job description, so you can structure the interview effectively. If relevant, you can also develop a test.

Remember that the candidate is there to find out about you and your business, so try to anticipate some of the questions you might be asked.

It’s also really important to put the applicants at ease – as the more relaxed they are the clearer their responses will be.

You’ll have a structure to work from and questions you want to ask, but try to keep it chatty if possible.

Key tips

To ensure each interview as effective as possible, keep the following in mind so that you get maximum value from each one:

  • Note if they take the initiative and ask questions about your business. Beware of candidates who have no questions to ask
  • Give them a bonus point if they’ve clearly done some research on your business
  • Ask them to describe specific situations in previous roles where they’ve been presented with a challenge
  • If appropriate, introduce them to people they’ll be working with
  • Trust your instincts – if your gut’s telling you a person won’t fit into your team, you’re probably right
  • If it hasn’t already been covered in the application, make sure they’re entitled to work in New Zealand

Making an offer and signing an agreement

If you’ve made your selection (ideally after a second interview and reference checks), you’re ready to offer an employment agreement.

Make sure this is drawn up and finalised when you make the offer, so they know that they’ll be required to sign an agreement before they start.

It should include all the details about the role and reflect the position description in terms of what’s expected of the employee.

Agreements can be either individual or collective depending on whether or not the employee belongs to a union.

Depending on the type of role:

  • Permanent agreements can be full time or part time, but without a finish date
  • Fixed term agreements must spell out the length of the term, and the reason the position is fixed term (such as cover for parental leave or because it’s for a specific project)
  • Casual agreements should include details of work hours, such as that work isn’t guaranteed or that they’re not obliged to drop everything when you do call.

By law, all employment agreement must:

  • Be in writing
  • Be given to the employee
  • Include the names of the employer and employee, a job description, the hours and location, leave entitlements, where to go for help, the length of their trial if they’re on one, a note that personal grievances must be lodged within 90 days, and what they’ll be paid
  • Confirm they’re entitled to at least time-and-a-half payment for working on a public holiday
  • Provide details on what will happen if you decide to restructure or sell your business

It’s also important to tell them that they can seek independent advice regarding the agreement.


For more information download the full essential guide to being a great employer