According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 41 percent of businesses surveyed who said they had picked a bad hire claimed it cost them more than $25,000. Another 24 percent said a bad hire cost them more than $50,000. Choosing a bad candidate can cause a domino effect, initiated by a lack of productivity during training, that can lead to loss instead of gain.

Knowing how to choose a quality candidate is just one part of the hiring equation. From the company perspective, you also need consider the legalities and details involved in everything from taxes to payroll. Here’s a quick guide to getting started on your first hire the right way:

Get Your Books in Order

The Small Business Association offers some tips for your first hire, starting with records for withholding taxes. It’s important to recognized that the IRS requires records for at least four years. Clean and organized books can help figure out your tax returns and how your business is performing financially.

Employers are also required to provide all employees with a W-4 and withhold any appropriate taxes, such as state taxes. Unless you’re hiring virtual workers, you’ll likely need workers’ compensation insurance. Check with your CPA and the Small Business Administration to ensure you follow the correct legal steps to stay compliant with the IRS and local laws.


What kind of work culture are you trying to create and what type of employees do you need to best fit your needs? It won’t matter that your first hire is a wiz at email marketing analysis if they have no personality, are combative or need their hand held from start to finish.

Come up with a list of questions for your candidates and pay attention to what they ask you as well. suggests deciding if they’re highly adaptive and can jump into a variety of responsibilities and grow. Your first, second and even tenth hire should see learning as a pleasure and be ready to admit their mistakes and fix them promptly.


Create a rock solid onboarding process to keep your new hires engaged and ready to hit the ground running. Your plan should include thorough training that doesn’t leave new hires feeling as though they were thrown in the deep end. Set expectations from day one and talk through their responsibilities and how you want them to work. For example, you may want them to work autonomously and then report on their findings during team meetings.

Setting Expectations

Serve as a mentor to your new hire to help them grow and learn more about the industry and job. Check in with them and encourage feedback to address their frustrations and challenges. Remember that today’s workforce of millennials want more than just flexible environments, they also want to be challenged and motivated in the workplace. Setting goals that have little meaning or involvement other than button pushing won’t retain shining talent. Instead, work on motivating goals together to keep your business thriving.


Set up your first hire with direct deposit to streamline the payment process. However, keep in mind that not all employees want direct deposit and will request checks instead. Furthermore, in some states, you may be required to offer printed or digital pay stubs. There are innovative ways to capture payroll deductions and invoice payment details. For example, QuickBooks Voucher Checks helps ensure compliance and maintain meticulous records by issuing itemized checks with state-of-the-art security features to prevent fraud.