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New Hire Checklist: Day One Details

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Stefan Schumacher

Sometimes the biggest obstacle to hiring someone is just not being able to find the time to get it done. Writing the job description, posting it, screening resumes, interviewing candidates, interviewing candidates again and then finally bringing them on board and making sure you’re compliant with various new hire laws is a lot of work.

The worst is when you know you're ready to hire - you have a definite need - and more work keeps piling up on existing employees because you're afraid to chop your way through the paperwork.

Hiring a new employee doesn't have to be as time-consuming and tedious as it sounds. There is a lot of paperwork involved, but if you have a new hire checklist in place it is easy enough to stay on track.

Here are several details to take care of on day one:

  1. I-9. Your new employee must complete form I-9 to prove they are eligible to work in the United States. The official form can be found here.
  2. W-4. For each employee, you must have this form on file to ensure that you, or your payroll company if you have one, withholds the correct amount of federal income tax.

  3. Workers' compensation. Did you remember to add the employee to your workers' compensation plan? This is required by law, so make sure you take care of this detail right away.

  4. Employee benefits. This will vary from one company to the next, but it is safe to say that you offer some type of benefits package. Do you need the worker to fill out health insurance forms? Do you offer a retirement plan? What about life or disability insurance?

Tip: make life easier by providing new hires with benefit information and applications before day one. This will give them time to review and complete the necessary forms in advance.

The first time you bring an employee on board there may be questions about what you should and should not be doing. As you hire more and more workers, however, this will become second nature.

If nothing else, make sure you have a new hire checklist. This should include the four details above, as well as any others you consider important. With this guiding you, it becomes much easier to stay on track and to ensure that every last detail is taken care of at the appropriate time.