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The Checklist for Hiring Your First Employee - Conversational - Blog

The Checklist for Hiring Your First Employee

Think you’re ready to take the first step of growing your business by hiring your first employee? Congratulations! You’re off to a great start if you’ve reached this important milestone in business growth. There are so many things to consider when you’re hiring your first employee, and keeping it all together can be a challenge.

That’s why we’ve put together a handy checklist for hiring your first employee – one that you can refer to each time you bring on a new hire, as well!

Find the checklist below and make sure you’re abiding by federal and state rules as you move forward with your first official hire.

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The Checklist for Hiring Your First Employee

Stick to this list and you’ll have all your bases covered. Don’t forget to enthusiastically welcome your new employee and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

 Get your EIN.

Your Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used for tax purposes and IRS documents. Just fill out Form SS-4 to get yours. The form is available for download at, so print it out and send it in.





Register with the state Labor Department.

After hiring, you’ll be paying state unemployment compensation taxes and your company will need to be registered with the Labor Department to do so. Google your state and the words labor department.






Get worker’s compensation insurance.

If you’re employing people, you should have worker’s compensation insurance in case someone is injured on the job. In most states, it’s required, but there are some exceptions.






Set up payroll to withhold taxes.

Each paycheck your employee receives will need to have a portion of it withheld for tax payments. You may have to withhold state taxes as well. Look for IRS publication 15, Circular E: The Employer’s Tax Guide for more information (available online).





Have employees fill out IRS Form W-4.

Form W-4 is the Withholding Allowance Certificate and it’s only for your use, not the IRS. This will help you determine exactly how much tax to withhold from their checks.







Report to your state’s new hire agency.

You must report information on your new employee to your state’s hire reporting agency. This is to identify parents that owe child support. Check the State New Hire Reporting page for more information.






File IRS Form 940 every year

This form reports your federal unemployment tax. You must file it yearly during any year you paid an employee wages of more than $1,500 in any quarter during that year. The form is available online.






Develop an employee handbook.

Not required, but recommended. State your company mission, culture, policies, etc. in the handbook to ensure clarity and consistency. Check out Create Your Own Employee Handbook: A Legal & Practical Guide.






Set up employee benefits.

Establish an employee benefits program including health insurance, dental, 401(k), vacation time, sick days, sign-on bonuses, etc. This will encourage your employees to deliver the best possible work while feeling secure in their role.







Publish Date: June 30, 2016

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