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ATB Financial Hiring Guide

ATB Financial Hiring Guide

Posted on: November 29, 2017 | Author: Shahzia Noorally

Hire right the first time, every time

A growing business will eventually need to hire employees. But knowing when to do this—and how to find and hire the right people—is a challenge for many small business owners. Here are three signs that it’s time to hire.

  • You’re getting bogged down in administrative work

    If you’ve become so busy with paperwork, billing, expenses and other administrative work that you no longer have time to focus on what you're actually good at, it’s time to hire an administrative assistant or outsource some work. This will free up your time for higher value activities.

  • You have ongoing work that can take up at least 20 hours a week

    It’s a good idea to create a list of ongoing tasks related to your business. Once the tasks on this list take more than 20 hours a week to complete, it’s time to think about bringing in some help. This list will also help you create a job description for your new hire.

  • You can afford more than just the hourly wage

    Employees cost money—and more than just salary. Some experts calculate that hiring someone costs an employer around 1.5 times the employee’s salary. If you can afford more than a competitive wage for an employee, it could be time to hire.

Employment standards

The Canada Labour Code’s employment standards are in place to ensure employees are protected and fairly paid for their work. Standards that employers need to consider include:

  • Minimum wage
  • Annual vacations and other types of leave
  • Public (statutory) holidays
  • Hours of work, including standard hours, overtime and emergency requirements
  • Record keeping
  • Taxes

The nature of your business and its location will also influence what provincial and federal employment rules you’ll need to follow. This Government of Canada page is a good place to start your research.


The right type of employee

Should you hire two part-time employees or one full-time one? What about outsourcing? Contractors? Interns or co-op students? There are many kinds of employment, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. Here are some approaches you should consider:

  • Hire remotely. Working with a mix of people based overseas or across Canada and the US can lower overhead costs.
  • Start with part time. Starting employees at 20-25 hours a week and increasing over time allows you to manage your costs and test out new team members in a cost-conscious way.
  • Start with contractors. Hiring contractors on a project-byproject basis can help you manage, delegate and collaborate with teammates before committing to full-time employees.
  • Hire students for a co-op term. Creating a robust student internship program will help you attract university talent and expose your business to a whole new set of potential clients.

Consulting a lawyer is well worth the investment when making formal employment offers, including running background checks and drafting confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements.

Ready to hire?

Remember these foundational principles throughout the entire process:

  • Mediocre should not be in your vocabulary. Your business is the product of your hopes and dreams. Bringing the wrong person on board can derail your progress and cost you time and money. Listen to your gut, do your due diligence and take the time to ensure you're hiring right the first time.
  • Hire slow and fire fast. Take your time making hiring decisions, even if it means waiting for at the right candidate to come along. If you make a bad hire, cut ties as quickly as possible.
  • Always be recruiting. Stay three steps ahead of the recruitment process by building a pipeline of potential talent. This will make it easier to fill vacancies as they come up. Keep your recruiter hat on, network, hand out business cards when you get great service, and tell your brand story wherever you go.

Writing a great job posting

A good job posting makes the difference when it comes to attracting the right candidate.

  • Differentiate your business. Put a face to your company. It can be as simple as listing the reasons you started your business in the first place. This can be a motivator for Millennial talent, who look for purpose in the work they do and want to work for companies they believe in.
  • Differentiate your posting. Often, people don’t read a job posting—they scan it. Be creative in how you set your business apart and attract candidates’ attention. Try using infographics or produce a video that describes the role and your ideal candidate.

Low-cost recruitment

As an entrepreneur, it’s important to recruit in the most costeffective way possible. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Add an employment section to your website.
  • Create a separate email account for resumes and applications.
  • Encourage potential talent to express their interest whether or not ask you have positions available.
  • Post the position on industry association websites and send it to membership lists.
  • Give the job description to employees, family, friends and colleagues in case they know the right person.
  • Use social media to engage people who already know your company, and their connections.

Red flags when reviewing resumes

  • No cover letter. Taking the time to compose a short letter reflects a candidate’s commitment to the job, while also giving you an opportunity to learn more about who they are and why they feel a connection with your brand.
  • Short, unexplained employment records. Switching industries and companies often indicates a candidate hasn’t found their calling.
  • Education that isn’t related to the companies they’ve worked for.
  • Spelling or grammar mistakes. The care a candidate puts into their application often reflects the care they put into their work.

Interview process

It’s crucial to remember that the candidate’s interview experience is really important. People always remember how you make them feel, so be authentic and make your candidate feel valued throughout the process. Here are some tips to help make the interview experience a positive one.

  • Show up on time. Show the candidate that you respect them and their schedule.
  • Empower them to be prepared. Give them all the information they need to be ready. This includes not only background on your business and the position, but also who will be interviewing them.
  • Don’t ask trick questions—nobody benefits.

Ask for specific examples of things they have done in the past. Past action is a strong indicator of future conduct.

Red flags during the interview process

  • The candidate doesn’t ask questions. This can indicate a candidate is simply desperate for a job instead of being excited and invested in your company.
  • The candidate asks lots of questions about pay and logistics. Again, they are probably just looking for a job as opposed to your job.
  • The candidate shows up late or is unprepared.
  • The candidate provides short answers, without context.


  • Do a criminal background check to make sure your new employee isn’t hiding anything. Be upfront about this, giving them the opportunity to tell you anything you should know beforehand. A credit check might also be a good idea, depending on the nature of your business.
  • Do an informal reference check through your professional network. Standard references provided by your candidate will be from people they trust and know will give a good reference.
  • Send an offer letter to the employee before doing criminal and credit checks, but make it clear it’s contingent on them passing these checks. This gives you the right to pull the offer if you’re dissatisfied with the results. If you can, have the offer letter written up (or at least reviewed) by a lawyer.
  • The offer letter is an opportunity to wow your new employee. If you’re excited about bringing them on board (as you should be!) include a handwritten card or a similar sentiment so they know you’re all in.
  • Don’t forget about your new hire between sending the offer letter and bringing them on board. Keep communicating with them so they know what’s happening.


Government of Alberta criminal record check FAQ

Top tips for onboarding;

  • Be prepared. Make sure your new hire is set up for success from the start. This includes equipment like their computer and phone, as well as whatever training resources they’ll need.
  • Communicate with your new hire to make sure they know where to go and when to be there.
  • Be there to greet them and make sure they’re taken care of.
  • Focus on the emotional connection. Hiring someone is a big thing and you should treat it as such. During the interview process you might have picked up on some little things that will help you deliver big “wow” on their first day. For example, if they love Tim Hortons, present them with a coffee or a Tim’s gift card. It shows that you really listened during their interview and care about their experience.
  • Set up an agenda so they know what to expect on their first day and first week and aren't left to fend for themselves. Connect them with colleagues they can lean on, so they can start building a network for themselves and learning more about your company and industry.
  • Get your new hire to start a little later in the day—say 10am instead of 8am. This will alleviate their stress and give you time to fully prepare for their arrival.

Investing in your employer brand

Whatever the size of your company or what kind of employment you offer, your brand is of primary importance to job seekers. Start by asking yourself, “Why would someone want to work for me?” As an entrepreneur and small business owner, your story and core values should form the foundation of how you attract, assess and onboard employees. Remember:

  • Every employee you bring on board is a reflection of your business. Think beyond the resume when considering a hire. The best employees share your values and vision for your business.
  • When you're clear on your core business values, you can establish that you’re a business that invests in people. Use your core values to assess talent in the recruitment process and hold team members to those expectations once on board.
  • Being clear on your core values differentiates you as employer. Making a public statement about how your business operates tells candidates what to expect, making it easier to attract great hires and avoid mediocre ones.

More insight and inspiration on creating a great employer brand can be found here.

Attracting talent using your story and core values

How do you use core values and your brand story to attract and select the best talent for your business?

  • Tell your company story with clarity and conviction in all your communications—especially your job postings.
  • Incorporate your core values into all your talent screening and assessment tools.
  • Don't be afraid to use your social media following to tout your employer brand, share job postings and spotlight team members. People buy into your business and story when they choose to follow you, and you can turn followers into employees or brand ambassadors.

Need some inspiration on what a great brand story and clear core values look like? Look no further than local Alberta businesses like Fiasco Gelato and Rocky Mountain Soap Co.

Relationship recruiting

Five minutes screening a resume. 30 minutes on the phone. Five minutes setting up an in-person interview. 60 minutes in that interview. That’s a total of 100 minutes to decide if a person is right for your team, your clients and your company.

Is this enough time to really assess potential talent?

When it’s not, there’s relationship recruiting—a way to build longterm professional relationships with people you might hire in the future. It’s about being three steps ahead, planning for vacancies before they happen, and about getting to know potential talent over time, regardless of whether or not they’re looking to make a career change.

Relationship recruiting works because:

  • You get to assess people in more than one context over time, and decide if they’re a good fit for your business.
  • It helps you find employees looking to make a genuine investment in your company and your story. Anyone who only engages with you when looking for work may be desperate rather than mindfully choosing you.
  • It is proactive instead of reactive.
  • It allows you to hand pick people to join your team.

Four tips for starting to use relationship recruitment

  • Figure out who you need to hire right now and who you’re likely to need to hire in the future. Are there people working for you right now that would hurt your business if they left? Do you have a successor within your business who could fill that seat or is it a role you’d have to recruit for externally?
  • Assess the team you’ve assembled. Look at your current employees and be clear on the skills and competencies needed for success in each role. Is anyone on your team a flight risk? Are they ready for a new challenge? How long do you think they will wait for more responsibility? This allows you to be mindful and proactive in your recruitment decisions.
  • Always keep your recruiter hat on. Approach recruitment the same way you approach new business development—be open to conversations about future opportunities at all times, not just when you’re actively looking to fill a role.
  • Embrace social recruiting. It’s the new norm, so don’t be afraid of going online and having a social media presence. This is where top talent lives and looks for information about your business, hiring process, team and leadership philosophy, and decides if your company is where they want to be.

Social recruitment

No matter how large or small, every company has two major assets: people and brand. Both keep business owners up at night. Attracting the right employees and generating new sales are equally important. Social recruiting can help your company do both at the same time. Here’s why:

  • It’s a cheap and effective way to reach future talent and plant “seeds” without having to be physically present in every community in which you live and sell. Stay at work instead of attending every networking event—and be just as effective.
  • Being active on social media as a business or business owner can set you apart from other small businesses. It demonstrates to potential hires that you’re invested in non-traditional ways of communicating with candidates. Plus, it allows you to create awareness of your brand and leadership philosophy while drawing like-minded people to your network.
  • Social media allows you to spread the word on the work your company is doing and create brand awareness focused on future talent and future clients.
  • Social media makes greater transparency possible—in both directions. Candidates can see “behind the curtain” at your business. You can see job applicants as more than a resume.

Other important considerations in the hiring process

  • On your new hire’s first day you’ll need to collect their SIN number and have them complete Form TD1 from the CRA.
  • Download the Employment Standards Toolkit and review it for information on setting up your business for employee success. It covers hours of work, payroll, overtime, holidays, vacation pay, protected leave, termination, adolescents and other employment standards.
  • Download the Occupational Health and Safety Small BusinessToolkit and review it for information on the Occupational Health and Safety Act, health and safety management systems, hazard assessment, work site inspections, incident management, worker competency and training, emergency response plan, first aid, workplace violence and working alone.
  • Most industries in Alberta require workers’ compensation coverage by law, which means you must open a WCB account as soon as you hire someone. Check here to see if you’re exempt.

Setting up payroll for your new employee

  1. Open a payroll program account with the Canada Revenue Agency. You’ll receive a 15-character payroll program account number which contains your nine-digit business number. You need to do this before your first remittance due date, which is the 15th of the month following the month you started paying your employee and making deductions.
  2. Calculate the deductions you have to take off their pay: federal and provincial tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and employment insurance (EI). The CRA’s online payroll deductions calculator can simplify this process.
  3. Send the CRA the deductions you withheld from your employee as well as your own share of CPP and EI. In order to remit you’ll need to know:
    1. Your CRA payroll account number.
    2. The payday(s) you’re remitting for.
    3. Your remitting period end date (that is, the last day that you paid remuneration).
    4. Gross payroll in the remitting period.
    5. The number of employees that you paid on your last payday of remitting period.
    6. Your remitter type. As a new employer you will most likely use the quarterly type but you should double check here.
    7. When your remittance is due. The CRA needs to receive your remittance on or before your due date or else you’ll get charged penalties and interest. If you’re a quarterly remitter, your remittance is due the 15th of the month following the month-end of your quarter:
      1. January to March: due April 15.
      2. April to June: due July 15.
      3. July to September: due October 15.
      4. October to December: due January 15.
    8. How you’re going to remit. You have several options:
      1. Electronically.
      2. In person at your bank with an original remittance voucher.
      3. By mail. Make your payment payable to the Receiver General, print your payroll program account number on it and mail to the Ottawa Technology Centre at 75 Heron Road, Ottawa, ON K1A 1A2 with your remittance voucher.
  4. Report your employees’ income and deductions on a T4 or T4A slip​.
  5. Keep a record of:
    1. The hours worked by each employee
    2. The amounts you withheld for CPP, EI and taxes
    3. Form TD1
    4. Any slips issued
    5. All returns filed
    6. Registered pension information
    7. Any CRA letters of authority


Form TD1
CRA information on calculating deductions
The Employers’ Guide: Payroll Deductions and Remittances
The Employers’ Guide to Taxable Benefits and Allowances
Opening a payroll program account with the CRA
Work Alberta’s Employment Standards Toolkit for Employers
Work Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety ToolKit for Small Business
WCB account registration
The Alberta Government’s guide to available labour 
Bringing Foreign Workers to Alberta
Employment equity and human rights​​
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