New hire checklist template: Before the first day

This new hire checklist helps employers prepare for a new employee's first day at work. It includes key tasks to complete and documents to prepare before their arrival.

new hire checklist: before the first day

Give new hires a thoughtful and warm welcome by preparing for their first day in advance. Being proactive during onboarding will help you:

  • Avoid legal risks, by reminding you to submit all employment documents within deadlines.
  • Focus on the most important things once your new hire arrives (e.g. New employees can meet their team instead of spending time trying to set up their corporate email.)
  • Make new hires feel more comfortable, as you’ll have prepared their workspace.
  • Create a friendly, collaborative environment, as current employees will know when and how to welcome their new colleague.

You can use the following new hire checklist as a guide to remind yourself of tasks to do before your new employee’s first day.

New hire paperwork to complete

  • Prepare an employment contract and receive signed, if applicable. This contract is usually written as a detailed job offer that includes:
    • Job information (job title, department)
    • Work schedule
    • Length of employment
    • Compensation and benefits
    • Employee responsibilities
    • Non-disclosure agreement
    • Non-compete agreement
    • Time off policy
    • Termination conditions
  • Send an offer letter. This is a document (often an email) that spells out the basics of the relationship between employer and employee. In your job offer letter or email, include:
    • Job title
    • Department
    • Name and position of direct report
    • Work schedule
    • Start date
    • Compensation
    • Benefits (brief mention)
    • Length of employment
    • Date by which candidate needs to respond to your offer

You could also attach the employment contract, where you describe terms of employment in detail.

  • Complete employment forms required by your country or state law. The most common types of forms new hires fill out are:
    • W-4 form
    • I-9 form
    • State tax withholding form
    • Employee invention agreement form
    • Direct deposit form
    • Benefits forms (e.g. health insurance agreement)

Tasks to do before a new hire’s first day

  • Ask new hires to send you:
    • Personal data to enter into company HRIS (e.g. ID or passport number, contact details, SSN number, tax identification number)
    • Bank account information, if you’re using direct deposit to pay employees
    • Copies of certificates and diplomas that are necessary to perform the job (e.g. for nursing or accounting positions)
    • Any food allergies or preferences they may have (e.g. vegetarian or gluten-free)
    • Arrival time on their first day
    • A copy of your office map
    • A rundown of the dress code, if you have one
    • A first day or first week agenda
  • Invite new hires to join corporate accounts, including:
    • Email
    • Messaging software (e.g. Slack)
    • HRIS
    • Productivity tools (e.g. Trello, ToDoist)
    • Password security (e.g. LastPass)
  • Remind new hire’s manager to send a chat message announcing the new employee on their start date (e.g. on Slack, Workplace.) Make sure to mention:
    • New hire’s name and job title
    • Department/team they’ll be joining
    • A few things about their professional or academic background
    • Welcome events you may have organized (e.g. an after-work dinner)
  • Send a reminder to hiring managers to make sure they prepare new employee’s first-day tasks.
  • Send new hire’s data to your:
    • Accounting department, so that they add new employee to payroll
    • IT team, so that they can help them set up accounts for corporate software
    • Office Manager, so that they can set up their workstation
  • Prepare your new hire’s tech, including:
    • Laptop
    • Monitor
    • Phone
    • Mouse
    • Keyboard
    • Headset
  • Arrange for new hire’s ID card, building access fob and personal locker.
  • Order new employee’s business cards and/or name plates.
  • Ask for new hire’s T-shirt size and place an order for a work uniform and/or a company T-shirt as a welcome gift.
  • Prepare and send an onboarding kit. Here’s what you could include:
    • Employee handbook
    • A welcome letter from their manager or CEO
    • Computer setup instructions
    • Stationery (e.g. notebook, pens, stickers)
    • A company t-shirt
    • A company mug
    • A copy of your organizational chart
    • A copy of a book relevant to your company or its culture
    • A guide of local points of interest (e.g. nearby cafes and restaurants)
  • Prepare a tentative first day and first week agenda that covers:
    • A company overview, including mission, teams and policies
    • 1:1 meetings with manager and team members
    • Completing HR paperwork
    • Role-specific trainings
    • Product-related demos
    • Team-building activities (e.g. a group lunch)
  • Assign a buddy to help new hire through first few weeks or months in the role.

Learn how Workable’s recruiting software integrates with bob, an HR, employee engagement and benefits platform. 

New hire checklist templateDownload this sample as
Word Document

Looking for an all-in-one recruiting solution? Workable can improve candidate sourcing, interviewing and applicant tracking for a streamlined hiring process. Sign up for our 15-day free trial today.

Get a free trial
All in one recruitment software Sign up