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Onboarding: How to Create a Simple Onboarding Program

Onboarding Ebook 3D CoverWondering How to Create and Simplify a Great Onboarding Program?

Here's an onboarding guide detailing all the steps for success.

In this 22-page guide, you'll find: 

  • What you should do before you even post the job
  • How you make them an offer they can't refuse
  • Resources for day one through the completion of month one
  • Checklist and sample hiring letters

Curious what's inside? Explore several chapters of the guide's content below before downloading it.

Simply browse and jump to different guide chapters using the table of contents.

Table of Contents:

1. So, You're Looking to Hire?

2. Before Job Posting

3. Employee or Contractor

4. The Big Offer

5. Before the First Day

6. The First Day

Download our guide to see the rest of the chapters!

7. The First Week

8. The First Month

9. Checklists and Sample Hiring Letters



Chapter 1: So, You're Looking to Hire

Take a moment to plan, then double check that plan.

Even though you’re probably ready to place that ad, stop. Before you get started, you should reference an established requisition checklist to ensure you don’t miss a thing. For example, does your ad cover everything you want it to, legal and otherwise? Do you need a full-time employee, a part-time flexible employee or a contractor. You must be hiring for the right job before you can even think about attracting the right person. It’s not as easy as you think.

Or maybe you’ve found the right person. You want to be sure you send them an offer letter that hits all the necessary points and sets the stage for a great relationship.

Did the right person accept your offer? Great! Now the real work begins. What will you cover during orientation?  Day one? Week one? Month one?

We’ve got you covered. Keep reading for samples, checklists and more. Rather than scouring the internet for disparate resources. We’ve compiled everything into one document with a list of additional help, should you
need it. Let’s get started with that job requisition checklist.



Chapter 2: Before Job Posting

Job Requisition Checklist

It’s time to hire another employee. Whether this hire will be working fulltime or hourly, a member of the management team or entry-level, follow these best practices to make sure you’re setting the new hire, your team and your company up for success. You’ll need to answer the following questions with a YES before you move forward.

• Are your hiring practices compliant with local, state, federal and/or
international regulations?
• Do you have a clearly thought out and documented onboarding
• Do you have a strategic plan for welcoming, training and evaluating
your new hire?

There are several variables to plan, manage and track when bringing on a new team member. On the next page you will find a checklist to assist you in defining an organized approach to your next onboarding.

There are a few things to consider and complete before posting the
opening on the job board or social media. See page 14 in the Appendix for
an example of a full job requisition checklist.

 Is the job description complete and up-to-date? Does it represent a clear and measurable understanding of what success in this position looks like? Is there room for flexibility for the right candidate? If so, what are the bottom line performance indicators this position must meet?

 Assuming you have incorporated this hire into your budget, did you include all expenses related to the hire? Consider:

 Cost of onboarding and training
 New equipment
 Office/work space
 Time off
 Travel or mileage expenses
 Uniforms or other incidentals

 Determine hiring roles and expectations. Who will interview candidates? Who will be involved in the hiring decision and what are their roles/responsibilities? Does everyone involved understand the bottom line performance criteria for the role?

 Create a new hire orientation to provide basic information on the company and available programs and services. It should give clarification and assist new employees in taking an active role in their organization. If you have a new hire orientation, review now to make sure it’s up to date.

 Set your process for training and onboarding your new hire before interviewing. This will keep things running smoothly and allow parties involved in the hiring to focus on finding that ideal candidate.



Chapter 3: Employee or Contractor

Working in office with laptopsThere are some instances when you feel you may need a contractor rather than a permanent, full-time employee. You might want to hire for a certain project or for a temporary position. First, be sure you read up on the regulations. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) administers Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and other federal antidiscrimination laws which generally protect “employees,” as opposed to independent contractors or other non-employees.

Whether an employer-employee relationship exists (or will exist) depends on specific facts, including whether the employer controls the means and manner of an employee's work performance. The EEOC lists 16 factors for distinguishing between an employee and an independent contractor. The status of an employee could be established even if only some criteria are met. The EEOC stresses that these factors are non-exhaustive and other
circumstances might influence a given assessment.

Answering “Yes” to some or all of the following items generally indicates that the worker must be classified as an employee as opposed to an independent contractor:

 The employer has the right to control when, where and how the worker performs
the job.

 The work does not require a high level of skill or expertise.

 The employer furnishes the tools, materials and equipment.

 The work is performed on the employer’s premises.

 There is a continuing relationship between the worker and the employer.

 The employer has the right to assign additional projects to the worker.

 The employer sets the hours of work and the duration of the job.

 The worker is paid by the hour, week or month rather than the agreed cost of
performing a particular job.

 The worker does not hire and pay assistants.

 The work performed by the worker is part of the regular business of the employer.

 The employer is in business.

 The worker is not engaged in his/her own distinct occupation or business.

 The employer provides the worker with benefits such as insurance, leave or
workers’ compensation.

 The worker is considered an employee of the employer for tax purposes
(withholding federal, state and Social Security taxes).

 The employer can discharge the worker.

 The worker and the employer believe that they are creating an employeremployee relationship.



Chapter 4: The Big Offer

handshake-2056023_1920So, you found the right candidate. Now what?

Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

What should your offer entail? How detailed must it be? Start by customizing the following sample offer letter. Once your company settles on the basic format, you can tailor each letter and reuse it for all of your

The sample letter contains a contingency clause, meaning that if the employee doesn’t meet a certain qualification, the offer is off the table. In the sample letter, the contingency clause refers to a background check. The sample also refers to “at will” employment. Check your state laws to determine whether or not you’re in an “at will” state and customize the letter accordingly.

Sample Hiring Letter

[City, State ZIP]

Dear [Employee],

On behalf of [Company], I am pleased to offer you a position as [Title]. If you decide to join us, the terms of your employment will be as such:

Responsibilities will include but not limited to: [Responsibilities]
Reports to: [Name, Title]
Monthly Salary or Hourly Wage: $[amount]
Employment Classification: [Full-time/Part-time] and [Exempt/Non-Exempt]

You will report to [Manager] in the [Department]. We would like you to start work on [Date]. A summary of your benefits is enclosed with this letter. If you have any questions, please contact [Name] in [Department].

The Company is excited about your joining and looks forward to a beneficial and productive relationship. Nevertheless, you should be aware that your employment with the Company is for no specified period and constitutes at will employment. As a result, you are free to resign at any time, for any reason or for no reason. Similarly, the Company is free to conclude its employment relationship with you at any time, with or without cause, and with or without notice. We request that, in the event of resignation, you give the Company at least two
weeks’ notice.

The Company reserves the right to conduct background investigations and/or reference checks on all of its potential employees. Your job offer, therefore, is contingent upon a clearance of such a background investigation and/or reference check, if any. [Add if relevant: The offer described above is contingent upon the results of your drug screening.]

For purposes of federal immigration law, you will be required to provide to the Company documentary evidence of your identity and eligibility for employment in the United States. As a Company employee, you will be expected to abide by the Company's rules and standards. Specifically, you will be asked to sign an acknowledgment that you have read and that you understand the Company's rules of conduct which are included in the Company

Your employment is also contingent upon the following document(s) being completed, signed and returned to [Name] on your first day of work:

[Please list any other required forms or documents.]

To accept the Company's offer, please sign and date this letter in the space provided below. A duplicate original is enclosed for your records. This letter, along with any agreements relating to proprietary rights between you and the Company, set forth the terms of your employment with the Company and supersede any prior representations or agreements including, but not limited to, any representations made during your recruitment, interviews or preemployment negotiations, whether written or oral. This letter, including but not limited to its at will employment provision, may not be modified or amended except by a written agreement signed by the President of the Company and you. This offer of employment will terminate if it is not accepted, signed and returned by [date].

We look forward to hearing from you about this offer. Please indicate your acceptance of our
offer by signing below and returning a copy of the letter, with your original signature, to me
no later than [date].

[Company Representative Signature]

I accept/decline (please circle one) [Company’s] offer of employment. I understand that my
employment with [Company] is considered “at will,” meaning that either the company or I
may terminate this employment relationship at any time with or without cause or notice.
Signature: ________________________________________________________________
Name (print): _____________________________________ Date: ___________________



Chapter 5: Before the First Day

Congratulations! Your offer was accepted and you’re ready for day one with your new employee.
Before that fateful day, be sure you’re ready to:

1. Create a welcoming environment for your new hire.
2. Have a scheduled process so no important details or documents are missed.
3. Set your new hire and their new team up for success.

Use the following checklist to ensure a smooth first day. For best results, take care of these items as soon as possible after the hiring is made official.

 Confirm work start date, work schedule and salary with your new hire. Be sure all relevant parties (HR, payroll, team leaders, the employee’s new coworkers) also have the information they need.

 Schedule training and onboarding activities. Get a commitment from team members who will be training prior to the employee’s start - it shows value to your new hire and team members who will be doing the hiring.

 Prepare employment-related documentation. Use electronic onboarding so employees can access documents before day one or assemble a packet with the employee’s job description, an employee contact list, org chart and other valuable department/company information.

 Prepare work space. Order/configure equipment. Set up access to required technology.

 Set up email account. Also, be sure the new hire is added to relevant email lists and common drives.

 Order keys or key cards and arrange for parking and other incidentals.

 Send a notice out to your company letting them know about your new hire. Include a few details about his/her background.

 Identify who will take the new hire to lunch on their first day.



Chapter 6: The First Day

Based on the preparations in the checklist on the previous page, your new hire should be positioned for a smooth first day. Your team should also feel prepared and know exactly what is expected of them. The
actual first day should focus on:

1. Making the new employee feel welcome and prepared.

2. Understanding of the position and performance expectations.

3. Integration with the team.

See page A-2 in the Appendix for a complete New Employee Orientation Checklist.

In the meantime, be sure to complete the following on day one.

 Complete new hire documents using an online onboarding system or be sure
all paperwork is complete.

 Review hours of work. Explain policies and procedures for overtime, use of vacation and sick time, holidays, etc. Explain any flexible work policies or procedures if applicable.

 Review schedule for the next week or two. Let the new hire know who they will be working with during training and who will be taking him/her to lunch.

 Introduce the new hire to immediate team members.

 Provide an overview of the company (organizational structure, mission, vision, etc.). Describe how the employee’s role fits into the bigger picture.

 Review job description. Outline the duties and expectations. Be sure to include how success will be measured and when/how the employee can expect to receive feedback.

 Provide the employee with access keys or codes to work areas and/or technology.

 Provide a tour of the office(s)/location. Include any parking information, access to dining facilities/restaurants and other relevant information.

 Review office procedures such as time tracking, expense reporting, etc.

 Check in with the new hire and team throughout the day.


Onboarding Seasonal Employees?

Check out our eBook series for tips and best practices

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How Best to Manage Seasonal Employees Handbook is a two-part eBook series our experts created to help guide you through the seasonal employment process from start to finish. You’ll learn best practices for managing seasonal employees and how to create a solid plan you can use year after year.

Topics covered include:

  • Determining employment status & tax responsibilities
  • Recruiting & onboarding
  • Seasonal employment law compliance
  • Managing the day-to-day of seasonal workers
  • Building next seasons' workforce


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