Research Summary. Here are some key points about hiring associates in the United States:

  • In the United States, the median cost per hire an associate is $1,633.
  • It takes between 36 and 42 days to fill the average role in the US.
  • Human Resources use 15% of their expenses on recruitment on average.
  • On average, it takes around 12 weeks for a new associate to become settled and show total productivity levels at work.

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How Much Does it Cost to Hire an Associate

Hiring an associate comes with both the one-time cost per hire and ongoing costs. The cost of recruiting associates involves promoting the job and spending time conducting interviews. Ongoing costs include employee salary, training, benefits, insurance, and equipment. It is essential to consider the cost of associate recruiting as well the ongoing costs of maintaining the new employee.

The median annual salary for associates is $69,556 in the US. However, the cost of associate hiring can vary a lot depending on location. Additionally, hiring an associate for contract work or on a per-project basis typically costs between $16 and $67 an hour.

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How to hire an Associate, step by step

To hire an associate, you should create an ideal candidate profile, determine a budget, and post and promote your job. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to hire a associate:

  • Step 1: Identify your needs
  • Step 2: Create an ideal candidate profile
  • Step 3: Make a budget
  • Step 4: Writing an associate job description
  • Step 5: Post the job
  • Step 6: Interview process
  • Step 7: Send a job offer and onboard your new associate
  • Step 8: Go through the checklist for the hiring process

Identify Your Needs

The first step to find associates for hire is determining what type of worker you actually need. Certain roles might require a full-time employee, whereas others can be done by part-time workers or contractors.

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Before you hire an associate, you should also consider the ideal background you'd like them to have. For example, what industry or field they have experience in, what level of seniority or education the job requires, and how much it'll cost to hire a candidate that fits the bill.

This list provides information on the salaries of different associate roles.

Type Of AssociateDescriptionHourly Rate
AssociateRetail sales workers include both those who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and automobiles, (called retail salespersons) and those who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts (called parts salespersons). Both types of workers help customers find the products they want and process customers’ payments.$16-67

Create An Ideal Candidate Profile

Before creating an associate job description, imagine the ideal employee for this position and begin creating a profile. What skills do they have and what responsibilities do they have to be proficient in?

Here are some of the most common associate skills:

Common Skills:
  • Customer Service
  • Sales Floor
  • Patients
  • Cleanliness
  • Windows
  • HR
  • Customer Issues
  • Product Knowledge
  • POS
  • PowerPoint
  • Safety Standards
  • Stock Merchandise
  • Financial Statements
  • Pallet Jack
Check All Skills

Here is a list of common responsibilities that associates may be expected to fulfill:

  • Manage the sale of smoothies at different educational institutes while interacting with hundreds of students and ensuring their happiness and satisfaction.
  • Manage customer resolutions associate with flight reservations.
  • Lead the team by exemplify reliability through punctuality and personal integrity.
  • Help drive sales by providing excellent customer service in gourmet cheese, wine, beer, and coffee departments.
  • Utilize teamwork, communication, customer service, responsibility, and organizational skills.
  • Work according to ISO standards.
Check all Duties

Cultural fit is also an essential factor that you shouldn't overlook. Consider how your perfect associate will contribute to the team dynamic and help grow the team's culture in a positive way. If you can include a clear vision of this in your associate job description, it'll help attract candidates who are better suited for the position.

Most Common States For Associates In The US

Rank #State# Of Jobs% of PopulationAvg. Salary
3North Carolina11,435111%$49,152
4New Jersey11,003122%$69,901

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Make A Budget

Including a salary range in the job description is a good way to get more applicants. An associate salary can be affected by several factors, such as the location of the job, their level of experience, education and certifications, and the prestige of the employer. For example, the average salary for an associate in Wyoming may be lower than in New York, and an entry-level engineer typically earns less than a senior-level associate. Additionally, an associate with lots of experience in the field may command a higher salary as a result.

Updated March 16, 2023

Associate Salary Estimate


$33.44 hourly

Entry level Salary
$34,000 yearly

Associate Average Salary By Location

RankStateAvg. SalaryHourly RateJob Count
1District of Columbia$93,302$45115
2New York$90,902$44446

Associate Average Salary By Company

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Simpson Thacher & Bartlett$267,834$128.772
2Reed Smith$255,348$122.76
3Latham & Watkins$247,914$119.193
4Hughes Hubbard & Reed$246,455$118.49
5Sidley Austin$246,445$118.48
6Mayer Brown$246,388$118.46
7Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman$244,531$117.5618
8Fried Frank$243,628$117.13
9Kramer Levin$243,449$117.04
10Nixon Peabody$242,958$116.81
11Ropes & Gray$242,592$116.63
12K&L Gates$242,368$116.52
13Paul Hastings$242,342$116.51
14Boies Schiller Flexner$241,241$115.98
15Munger, Tolles & Olson$240,546$115.65
16Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton$240,234$115.50
18Alston & Bird$239,654$115.22
19Kirkland & Ellis$239,030$114.92

Writing an Associate Job Description

A good associate job description should include a few things:

  • Summary of the role
  • List of responsibilities
  • Required skills and experience
Including a salary range and the first name of the hiring manager is also appreciated by candidates. Here's an example of an associate job description:

Example of Full Job Description

We are looking for a Kitchen Associate to prepare delicious and famous sandwiches and meals. You will cook dishes that will delight our customers with their taste and timely delivery.

An excellent Kitchen Associate must be able to follow instructions in cooking and delivering well-prepared meals. They must be deft in moving around the kitchen and apt in multi-tasking. Experience is not required, as long as you are eager to learn, follow cooking procedures and standard food safety practices.
The goal is to help preserve and enhance our reputation so we can expand our clientele.

Set up workstations with all needed ingredients and cooking equipment
Prepare ingredients to use in cooking
Cook food in various utensils or grills
Check food while cooking.
Ensure great presentation
Keep a sanitized and orderly environment in the kitchen
Ensure all food and other items are stored properly
Check the quality of ingredients
Monitor stock in the kitchen
Additional Information
This job posting is for a position in a restaurant owned and operated by an independent franchisee, not McDonalds Corporation or McDonalds USA, LLC. This means the independent franchisee, and not McDonalds Corporation or McDonalds USA, LLC, is alone responsible for all employment-related matters in the restaurant including, among other things, setting any requirements for this job and all decisions concerning hiring, firing, discipline, supervisions, staffing, and scheduling. McDonalds Corporation or McDonalds USA, LLC will not receive a copy of any application you submit for this job posting and will have no control over whether you receive an interview and/or are ultimately hired, does not control and is not responsible for the employment policies and practices of independent franchisees, and does not employ independent franchisees employees. If you are hired for this job posting, the independent franchisee, and not McDonalds Corporation or McDonalds USA, LLC, will be your employer.

This job posting contains some general information about what it is like to work in a McDonalds restaurant, but is not a complete job description. People who work in a McDonalds restaurant perform a number of different tasks every day, and this posting does not list all of the essential functions of the job. Required qualifications: Legally authorized to work in the United States Preferred qualifications: 16 years or older

Post A Job

To find associates for your business, try out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Consider internal talent. One of the most important talent pools for any company is its current employees.
  • Ask for referrals. Reach out to friends, family members, and your current work to ask if they know any associates they would recommend.
  • Recruit at local colleges. Attend job fairs at local colleges to recruit entry-level associates with the right educational background.
  • Social media platforms. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have more than 3.5 billion users, and they're a great place for company branding and reaching potential job candidates.

To find associate candidates, you can consider the following options:

  • Post your job opening on Zippia or other job search websites.
  • Use niche websites that focus on engineering and technology jobs, such as salesjobs, salesheads,, sales trax.
  • Post your job on free job posting websites.

Interview Process

Recruiting associates involves bringing your A-game to the interview process. The first interview should introduce the company and the role to the candidate as much as they introduce their background experience and reasons for applying for the job. During later interviews, you can go into more detail about the technical details of the job and ask behavioral questions to gauge how they'd fit into your current company culture.

Don't forget to include a few questions that give a candidate chance to expand on their strengths in their own words. Asking about their special skills might reveal things you'd miss otherwise. At this point, candidates who are good enough can move on to the technical interview.

The right interview questions can help you assess a candidate's hard skills, behavioral intelligence, and soft skills.

Send A Job Offer And Onboard Your New Associate

Once you've found the associate candidate you'd like to hire, it's time to write an offer letter. This should include an explicit job offer that includes the salary, as well as the details of any other perks. Qualified candidates might be looking at multiple positions, so your offer needs to be competitive if you really like the candidate. Also, be prepared for a negotiation stage, as candidates may way want to tweak the details of your initial offer. Once you've settled on these details, you can draft a contract to formalize your agreement.

It's equally important to follow up with applicants who don't get the job with an email letting them know that the position has been filled.

To prepare for the new employee's start date, you can create an onboarding schedule and complete any necessary paperwork, such as employee action forms and onboarding documents like I-9 forms, benefits enrollment, and federal and state tax forms. Human Resources should also ensure that a new employee file is created.

Go Through The Checklist For The Hiring Process

  • Determine employee type (full-time, part-time, contractor, etc.)
  • Submit a job requisition form to the HR department
  • Define job responsibilities and requirements
  • Establish budget and timeline
  • Determine hiring decision makers for the role
  • Write job description
  • Post job on job boards, company website, etc.
  • Promote the job internally
  • Process applications through applicant tracking system
  • Review resumes and cover letters
  • Shortlist candidates for screening
  • Hold phone/virtual interview screening with first round of candidates
  • Conduct in-person interviews with top candidates from first round
  • Score candidates based on weighted criteria (e.g., experience, education, background, cultural fit, skill set, etc.)
  • Conduct background checks on top candidates
  • Check references of top candidates
  • Consult with HR and hiring decision makers on job offer specifics
  • Extend offer to top candidate(s)
  • Receive formal job offer acceptance and signed employment contract
  • Inform other candidates that the position has been filled
  • Set and communicate onboarding schedule to new hire(s)
  • Complete new hire paperwork (i9, benefits enrollment, tax forms, etc.)
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Hiring Associates FAQs

How Much Does A Good Associate Cost?

A good associate costs $33.44 an hour in the US. However, it can vary based on factors such as the associate experience, abilities, industry, and the specific requirements of your business.

What Are The Duties Of An Associate?

The duties of an associate are:
  • Manage the sale of smoothies at different educational institutes while interacting with hundreds of students and ensuring their happiness and satisfaction.
  • Manage customer resolutions associate with flight reservations.
  • Lead the team by exemplify reliability through punctuality and personal integrity.

Should I Hire An Associate With No Experience?

Yes, you should hire an associate with no experience. Hiring an entry-level associate with no experience offers versatility for your team. They may lack some qualifications, but are adaptable and have not yet formed problematic habits. However, more training may be required compared to experienced.

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