Hiring any position quickly generally means you’re not hiring the best. If your company’s hiring process is taking too long, but you don’t want to miss out on the best possible talent, it’s time to make some changes. Before you start the hiring process, think about exactly what you want and need from an employee before ever crafting the job description. The more clear your job description, the easier it will be to find the best employee for the job. Your business could spend an average of 20% of your employee’s salary to replace them when they leave. In an effort to manage costs and get good quality employees from the start, focus on these five key tips. #1. Build a Queue of Qualified Candidates If the second you start looking for talent is the second after your best employee just put in their notice, you’re behind the game. Highly qualified applicants look on their time, not yours. Yes, you may find someone who’s looking when you are, but the chances are slim. Building a queue of qualified candidates gives you a list of people to reach out to immediately when the next position opens up, cutting the amount of time you spend searching for them. For example, allow interested applicants to upload their resume from the career page on your website. Keep them on hand for when a position that matches their qualifications opens. Keep a list of interviewed applicants, along with notes from their interview. If they were an applicant you almost hired the last time the position was open, reach out to them when the position opens again. #2. Reach Out to a Staffing Firm During the average work week, there are more than three million Americans working for a staffing firm, and over the course of a year, more than 11 million Americans work for a staffing company. Staffing firms are in recruitment mode 24/7, so they can be selective with who they choose to recommend. This affords them the best talent pool, and they can fill the position for you quickly. The staffing agency takes information about the position you’re offering and what you’re looking for in a candidate, and sends one to you as soon as possible. If that employee doesn’t work out, they can send another one fairly quickly. Since the employee works for the staffing agency and not you, you’re not spending time onboarding a new employee until after you’ve seen them work. As an employer, you always have the option to extend a permanent position to a temporary hire from the staffing agency. On average, 35% of temporary employees from staffing agencies are offered permanent positions directly with the companies they worked for, and 66% of those employees accept the offer. #3. Leverage the Power of Social Media With more than ¾ (76%) of social job seekers finding their most recent job through Facebook, social media is hard to ignore as part of your recruiting effort. The key is to strike balance between the platforms you use, and to use them effectively to spread the word. While job seekers find Facebook as the most popular platform, 94% of recruiters turn to LinkedIn. Considering only 36% of job seekers use LinkedIn, there’s a disconnect between recruiters and job seekers. #4. Schedule Multiple Interviews on One Day Try getting multiple candidates together for a first-round group interview. This saves time and lets you see how the candidates behave in a group setting. From there, you can arrange one-on-one interviews with those you are most interested in. If and when possible, arrange those interviews for later the same day. This way, you’re not waiting weeks to move through the applicant pool before you make your final decision. Prepare your list of questions for the one-on-one interview ahead of time. Make sure they address key aspects of what you need from them, such as critical thinking skills, problem solving, etc. During the interviews: Pay attention to the applicant’s answer, rather than focusing on the next question. Ask follow-up questions if necessary. If the answers are not sufficient, rephrase the question. Take notes throughout the entire interview. Limit the interview to 20 to 30 minutes, to allow ample time for each applicant, but to move through the applicants fairly quickly. If an applicant sparks such interest to warrant more time, invite them back for a second one-on-one interview on a day when you have more time. #5. Use a Skills Test In certain positions, you have to see the person’s work to assess it. For writing/editing positions, or any position where a skill is demonstrable through testing, ask the candidate to take a test. Weed out the unqualified prospects before moving forward, and you’ll save a significant amount of time. Cooks generally undergo a skills test that involves a number of tests to gauge basic kitchen skills, though the tests vary depending on the kitchen. Typically, chef applicants are evaluated on knife cuts, searing, butchering, and other tasks required to be efficient in a restaurant kitchen. The skill test is necessary as applicants can look good on paper, have stellar references, and nail your initial interview, only to fall short when it comes to actually doing the job. Spending the extra time on the skills test in the beginning saves the hassle of spending time for on-the-job training, or replacing the hire after a short time. Outsourcing various tasks to contractors via platforms such as Odesk also gives access to an extensive list of skills tests. Though it’s up to the individual freelancer to take the skills tests, the tests and scores are displayed directly on the freelancer’s profile to help you gauge knowledge and talent alongside the rest of the portfolio. Searching through the tests also shows the number of qualified freelancers, to give you a starting point for your applicant search. Streamlining your company’s hiring process doesn’t mean sacrificing quality of talent. Relying on these techniques will not only help you move through the hiring process more quickly and efficiently, it will ensure you get the creme of the crop when you do make the hire. Images: “Photo of candidates waiting for a job interview/Shutterstock.com“ ______________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.