The battle for IT talent is increasingly competitive, as unemployment remains low and qualified tech candidates are in high demand. As the share of IT and IT-intensive jobs has rapidly increased in recent years – 19.5% from 2004 to 2017, compared to 2.4% for other jobs – the IT talent shortage has become a pressing concern for employers.

Despite this candidate-driven environment, many organizations still maintain a clunky and inefficient hiring process. Weeks or even months can crawl by when you combine a lengthy application screening, several interviews, and a final decision involving multiple managers. You may think you’re being thorough in order to hire the best candidate – but often, the opposite is true.

By the time you are ready to make an offer, the best candidates have already accepted positions at other companies. They are highly sought-after, and they won’t wait around for you if the hiring process drags out more than a week or two. Your company must streamline this hiring process if you want to snap up top talent before your competitors do. Follow these three tips for hiring smarter and faster.

Know what you’re looking for.

Before you start recruiting for an open position, take the time to define what you want in your ideal candidate and write a clear, detailed job description geared toward that person. Ask the team with the open position to write the description, avoiding generic overviews and focusing on what the actual day-to-day job entails. What qualities and skills will make someone successful in this role? What would the perfect candidate bring to the table? Take proactive steps to use inclusive language in your write-up.

Build a better interview.

Nothing drives top talent away faster than a neverending series of interviews. Don’t schedule four in-person interviews in the misguided belief that this will ensure a better hire. Figure out who absolutely needs to speak to the candidate and what you want to accomplish with each interview. For example, schedule an initial phone interview to screen for qualifications and background, then arrange an in-person interview with one or two people who will be managing or working directly with the new hire.

Follow a structured interview process, and incorporate assessments that help you see how a candidate would perform in the job or fit with your company’s culture, such as behavioral questions or work-sample tests.

Outsource recruitment, hiring, and onboarding.  

When managed internally, the hiring process is costly and time-consuming. Your employees are forced to divert their attention away from their main responsibilities and dedicate hours to sifting through resumes and interviewing candidates. Outsourcing the entire process to a partner with IT expertise saves your company time and money and facilitates fast, successful hires. Your team can focus on what they do best, and you will efficiently fill open positions with the best possible candidates.

Learn more about the benefits of York Solutions’ MS3 workforce development solution.