The costs associated with hiring a new employee can total nearly 20 percent of a yearly salary, according to a report issued by the Center for American Progress. That means that bringing in a new team member represents a considerable investment. And beyond financial concerns, your business also needs the best, most talented employees to succeed. That starts with a well-orchestrated hiring process. By checking the right boxes and knowing where to look, you can connect with the right individuals for your business.

Before you hold a single interview, there are a few key ways to better the odds of attracting the best candidates available. Take these steps early on during the hiring process to set your team up for future success:

Discuss with internal stakeholders
One of the most important steps in making sure any new hire is a successful one is to make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for. Talk with managers, administrators and other people who have an intimate relationship with your existing staff about what they find most valuable in a team member. At the same time, identify specific needs and build an understanding of the exact role this new person will fill. This way you can begin the hiring process with a more targeted approach. Work with an HR outsourcing partner to select performance metrics for existing employees who can also inform what you look for in a new team member.

Craft a strong job description
Although you do want to specify all expectations and the skills you wish to see in your new employee, you shouldn’t just list these ideas in a job description. As the job posting site ZipRecruiter found, the language you use can have a profound effect on the quantity and caliber of respondents you get. Something that is static or limiting won’t resonate with high-level applicants.

Write something that is dynamic. Beyond listing what you’re looking for, offer something enticing candidates. The most qualified potential employees want opportunities to grow and expand, and will overlook a description that doesn’t seem to fit that ambition. Show possible candidates that your organization is a great place to work and advance a career.

Get creative with where and how you post a job description.Get creative with where and how you post a job description.

Leverage multiple posting sites
Once you have an attractive job description, you want to make sure it’s seen by as many people as possible. That means getting online and getting creative about how and where you post. There are dozens of sites that specifically host job openings, but your social media channels can be helpful resources as well. Let your followers know that you’re hiring, and make sure the post is as alluring as the description itself.

Take the time to properly vet applicants
Taking the time to cross candidates off your list may take a bit of time, but because hiring the right employee is such a critical investment, this is nonetheless a key part of the process. As applicants start to pour in, create a list of individuals who may be worthy of an interview. Meanwhile, anyone who sends emails, resumes or cover letters with obvious spelling or factual errors should likely be excused.

A quick search online may also turn up helpful information. Inappropriate social media posts may indicate the applicant isn’t right for your organization. These candidates could also become a PR nightmare should you bring them on board. Get crafty with the vetting process so your business need not spend time interviewing candidates who aren’t up to par.

Start on the phone
For higher-level positions especially, you may want to have a few rounds of interviews, and using the phone or a video conferencing tool is an efficient and effective idea for a preliminary chat with a candidate.

Gather background information and more surface-level perspective early on so that an in-person interview focuses on more nuanced content. This is also an easy way to see how an applicant might speak with clients over the phone or how well the individual can think on his or her feet. Likewise, stakeholders who may not be part of an official interview can meet a candidate over the phone and have an opportunity to at least offer a bit of input.

A quick phone interview gives you a preliminary snapshot of a potential hire.A quick phone interview gives you a preliminary snapshot of a potential hire.

Ask for examples of past work
You may find yourself charmed by a candidate who is well-spoken over the phone, and certainly character and personality are an important part of the equation. You want to hire individuals who will fit in well with your office’s culture and that are pleasant and professional.

“You want to bring aboard the most results-oriented applicants.”

Whether you’re hiring someone for the mailroom or a potential executive, your business will be best served if you select polished, charismatic new employees.

That being said, you want to bring aboard the most results-oriented applicants available. Resumes can be loaded with fluff, and sometimes it pays to ask a candidate for further examples of high-quality work or accomplishments.

This step will depend on the nature of the position in question, but in any event, have a potential new hire email documents, data or descriptions of past experiences and projects that bespeak their promise as a possible employee for your business. Once you have this information in hand, you can reserve in-person interviews with only the most qualified and impressive candidates.

In Part II of this piece, we’ll explore ways to make this process as successful as possible and how to ensure that any new employee becomes a welcome and productive member of your team.