THE BLOG
10/26/2012 02:22 pm ET Updated Dec 26, 2012

4 Ways to Fill Your Open Positions Now

With the holiday season right around the corner, the sentiment is shifting fast to wrapping up the year on a merry note. However, this is also that time of the year when unfinished projects can transform into the most stressful pending items on your to-do list. Finding the right people for open positions you need to fill ASAP at your organization could certainly be one such critical and unfinished task.

While the unemployment level has shrunk to a three-year low of 7.8 percent, the skills gap seems to be ever-widening. Every published position pulls in an average of 118 applicants, yet only 17 percent of hiring managers say job seekers have skills and traits relevant to their company. This means a lot of time is wasted. With the holidays fast approaching, now is the time for your company to find talented candidates and fill those open positions -- before Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas vacations dwindle your workforce and applicant pool.

Here are a few tips to streamline your hiring process and get the right people on board today.

Create fixed deadlines with incentives
If you want your position filled by the end of November, you have some work to do. Create a fixed deadline and let your hiring team know the end to your candidate search is set in stone. Sweeten the task by putting the right incentives and rewards in place for those who help with the process. This will motivate your team to start turning over every rock in order to find and hire the best candidates, instead of waiting patiently for the right person to apply.

Your team will need to tap into their networks as well as reach out to connections on social media platforms, where most talent is typically hanging out and sharing knowledge and advice online. They will use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to get your positions out in front of the right audience of job seekers. Instead of passively waiting for good candidates to find out about your company's open positions, fixed deadlines and incentives will motivate and mobilize your team to get active and start developing a talent pipeline you can use to fill open positions by your hard cutoff date.

Focus on the best candidate pools
Take advantage of your recruitment data and analytics to focus your efforts on the online destinations where you can reach the best contenders.

Social media recruitment platforms can provide detailed analytics to show how candidates are discovering your jobs and which online destinations are bringing in the most candidates. This will allow you to focus on only the most effective sources of hire in your recruitment efforts for that particular position. For instance, maybe all your best candidates are coming from a specific source. When you are able to easily identify the most effective sources, whether specific job boards or social platforms, you can allocate more effort to marketing your job on these outlets instead of wasting time on channels that are ineffective in reaching your target audience.

While every hiring destination has the potential to provide you with one or two good candidates, these places can also inundate you with candidates who are not a good match for your open positions. Since you do not have time to screen through piles upon piles of unqualified resumes, remove the ineffective sources from your talent search and focus instead on the outlets providing the best results.

By cutting out the noise, you can effectively streamline the hiring process for your team and allow everyone to focus on the best candidates. This can help you beat the holiday rush and help fill those open positions fast.

Design a contest to hire the best
Your hiring methods can often benefit from looking outside the box for great ideas and by implementing these effectively. If you are looking for a certain skill set, a contest could be the quickest way to find the most skilled candidate from a large pool of enthusiastic participants. From companies looking to hire tech wizards to those searching for communication specialists, hiring competitions have been used quite effectively by some organizations to find great people.

Recently, online retailer SeatGeek put together a challenge for those looking to nab a director of communications job. Candidates had to take a set of numbers and turn them into an interesting and entertaining blog post. This is a good example of how turning your candidate search into a contest can shorten your hunt. If you design the contest centered around job-specific skills, you can quickly and easily determine the quality of a candidate's work and get a good sense for their ability to perform in your company's work environment.

A candidate can wow you with words in an interview, but once they show up for the job, you may find their words were merely hot air. By setting up a contest around job-related skills, you are encouraging candidates to show off what they can do in a more concrete and measurable way. Candidates with the right stuff can be quickly progressed forward in the interview process, while you avoid spending time with candidates who are not able to make the cut.

Make the offer fast
Once you've found great talent, do not hesitate to quickly make a competitive offer. It is entirely possible other companies are currently in the process of wooing your top talent, so you cannot afford to drag your feet. A fast offer is extremely important to give your hiring process closure and make sure you acquire the top talent before the holidays and before your competition does.

The holidays are a great time of the year, but the family gatherings and extended vacations can also play havoc with your hiring schedule. Streamline your hiring process now and fill those critical positions fast before the holidays take over and further activity switches off for the rest of the year.

What are some ways your company would use to hire faster before the holidays? Share in the comments!