Increasing competitiveness in the employee recruitment space means hiring managers must act decisively and use accurate and objective strategies to make timely connections with top talent.

By some estimates, only 10 percent of the available candidate pool are high-level performers, and they get scooped up quickly. Finding unbiased techniques to identify the best prospects ahead of competitors is critical. In this article, we discuss strategies to hone your approach to candidate evaluation in order to identify the highest performers available.

Assess Personality First

Using what is referred to as the Big Five dimensions of personality—Conscientiousness, Openness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Emotional Stability—can help determine whether candidates fit into the role an employer is trying to fill.

Personality tests that are founded on the Big Five and designed to evaluate a candidate’s potential performance in the workplace can help hiring managers put together the puzzle pieces before engaging a prospect. By administering these tests early, it can prevent time and resources from being squandered on interviews, reference checks, and resume reviews for candidates who are not an optimal person-job fit.

Beware Red Flags

The following candidate red flags signal to employers that a job seeker is likely not in the top 10 percent of prospects. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. With quality candidates being hired quickly in this competitive environment, it may be difficult not to cut corners while filling open positions. Ignoring red flags, however, presents significant disadvantages to a hiring manager, so caution should be used whenever possible.

Red Flag #1: Job Hopping
Outside of the first few years of a prospect’s career, leaving high-performing companies after fewer than two years or working at four or more companies in 10 years can be a sign that a job seeker is not a top performer.

Red Flag #2: Non-advancement and Lateral Moves
An employee who doesn’t advance during their tenure at their current job is probably not one of the company’s top performers. The same is true of candidates who move from company to company, exchanging one position for another at the same level with the location being the only change.

Red Flag #3: Working for a Failing Company
Unless hired to help a troubled company regain traction, candidates who have accepted positions at poor-performing companies are usually not a good bet. Top performers, by contrast, typically have a number of options to consider at industry-leading firms and would carefully select an employer that matches their value.

Ask Employees for Referrals

Asking current employees to sift through their contacts and refer high-quality prospects is a cost-effective way to identify talent. By one estimate, 85% of people currently employed are open to competing job offers. Though they might not actively be seeking a new workplace and therefore not entering your candidate pool through typical means, they may be open to a job change when connected to you through an existing employee.

Employee referral programs are not only inexpensive, research shows employee referrals can yield quality hires who are often better performers that are also less likely to result in a turnover. A strong employee referral program can also reduce the time it takes to hire an employee through traditional processes.

Don’t Stay Analog in a Digital World

Today’s job seekers often start—and sometimes remain—in the digital space throughout their entire employment quest. Companies that want to find the best candidates have to go where the candidates are, and increasingly, that is the digital space.

One estimate indicates that 79% of candidates use social media to identify opportunities and interact with prospective employers. Another estimate suggests that using video in a job posting increases applications 34%.

Further, many companies have taken to virtual recruitment for all steps in the process, from sourcing candidates to conducting their interviews via video call. In order to keep the pipeline of prospective high-performers full, companies must evolve and stay connected with the digital candidate pool.

No Silver Bullets, Only Solid Strategies

In the fast-paced and competitive world of employee recruitment, getting as much objective information as possible, as fast as possible is crucial. Using the approaches above, such as tests that measure personality traits and how they relate to specific jobs, developing hiring programs, finding innovative candidate sourcing techniques, and staying in touch with where job seekers go to find their career homes will help hiring managers keep pace with their company’s hiring needs.

There is no silver bullet for hiring high-performing employees, but a solid, multi-step strategy will prove valuable in finding the right person for the job.