First quarter hiring projections for IT professionals in 2016 is expected to be strong. Many of the most sought after skill sets, including Data Scientists, Security Engineers, and Software Developers have close to zero unemployment. What does that mean for you?

This means you will be fortunate to get one or two hireable resources presented to you by an outside staffing partner or HR (assuming they understand your hiring needs). If you are engaging with the right candidates, it is highly recommended that you move swiftly through the hiring process. Be thorough in your assessment, but do so in a timely manner. The alternative could be very costly.

Many hiring managers frequently make the mistake of trying to interview each and every candidate presented to them.

Trying to interview a handful of candidates can unnecessarily add weeks to the interview process. The best candidates usually have multiple offers. By the time you go back to the first candidate you interviewed, chances are your opportunity to make an offer has passed.

Your team has no choice but to go back to the drawing board in search of the right candidate while adding several more weeks of interviewing time. Too much pressure against time can cause you to hire simply because you need to, not because the candidate is the best fit. You don’t want to be in that position because you typically hire in desperate mode, resulting in underperforming resources or even worse, you turn the resource over within a couple of weeks.

Don’t put your team in a terrible position.

Here are 6 practical and easy tips to hire the best candidate the first time:

1. Prepare well

Don’t roll into the interview process without a revised and precise role description. Working out the kinks and practicing on the first one or two candidates could mean missing out on the best resource of the bunch. The best staffing partners will help you revise the role description during a qualification conversation. This can save you time and ensure expectations are aligned with the current job market.

2. Make sure all hiring authorities are on the same page

Many times, there are multiple screeners, influencers, and decision-makers in the hiring process. It is rare that all parties come to a consensus on a candidate. This can be avoided by gathering all hiring participants together on the qualifying call or sharing the summary of the call and getting sign off upfront from all parties.

You would be amazed how many times we go through this process only to determine that one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing. Make sure all steps of the interview process are defined and communicated up-front.

3. Define all steps of the process

It is critical to define all steps in the interview process and communicate to all involved parties. Passive candidates are sometimes unwilling to continue interviewing if they are not aware of all the steps up-front.

4. Have confidence and conviction in your decision

the best way to make a confident decision is by deciding ahead of time what would be considered a hireable candidate and writing it down. Try to limit the criteria to the 2-5 most impactful attributes of the candidate. Consider cultural fit, business skill and technical skill. It is easy to fall in love with candidates but that does not necessarily mean they are the best fit for your job.

5. Keep momentum

Beware of the weekend and holiday traps. If you are leaning towards a candidate on Thursday or Friday, make the decision and inform the candidate. If the candidate does not have feedback, they will use the weekend or holiday to draw their own conclusion and even start to drift emotionally. Once you lose a candidate emotionally, it is extremely difficult to win them over again.

6. Partner with the right staffing firms

Many staffing firms present similar value propositions and promises. Only a select group actually delivers and can quantify their results to you. Ask them what their fill rate has been over the last quarter and watch their confidence level. You will know if they are working with conviction or merely selling smoke and mirrors. The right staffing partners will simplify the hiring process, result in less effort to hire, faster time to hire (not time to submit a resume, which many firms boast), and the overall highest quality resources.