Though my company currently has a hiring freeze in place, there are indications that they will loosen up the IT purse strings soon, and I will be able to hire some new staff. I am trying to figure out how I can get the best people for the job as soon as I can without making any new hire mistakes. Any suggestions?

Hiring is a favorite management topic because I believe hiring good people is one of the most important tasks that a manager can do. No matter what your company does, you will do it better with effective, productive people. So, you’re right—you don’t want to hire a single bozo.

While you are waiting for the green light, do yourself and your company a favor and figure out how much it costs your company when you make a bad hire. Many managers have never done this, and it can really help in focusing on finding first-rate employees.

I have read estimates that bad employees can cost a company at least $100,000 a year. First of all, the salary costs are a loss as the employee is not productive, plus you also lose money because everyone around the bad employee is forced to take up the slack. Productivity overall begins to slide as colleagues become frustrated because they’re working with a bozo.

A bad hire can cost the company good talent as well—bad employees can drive good employees out the door.

I am relating these cautionary tales because you said you’d like to get new employees as quickly as you can. And while I understand your excitement, you need to avoid being in too much of a hurry during the hiring process. A rushed approach is one of the biggest reasons managers hire the wrong people.

This is the prime time to carefully consider the type of skills and job roles you need in your organization. Forget about the positions that you had to eliminate in the last round of layoffs. That’s all history.

If you do create a new job, you can work on getting new job descriptions written. They’re useful to have even if your company’s HR department doesn’t require them. Make them as detailed as you can because details will help you spot the best person for the job.

After you’ve got all this kind of prep work completed, then map out your strategy for publicizing the jobs available. With so many IT people out of work, placing an ad somewhere will open the floodgates and you’ll be drowning in resumes.

What you want to do is find a way to get as many highly qualified candidates as you can in a short period of time. You should also establish time frames for the job search—for example, set aside two weeks for getting and receiving resumes, another two weeks for interviews and due diligence. You’d repeat the cycle as necessary until you find your new employees. Don’t set an arbitrary date for when you need someone; you need to find the best people for the job and that make take some time.

One of the best ways to recruit top talent is to have current outstanding employees bring them to your attention. Let the top guns know you are hiring and you would like them to get the word out to their networks. Provide the skills and values you’re seeking in candidates so they can focus on finding the right people.

If your company has an established arrangement with a recruiting firm, then you can pre-explore that option while awaiting the hiring go-ahead. Talk with them and get familiar with their processes and approaches.

Some companies use testing and background checks routinely as part of the hiring process. If your company does not customarily do this, then you’re going to have to find a way to do independent verification of resumes, as well as some background checks. Don’t skip this step even though it’s going to cost you some money—it’s money well spent.

HireRight, a company that conducts applicant background checks and verifies resume information, tracks trends and statistics in hiring. Some recent highlighted statistics are worrisome: 34 percent of all application forms contain outright lies about experience, education, and ability to perform essential functions on the job, and as many as 30 percent of job seekers exaggerate accomplishments. About 10 percent of job applications seriously misrepresent their backgrounds.

You want productive, skilled workers—and you don’t want to waste any valuable time with potential candidates who fall into one of HireRight’s statistical groups. By doing your prep work, and getting things in order, you’ll be well prepared to initiate and conduct a thorough, and hopefully rewarding, hiring effort.