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We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal. It sets the tone for the rest of the day, and without it, we lack the kick we need to get to off to a good start.

The same can be said of the hiring process. The first step can and should be one of the most important. In order to have a good start, you need to have an understanding of where you want to end: getting the right person in the position. Beyond the basic requirements, what sort of qualifications does the ideal candidate have? Are there questions your recruiters and sourcers should be asking at the beginning to make your job at the end easier?

The first steps to success: One of the most important things you should do is to have a meeting (in person or on the phone) with your recruiter/sourcer. Prior to that meeting, make sure they have a copy of the job description and time to read through it. Be open to suggestions to modifying the job description if it will yield better results. Be clear about basic requirements and what other characteristics you want in your ideal candidates. Is there some education prerequisite you might be willing to compromise in lieu of extra experience? Are you willing to accept someone trainable, or do you want someone trained? Allow the recruiter to ask questions (and they will). Perhaps have the recruiter source a few resumes and present them to you so the recruiter can see if they are on the right track.

Initial conversation: You also need to decide how much information you want in that initial conversation. It would be beneficial to everyone if they have all the particulars available upfront, including general responsibilities and expectations of the position (leaving more detailed parts for the interview) and information on salary, hours and location. Yes, talk about salary upfront. If you don’t have an exact number, at least have a range available. At the end of the day, we all need a paycheck. If the salary is not feasible for the candidate and that is going to be a deciding factor, it is far better to filter out someone like that at the beginning of the process rather than at the end. It also ensures that whoever is sent to you for an interview knows the basics of the position, and your valuable time can be spent discussing specifics, company culture and how to move forward.

Why this approach might be difficult: In turning over this important step to the recruiter, you give up some of the control in the process. You need not worry, though; you still have the final say about who gets hired and who gets passed over. Furthermore, don’t forget that both you and the recruiter have the same goal: to fill the position with the best person possible as quickly as possible. Any recruiter worth their salt will want you to be happy with the end result. With all the information available in the beginning steps, it can help make the latter steps that much smoother.

Something else to consider: Once you make the process, it is not written in stone. If there is something you find is or isn’t working, the first step can be adjusted by giving the recruiters some feedback. Recruiters understand the importance of feedback as it helps them do their job better and more effectively.

In summary, make the first step of your hiring process an important one. Communicate with your recruiters about which qualifications are necessary and which are more fluid. Give feedback to hone the process. All of these things can help have a smoother process from start to finish and ensure you hire the best people for your organization.

By JoAnna Tumminello | People Science Talent Advisor