When it comes to hiring top talent, is your company its own worst enemy? If outdated hiring protocol is causing unnecessary delays in your hiring process, you could be missing out on your first choice hires.

The second quarter in 2017 is on pace to be the strongest US hiring market in ten years. In this candidate-driven market, top candidates are receiving multiple, competitive offers from companies that aren’t afraid to move quickly to lock down their first choice.

Recently, several hiring managers have reached out to me and expressed frustration that they keep missing out on top hires. They felt “outmaneuvered” by the competitive market. As we dug deeper into their hiring processes, however, it became clear that it was the process itself that was exacerbating the problem by impeding, rather than facilitating, talent acquisition.

Currently, I am working with a technology firm that has a best-in-class recruitment process. The company’s leadership understands top talent won’t wait around forever for an offer. They’ve found a balance between maintaining compliance standards while also moving quickly and efficiently.

Ready to streamline your internal hiring process? Keep these best practices used by my client in mind.

1. Don’t let compliance slow you down– run compliance concurrently.
Within my first few weeks of working with this client, we placed two managers. I had submitted those candidates to other companies who didn’t even send me feedback on them in the time it took my new client to make offers.

How does my client manage to move so fast? They cut out extra layers of approval and procedures. At most companies, candidates must pass through an online application portal and an HR screen before they come into contact with the hiring manager. My new client allows me to send candidates directly to the hiring manager, saving days of internal back-and-forth. The hiring manager stays in constant contact with me throughout the process. The company still maintains a robust HR compliance process, but this process happens concurrently in the background so it does not impede the interview schedule.

2. Empower your team members to prioritize hiring the right talent, even if a position doesn’t exist yet.
Some companies require as many as a dozen people to sign off on a new hire. For an executive leadership position or very senior role, this approval process may be unavoidable. However, for mid-level positions, requiring multiple approvals can do more harm than good. It’s tough for professionals with busy schedules to find the time to meet with a potential new hire and provide meaningful, timely feedback. Consequently, the more people who need to sign off, the longer the process will take.

My client is able to move quickly because they empower hiring managers to make decisions with as few layers of approval as possible. For example, the client only needed one phone interview and one on-site interview before making the decision to hire both managerial candidates I recruited.

My client also empowers their hiring managers to hire talent who will benefit the company, even if this means creating a new position for this talent. Recently, I presented the client with a third candidate option. While she wasn’t the right fit for the management positions, the client liked her so much they wanted to create a role just for her– and moved quickly to bring her on board. They asked if she was still interested in the company on a Friday. She was considering another offer, and also had to leave the state for work the following Monday afternoon. My client brought her in for an interview first thing Monday morning and made her an offer that afternoon.

3. Make offers tailored to the candidate’s needs.
Making an offer quickly is half the battle – the other half is making an offer that the candidate can’t refuse. My client offers candidates restricted stock options at a manager level, which is very uncommon in the industry. This helps my client stand out against the competition, helps candidates feel invested in the success of the business, and helps with long-term retention. My client will also do whatever they can to eliminate barriers to offer acceptance. For example, one candidate would have owed her current employer $5,000 if she left, so my client gave her $20,000 in restricted stock options to more than compensate her. My client makes it easy to say yes to their offer, and candidates do.

4. Sell your strengths.
My client doesn’t just offer extremely competitive compensation. They also do a great job of selling other benefits they can offer to a candidate. Throughout the interview and onboarding process, they detail growth and development opportunities, including special assignments to rotational programs. They understand that they need to sell the candidate on a future at the company, not just the role they are hiring for at the moment.

My client succeeds at talent recruitment because they’ve created a company culture where hiring great talent is everyone’s priority– and they have the policies and protocol in place to support this. From the executive leadership to the hiring manager to the compliance team, everyone works together to achieve this goal. In today’s competitive market, this shared commitment can make the difference between closing an exceptional first-choice hire or settling for a less-than-perfect alternative.