Hourly hiring has never been more like a sport – competition for talent is more intense than ever, and hiring managers are sweating it out worried that someone else will beat them to every all-star employee.

And that’s because they have so many paper applications to sort through right now, with unemployment and turnover rates being what they are, and no clear, quick way to identify who’s going to be a star performer. So for the most part, it’s a level playing field.

That is, until you show up with a game-winning online hiring strategy.

In the competition for talent, winning is everything. Signing front-line employees who offer exceptional customer service and who grow your fan base, well, that’s the kind of excitement that energizes everyone inside and outside of the organization. Profits soar, and job satisfaction levels go through the roof.

Let’s face it, winning is a whole lot of fun. Having a deep bench – a full roster of people who can be counted on when life happens, bringing with it unexpected scheduling issues and staff turnover – is the hallmark of a game-winning online hiring strategy. Those with a deep bench are loving life.

Here are some things you can do to give yourself a sporting chance at winning the competition for talent:

  • Think try outs, not applications. Transitioning your postings over to a niche job board will make it feel and function like you have people trying out for your open hourly positions. Job seekers applying through niche job boards are two times higher in quality than employees attracted through general job boards – and eight times the quality of hires made through traditional newspaper ads, according to a Direct Employers Association Recruiting Trends Survey. Have only the best people competing for your jobs.
  • Identify top talent. Online sourcing services featuring assessments recognize not only the most capable but the best suited candidates and help draw them out of the applicant pool. Identifying which candidates exemplify desirable characteristics goes a long way toward putting people in positions that are right for them. And people in right-fit positions tend to work harder, serve customers better and stay longer.
  • Incorporate up-front screenings. Screenings (like background checks) ensure that only the most reliable and reputable candidates are allowed to begin work and that they will perform as expected. Thoroughly checking a desirable candidate’s qualifications, work history and criminal background within a matter of hours is ideal. When you keep desirable candidates in a holding pattern while you jump through administrative hoops, chances are they will end up landing somewhere else. And if they don’t check out after all that time, you’ve just lost serious ground.
  • Respond quickly and hire them fast. According to Snagajob research, 56 percent of hourly job seekers expect to hear something (anything) back from employers within 48 hours of submitting their applications. Additionally, our findings have shown that 37 percent of hourly job seekers report that getting hired quickly is the most important factor when looking for a job.
  • Once you’ve got great employees, keep them! Find ways to involve them with their team building, work, growth and community. The Conference Board found highly engaged employees outperform their disengaged colleagues by 20 to 28 percent and average 27 percent less absenteeism. Identifying on the front end of the hiring process who’s most likely to be engaged goes a long way, but not all the way. Anything you spend to engage your employees after they’re hired will lower your turnover costs.
  • Then flaunt your low turnover. Employee loyalty is one of the most appealing things to a job seeker because it shows yours is a great place to work.

Beat other hiring managers to every advantageous hire and win the race for customers. Go, fight, win!