Most business owners know that developing an effective internal interview process can help them find great job candidates; they may be less aware that strong recruiting practices can save time and money. Defined processes for vetting candidates help companies minimize wasted interview hours and avoid the costs associated with making a bad hire.  Use these tips to make sure your internal recruiting strategies are the best they can be.

Craft questions ahead of time. Create and share a list of questions that each interviewer will ask. This will ensure you gather all the information you need, and will prevent team members from spending time asking redundant questions. Strive for a blend of fact-based and behavioral questions. For example, one interviewer might ask about the types of projects candidates spearheaded at their last job and another might explore their work style and management preferences.

Develop a shared understanding of the role. Have clear consensus about why the new person is needed and how he or she will be successful. What will the person in this position be expected to accomplish in the short, medium and long-term?  Create and circulate a list of the background, skills and behaviors a candidate will need to be effective in the role.

Assign an initial screener. Focus on eliminating poor candidates before you begin the interview process. Give an employee the job of looking at all prospects to identify the ones who are most qualified for the role. For example, if you’ve determined that the new hire will need an advanced degree, you can immediately disqualify those who don’t have one. Whittle away at the “have-nots” until the interview list represents the best of the lot.

Keep moving. Prepare your team to shift seamlessly to post-interview activities like checking references or arranging second interviews for leading candidates. This may sound simple, but many hiring managers lose momentum at this stage (which may be why many job candidates complain about the length of the hiring process). Create a checklist of to-dos with a point person and expected completion date for each item.

Prepare for the job offer. Hiring managers often report that job offers are routinely batted back and forth until both sides come to terms. Streamline this process by knowing exactly what you’re willing to spend in salary, benefits and signing bonuses, and what perks you can offer to close the deal.