A company’s hiring process, like everything in the business world, needs to be efficient.

But most of the time, getting quality employees doesn’t come cheap and it’s a process that easily can be bogged down by time-wasting practices.

Fortunately, there are ways to find reliable prospective employees while minimizing cost and time. Here are effective approaches that not only get the best talent in the door, but also help you save big time.

Boost Quality Hiring with ERP

Having an Employee Referral Program (ERP) is one of the cheapest ways to get reliable people to work for your company.

You still might need to advertise jobs, but it brings in a pool of candidates that might have not founds you otherwise. Basically, this is using word of mouth to share the news of your job opening.

People who already work for you tend to refer people with similar work ethic. If you have high-quality employees, you will probably receive referrals of the same caliber. You can save yourself time and money by using fewer recruitment sources, and wading through fewer job applicants that just don’t fit the bill. By hiring people who can already get along with your current staff, you also have a head start on building good team chemistry.

Employees who are hired through referrals tend to stay with the company longer than other candidates. Unlike other recruiting methods, which tend to draw only active job seekers, ERPs offer access to passive job seekers — qualified people who have not signaled a willingness to move but who might under the right circumstances when encouraged by a friend or a trusted colleague.

ERP is also great for your staff. They value the rewards they can earn, but more importantly, they might feel more engaged with a company that encourages their input and recognizes their contribution. Because they would have a vested interest in the applicant’s ultimate success, employees also make an extra effort to recommend only the most promising candidates for a position.

Studies show that employee referrals are among the most qualified, most quickly hired and the most easily retained candidates overall. Why not double down on your employee referral program or integrate ERP with your other recruiting initiatives? A 2010 CareerBuilder survey has found that 48 percent of those surveyed said cash bonuses would further motivate them to participate in their company’s referral program.

Initiate Online Presence with Websites and Online Ads

Companies realize that handing out a promo product such as business cards, mugs and pens is just too expensive while giving unsatisfactory results.

Online advertising, however, is much less expensive and reaches a much wider audience. It is more diverse than conventional advertising. You can employ video advertising, social network promotion, and email advertising all under the same campaign.

If you already grasped what the internet can offer in terms of advertising, it may be time to ask yourself if you’re appropriating the proper budget for it.

For example, if your business website doesn’t include information about careers in your company, add a page that does. Create a sense of what it’s like to work at your business by including photos and brief bios for team members. Explain your company culture and business mission.

It can also help to implement good external hiring tactics by targeting job search everywhere on the internet. For instance, if you’re looking for someone in a specific area, like New York, find a site that posts specifically about jobs in New York.

Go For Multiple Screening Processes

Remember that the goal of the hiring process is to get you the best people for the job. Yes, the sourcing phase is an important part of the hiring procedure. However, if you don’t have the capability to screen your applicants the right way, you have a smaller chance to get the best personnel.

Hiring the wrong person for the job, then having to terminate and replace them, is definitely a costly mistake for a small business.

At the screening stage, the role of the hiring team is to evaluate applicant’s qualifications and to subject them to intense scrutiny to determine which applicants are the most qualified for the position.

Once applicants begin to pour in, that team’s members can also start reviewing the applicant pool to determine if the recruitment activities have resulted to a sufficient number of qualified applicants for consideration, and if the pool is sufficiently diverse.

If the search committee determines that the applicant pool is acceptable, they proceed with the screening process. The screening process begins with the analysis of materials sent in response to the job posting. This part of the process is done to ensure that applicants have all the qualifications specified in the job posting.

You can also try using other screening techniques to weed out candidates before the actual interview. Have them fill out a detailed application and then do real on-the-job tasks such as writing marketing copy on the spot or taking a test. Also, develop challenging interview questions and use the same questions for all candidates, so you can be sure you’re comparing apples to apples.

Another effective hiring practice is to involve other tenured employees in your company in the interview process so that you can get more than one person’s opinion, and have job candidates meet your own team for them to get an idea on how they could fit culturally.

Susan Ranford contributed this blog post. She is the Community Outreach Coordinator for New York Jobs and an expert on job market trends, hiring, and business management. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance; to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them.