When you’re so maxed out at work, it’s hard to find time to recruit the employee whose help you so desperately need. Here’s how to get it done fast.

The good news: Your boss says you can finally hire the person you’ve desperately needed for a year. The bad news: Your days are jam-packed. You already have trouble keeping yourself afloat. When will you find time to recruit, interview and hire someone?

No matter how you approach the process, bringing on a new employee takes time. You’ve got a job description to write, paperwork to fill out for HR, resumes to sort through, interviews to conduct… And the longer the process takes, the longer you’ll struggle to get your real job done.

Is there an easy answer? Well, no. To hire the right person, you’ll have to invest time into the effort.

Still, you can make the process less painful by taking some simple steps.

1. Get organized

Hiring someone is a project. It involves a lot of steps, from posting the job, to sorting through the pile of resumes, to conducting interviews on the phone and in-person.

Then there’s all the coordination involved with other people: HR, your manager and the members of your team who’ll help interview candidates. If you don’t get organized at the beginning, the recruiting process will quickly become much more difficult than it needs to be.

Treat your recruitment drive as you would any of your other projects at work. Create a timeline, a work plan, a checklist — whatever tools you usually use to keep yourself on track. Work with HR to establish benchmarks for securing job requisition approvals, posting the ad and receiving the first batch of resumes for your review. Then put all of those dates into your calendar.

Obviously, there’s a lot about the process you can’t control. For instance, you may not like any candidates in the first set of resumes. But by having built your own structure around the process, you’ll more easily fit it into your overall workflow. Which leads us to…

2. Make time each day

You’ve got meetings, phone calls, documents to write… none of your other work is going away. To make sure your recruiting efforts don’t lag, schedule the time you need to get them done. (Click here to tweet this advice.)

At first, you won’t need much time each day. It won’t take long to touch base with HR about, say, when the job posting’s going live or what kind of response it’s generating. But as things progress, you’ll need to block out time to review resumes and work samples, conduct interviews and meet with colleagues you’ve involved in the process.

So once you’ve created your benchmarks, don’t just set alerts on your calendar. Reserve the time you need to make sure each item gets done by its deadline. Don’t let anyone book you into meetings or other work during those times. Because you need to…

3. Stick to the deadlines

This one may seem obvious, but recruiting is one of those tasks people often treat as an “extra.” In other words, they let other deadlines take precedence, agree to hop into that meeting, or allow any number of distractions win out while the resume stack grows. That’s one reason so many recruitment efforts drag out.

Letting deadlines slip has a cascading effect. First the job rec doesn’t get done, so the job doesn’t get advertised. Then the resumes are ignored, so HR can’t conduct initial phone screens. By the time they do, you’re in the home stretch of a project release, so it’s weeks before you sit down to read their notes.

Don’t let this happen to you. Keep reminding yourself: The sooner you make the hire, the sooner life will get better on a whole lot of levels.

4. Make friends with HR

HR often gets a bad rap. Some say they’re bureaucrats who won’t post your job until you’ve filled out all the right forms and gotten all the right approvals. Don’t fall into this trap. HR can be your best friend.

First of all, good HR people know what the job market looks like from the candidate’s side, so they can help you fashion effective ads and attractive offers.

They’re also the ones who know the internal process best. They’ll know to warn you that the CFO tends to sit on job requisitions in the hope they’ll go away, so you can ask your boss for help when it’s needed.

That aside, there’s simply no way you’ll bring someone on board without HR’s cooperation. So when you deal with them, be more than just professional — be nice.

A lot of the hiring process is outside your control. After all, you can’t dictate how long management approvals will take or predict how many qualified resumes you’ll receive. But by organizing yourself and proactively managing the process, you can make sure your efforts get the attention they deserve throughout your company and keep all of your other work on track, too.

Do you have any other tips for streamlining the recruitment of a new employee?

Mark Feffer has written, edited and produced hundreds of articles on careers, personal finance and technology. His work has appeared on Dice.com, Entrepreneur.com as well as on other top sites. He is currently writing for JobsinNH.com, the top local resource for job seekers, employers and recruiters in New Hampshire.

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