It’s tempting when you’re trying to fill a job vacancy to settle for the first person remotely qualified for the position. However, doing so means missing out on better prospects and can increase costly employee turnover. According to data from G&A Partners, the average replacement cost of an entry-level employee is anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of the employee’s annual salary. That figure jumps to 100 to150 percent when you’re replacing a supervisor.

NBC News reports that there are currently 6.7 million open jobs in the U.S. but only 6.3 million people looking for them. Employers are definitely facing a candidate shortfall. To be successful in your talent search, you need to attract the right candidates from this diminished pool of job seekers.

At the end of the day, employees want creative opportunities to advance in their field. The right candidates are out there — you just have to take the steps to find them. Here are three things a leader can do to find top-notch talent.

1. Include underserved populations.

The low unemployment rate means you’ll need to find new places to look for talented prospects. Consider creating an internship or partnering with a training program that focuses on underserved populations. This can help you connect with strong candidates who may not yet be on your radar.

Many training programs have a specific industry focus. For instance, Tulsa-based CareerAdvance helps participants develop skills needed for healthcare jobs. By partnering with such organizations, you can expand your search to traditionally underserved candidates — a move that could help you outsmart your hiring competition.

2. Generate leads from your current talent.

Sometimes the best solution is right in front of you. Try asking your brightest hires for recommendations. Chances are, someone on your team knows a strong candidate who’s keeping an eye out for a better opportunity.

Maybe one of your employees worked with someone stellar at a prior job. If you’re lucky, your employee’s former co-worker will be looking for a new position.

3. Don’t forget your second choice.

Job seekers are always told not to burn bridges. They never know when an employer who turned them down the first time could come knocking again. This advice goes for employers as well. Your best prospect for an open position may be your second choice from a previous job search.

By staying on good terms with each job candidate, you make it more likely that he or she will be an easy catch when you’re looking to fill a different role. Keep a database of candidates who impressed you. Then, when the time comes, email them or send them a message on LinkedIn to see how their job search has gone since you last spoke. If they’re still on the market, you may have the chance to make a valuable addition to your team.

In this climate, there’s no single formula to lure the best person for a job. It’s a job seeker’s market, and you may end up thanking fate for the top talent that lands at your organization. But by taking a few preemptive measures when scouting out the job-seeking population, you can boost your chances of acquiring the right candidates.

Written by Deep Patel at