If you work in recruitment at a manufacturing company, you already know that hiring during busy seasons is a major pain point. Bringing on new staff at this time of year can be a catch-22: you need skilled new workers to contribute to your projects — but at the same time it takes time and energy away from your existing team to recruit, hire, and onboard these team members.

Luckily, there are best practices to streamline your hiring during the busy season so you have more time to focus on what’s important: providing your services to customers.

1. Create a Talent Bench

Talent benches were made for busy hiring periods. This is a pool of qualified applicants who have already submitted their information through a previous job ad or call for applicants. The BirdDogHR Applicant Tracking System has a built-in talent bench function that allows HR departments to easily review that applicant pool when new positions open. Why start from scratch with recruitment during the busy season when you can build your talent bench in advance?

By the way, advance means months in advance — research has found it can take between 70 and 90 days to hire new workers in the manufacturing industry.

2. Build Leaders Within Your Team

Like gathering an existing pool of talented applicants, creating workplace champions is something you can do year round. In a column in Industry Week, a partner from an energy and industry recruitment firm highlighted just how important a role these internal leaders play.

Mike Morrow’s firm has worked with many traditional manufacturing companies, and he said that three quarters of those clients had no viable internal candidates when it came time to replace workers who had been there for more than five years. While the manufacturing industry has a skills gap, it also has a deficit of skills training for employees who are already on the job.

Grooming your existing employees will help greatly during the busy season. More team members will have the skills needed to succeed in their own positions, and will have a better understanding of how to help onboard and train new hires. Look into a succession solution to start building leaders within your team today.

3. Do Outreach in Colleges

Good news for recruiters in the manufacturing and construction industries: the number of graduates in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are up. In 2016, American colleges produced 568,000 graduates in these fields — these are your potential employees.

Hungry for experience and an opportunity to pay off student debt, new graduates are tech-savvy and energetic, and some of the most ideal candidates to recruit during the busy season. Don’t wait for these graduates to come to you. Advertise upcoming job vacancies through visits to local educational institutions, and encourage them to store their information in your talent bench. This is the first step in building a pipeline of talented, young employees.

4. Use Mobile Recruitment

During the busy season you want to use every medium possible to reach candidates, and mobile should be prioritized. More and more candidates, particularly millennial ones, are using their smartphones to search for jobs. An estimated 70% of job seekers use their phone or tablet as a critical tool in their job search. It is worth the investment to ensure your job ads and online application system is mobile-optimized so you don’t miss out on these candidates. Mobile recruitment also means using a solution that allows people to easily share job opportunities via social media.

5. Ensure Efficient Onboarding

Once you have recruited and hired new talent during the busy season, it’s time to make sure onboarding is as streamlined as possible. Companies with formal onboarding processes have 50% greater new hire retention, which means you’re much less likely to have to deal with training a new hire, only to have them quit early. An automated onboarding solution creates a valuable first impression. It will ensure new employees are engaged, debriefed, and given the tools they need to succeed in their first months with the company. Important steps such as onboarding can be forgotten during busy seasons — that’s why we have software that will work for you throughout the year.

There is no question — the busy season is chaotic, but the five solutions above will help, as well as BirdDogHR’s software solutions.