It can be a constant struggle to find high-quality tech employees, especially if you do not have a technical background. If you’re looking to hire an IT professional for your small business, or looking to build an ongoing source for young tech talent, here are a few ways to make sure that you can the right candidates for the job, every time.

Focus Your Online Employee Search

Web 2.0 tools like Twitter and LinkedIn can make it much easier to identify and connect with potential employees, even with candidates who may not be actively looking for a new position. Online job boards definitely offer you a wide reach, and often target the tech industry, but you can be doing much more. With robust professional profiles, you can use LinkedIn to identify and recruit potential employees who you think will be an excellent fit in your company. Approaching talented individuals through communities like LinkedIn or Dice (a job community that focuses on technicians and engineers) can have a much greater effect than relying only on job sites like Monster, giving you the opportunity to lure away top talent.

Contact A Professional Staffing Service

Staffing agencies and recruiters can take a lot of the struggle out of finding qualified candidates for technical positions. This is especially true if you are just looking for an IT or data professional for your small business, but have little technical knowledge yourself. A staffing agency like Kforce has continually updated job boards for technical positions like data analyst jobs and will work with you to find job candidates who have the skillset and experience you’re looking for.

Reach Out to Local Professional Associations

Trade associations and professional development organizations can be a great source of talented employees. Generally, these organizations are full of industry professionals who are looking to make new connections, learn new skills and grow professionally. Reach out to the local chapter of a trade association in your field and request to use their local job board, or to speak at one of their monthly meetings. Often, these organizations will have student chapters through your local university or trade school, which may allow you to find young talent in your field.

Intern Programs

While some internships are a crash course in getting coffee and breaking the copier, you can make a good internship into a pipeline for killer employees. A well-developed internship program is one of the best ways to attract and groom top talent. By giving your interns actual responsibility, like autonomous projects and idea generation, you’ll be able to identify interns who have potential as employees, while training them in your best practices. Best of all, you can vet their performance without the cost of a potential bad hire, a mistake that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

College and Trade Schools

Colleges and technical schools provide a pre-built pipeline for young talent, but you need to know how to tap into that talent to extract the best employees. While national unemployment has remained high, especially among recent college graduates, recent tech graduates have much greater opportunities than other students. Contacting the placement office of your local university or schools that consistently turn out top talent in your field, is one of the best ways to build young talent into your company. Even without an internship to build them into fulltime employees, college career fairs allow you to engage with smart, motivated talent in a wide range of technical fields.

About the Author: Erin Everhart is the director of web marketing at 352 Media Group, a custom development and digital marketing company.