In a former life, I spent the best part of what seemed like a lifetime recruiting folk for 2 large govt departments (and firing em again when it didn't work out!) and over the years & thousands employed, developed a somewhat successful 'successional planning' approach to recruiting, which you might find works out OK for you.
Fell free to adopt any or all parts of it, if you desire.
As you know with EEO (equal employment opportunity / anti discrimination) laws these days theres basically little or no opportunity to 'try before you buy' when emloying folks..
So I worked it this way.
When I interviewed folks for a job - I'd keep a close eye on my second best applicant. Sometimes I'd re interview the second best and best applicants - a 2nd time...JUST to get a better look at number two - with a view to whether I could develop that person into the employee I was likely to need next.
I'd look closely at trying to identify and quantify their strengths and particularly their weaknesses.
Then - after the number one guy was employed - I'd contact number two and convince then to come in if possible for temp work, relief work, short term contract work and so on, so I could get a better look at them. While I had them there I'd take the opportunity to train them in the area's they interviewed weakly in and bolster any weak area's in their resume's with actual coal face experience.
Come next time that job was vacant - I already knew who I wanted for my applicant and the selection criteria was invariably written to suit that applicant...
I made a habit of doing this at every interview process and NEVER had to 'buy blind' off the street - I always KNEW who my next selection was going to be before the job placement advertisement was ever called.
For those "joining the job hunting Cues' who find that dismaying, my advice is "dont!". Be prepared to not get that first second or third job you applied for but recognise that - by getting to the interview - you're becomming a 'known quantity' and that eventually you'll get your turn and be asked to temp, fill in or conract for a short duratation position and so on. Take up the offers and you'll soon find yourself being trained, developed etc and with a full time job you always wanted. It won't happen overnight and you'll be able to wallpaper one wall of your house with rejections from unsuccessfull applications - but thats just how the games played these days.
I used to talk to a lot of other large volume recruiters socially and thru sports etc - we always swapped names of likely lads that we'd interviewed who might be suited to each others various job needs, so we knew who to be on the lookout for an application from.
Occasioanlly if I couldn't place someone who interviewed really well - but I knew someone else was looking - I'd contact the unsuccessful applicant after the process was over and they'd got their rejection notice and suggest they might like to think about applying with xyz who i'd heard were recruiting. Usually - this always meant I'd already put in a good word for them and the other agency were already looking forward to recieving an application from them, but the unwritten rules of the game say you can never actually SAY that they have the inside running, it ALWAYS has to come down to the applicant having the intestinal fortitude to pick emselves up by the bootstraps, and have another go after having just been rejected.
On rare occasions people who you went to these lengths for would spit in your face out of dissapointment (hurt) at missing out on the initial job they applied for. Sometimes even people I had in line for successional planning action accidentally shot themselves in the foot by being rude about a second call offering what they took to be a "consolation prize" offer of temping or holiday relief work when they'd been an applicant for full time work.
Most recruiters have been there and experienced that (the let down) so we are pretty forgiving folks...when it comes to unsuccessful applicants taking out their frustrations / disspointments when a second opportunity comes knocking.
Anyway - just a little insight for what it's worth to anyone on either side of the emloyment situation (recruiter / applicant). Hope it helps.