At Snagajob, we strive to do everything “212” – an analogy derived from the fact that at 211 degrees water is just hot, but it boils when it reaches 212 (that one extra degree). By working that much harder, we help more of our members find the right positions and our employers build a more productive hourly workforce.

The concept of 212 can extend to just about anything – including how you hire people. Our position is that the best way to hire a solid workforce is to source from the right audience by posting your openings on a niche job board, draw attention to your opportunities with employment marketing and include behavioral assessments in your application process to provide insight into character in addition to qualifications. In that way, you’ll be able to improve the quantity and quality of your applicants.

You’ll know so much more about your applicants with this kind of hiring process, but what is the extra degree that would tip the hiring scale in favor of one of your many quality applicants over another?

The deciding factor between two equally desirable applicants can be tax credit eligibility.

There’s no need to feel uneasy about letting tax credits be a deciding factor in your hiring decision. Federal, state and local governments want businesses to take advantage of hiring tax credits. Businesses qualify for these credits by hiring applicants who fall in specified in-need groups or who live in targeted areas. Hiring employees with the largest tax credit potential is one of the biggest win-win scenarios in our economy because employers see a little extra money in their proverbial pockets when they make strategic hires and groups or localities reap the benefits of having more people within them gainfully employed.

There are a few legislative heavy hitters when it comes to hiring tax credits – the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is perhaps the most widely recognized. But there are hundreds of local, state and federal credits available. Because of the number of opportunities and the complexity of the filing process, employers leave billions of dollars on the table every year. With nearly 15 percent of hourly employees qualifying for hiring tax credits, chances are you have walked away from your fair share in the past and didn’t know it.

To factor tax credits into your hiring decisions, you should screen for eligibility as people apply to your open positions. An automated screening tool integrated into your online application process is the best way to know quickly and accurately which applicants are eligible for hiring tax credits and the actual amount each potential hire could bring you.

Be careful not to get greedy with tax credits, though. An unqualified employee may bring you thousands in tax credits but could cost you more than that in lost productivity, poor customer service or turnover. You have to evaluate first on qualifications and character and let tax credits be the extra degree that helps your hiring process boil over with profitability.