The Internet was supposed to simplify recruiting: No rushing to meet newspaper deadlines, no waiting for resumes to trickle in by snail mail. So what happened?

A combination of quick and easy online applications and an increase in the number of people looking for work has led to millions of resumes floating around in cyberspace, and some days it feels as though they've all landed on your desk.

Should you give up on Internet job posting? No. There isn't a better way to quickly and inexpensively reach qualified candidates. It's not where you advertise the opening that's the issue here -- it's how you advertise the position.

Don't let company executives get frustrated trying to understand why positions take so long to fill. Follow these simple strategies to improve the quality of responses you receive and decrease your time to hire.

Be Specific

A quick job search turns up mostly short ads with no clear definition of job requirements. If half the people reading the ad can imagine themselves to be qualified, your inbox will be full within hours.

To avoid this, work closely with the hiring manager to understand his specific requirements. If your CFO will only hire CPAs, state that requirement clearly. Don't say you need an HR assistant who "knows benefits" if you actually need an expert in workers' comp. And if you need an executive assistant who has experience organizing huge corporate conventions, don't write "plans company events," which could mean arranging the annual company picnic.

Writing specific postings takes a little longer, but by helping job seekers understand your needs, you'll reduce the number of applications from unqualified candidates and ultimately save more time than you spend.

Be Clear

Make sure the requirements and job duties are easy to understand by someone who does not already work for your company. Some postings have so much corporate jargon that it's difficult for job seekers to tell if they are qualified, leading many to simply press a button to submit a resume.

For example, one company is currently advertising for a product manager to "create wire frames, product specification/MRDs/PRDs and scope documentation." Compare it with this posting for a product manager: "Must have a network of contacts amongst key decision makers within the entertainment industry (particularly film and music)." The second is much easier to understand, more specific and likely to attract fewer unqualified applicants.

If you're not sure whether you have included company-speak, have a friend or fellow HR professional review your posting and give you feedback.

Be Up Front

Dissuade potential job seekers from speculative applications by adding a statement explaining that your requirements are firm. For example: "Please read the qualifications for this position carefully. The successful applicant will have to get up to speed quickly and therefore, we will only consider those who meet all the criteria listed above." This won't stop everyone, but it will deter people who are unsure whether you're serious about your stated requirements.

Be Demanding

Don't make the application process too easy. Instead of just asking for a resume, include an assignment in your posting.

For example, a company looking for a Webmaster could include the following: "When applying, please provide an outline of your approach to Web site design. The successful applicant will be asked to completely overhaul the site, so we'd like to know how you would approach that process." Or a retailer looking for customer service professionals could ask applicants to write a cover letter outlining three challenging customer situations they handled successfully. Qualified candidates will be excited to have the opportunity to stand out from the crowd, while casual applicants will be less willing to put in that much effort for a long-shot application.

To be successful in your recruitment efforts, you must constantly adapt your strategies to suit the market. You must manage the candidate flow so you can effectively service your organization. By creating specific, clear job postings and an application process that requires effort on the part of the applicant, you can reduce the number of unqualified candidates and increase your chance of making the right hire quickly.