I'm noticing how much the practice of finding a candidate and interviewing them has changed over the years.
First step is to look up the person on the web. Since I'm looking for a technical person I'm expecting a blog, contributions to open source projects, a twitter presence, etc. If I don't find them, the candidate becomes less attractive.
If I do find a blog or twitter feed, I take some time to read them. You can tell a lot about a person with just a short overview - for example, even a delicious feed can give you a very good feel for how good someone is technically.
Hopefully the person has an open source project or two they've contributed. If so you can dive right into the code and get a good sense of their skills at work. I love this - you can see great coders almost immediately. And of course bad ones.
If the person is still looking good it's time for a review of the resume and their linkedin profile.
By the time I followup with the person I have a very good sense of who this person is, what they've done in the past, and what their real-world coding looks like. The people who make it to the interview are so well filtered you almost can't go wrong.
It's very time consuming, but if you're as fanatical about hiring good people as I am it's worth it.
Contrast this with the old pile-o-resumes approach, or the recruiter-filter-by-keyword approach, and I think we're in a much better place.
Now if I could only find a recruiter I could trust to do the technical deep dive I've described here and be ingenious enough to find diamonds in the rough I'd be a very happy man.