With Easter arriving this Sunday, thoughts turn to pastel, potted lilies, and, naturally, Cadbury.

One time-tested TV ad, dating back to the early `90s, graces our screens every springtime to announce the glorious return of Cadbury creme eggs. As your eyes slowly adjust to the black bars that border the standard-definition ad, you’re greeted by a rotation of wannabe spokes-animals, from a pig to a turtle, bwoking like chickens and wearing rabbit ears.

Of course, it’s the Easter bunny who lays the chocolate eggs, silly, and no substitute will suffice when it comes to selling us the sweet treat, which debuted more than 50 years ago in the U.K. Even the regal roaring lion, a symbol of England’s coat of arms, seems hopelessly out of place as the company standard-bearer; as the ad’s tagline reminds viewers, “Nobunny knows Easter better than Cadbury’s.”

In the business world, unless you sniff out similar imposters early on, your company can be infiltrated by a lion in rabbit’s clothing, so to speak. Not only do they pose an occupational hazard, but they can also damage your well-established brand in the process.

So, how can this be avoided? By stopping the issue at the source and removing the disguise that job-seekers often wear to the interview. It’s the only way to save yourself the aggravation and money of bringing the wrong person on board and having him hurt your bottom line or worse, tank your reputation.

Whether it’s screening applicants, understanding your business’s competencies, or helping you conduct successful interviews, a trusted talent-management partner can make certain your employment practices are targeted and streamlined. Instead of wasting your time with poor fits that will reveal their true nature in time, you can cut to the chase, filter out the artifice during the job interview, and hire the right people on the first try.

In today’s economy, businesses are strapped for resources. At a boutique agency, for instance, an HR manager might be wearing several hats, and she won’t have time to go beyond standard interview questions that elicit canned answers. Frequently, the interviewee comes in more prepared than the interviewer, and the conversation can be hijacked by a charismatic person who thinks he knows what the company wants to hear.

A structured interview guide can help you cut through the noise by offering relevant questions that home in on a person’s ability to achieve high performance and assimilate into your culture. After you have thinned the applicant herd and know whom you want to move forward with, you may consider having a competency model created that aligns with your job-specific needs and the ideal outcomes you seek. That way, once you assess a person and understand his workplace motivations, you can then compare his assessment results and see if they match the parameters you have set.

With a good set of pre-employment tools in your basket, there’s no more going down the rabbit hole and being fooled by clever job applicants.