A New Year is upon us, and the employment marketplace is as competitive as ever. That hasn’t changed. What has changed, though, is how companies find the top talent they need.

First, of course, every company must recognize that a high unemployment rate does NOT equal an abundant and readily available pool of highly qualified candidates. The reality of the situation is that, if anything, these types of candidates are now more difficult to find.

That’s because these are passive candidates already considered valuable by their current employers (who are keeping them quite busy). So while unemployed job seekers may be waiting at your doorstep, the types of candidates you want to see the most . . . are not.

Second, all candidates—including passive ones—have multiple tools at their disposal for conducting their job search. Yes, the days of only checking the want ads in newspapers are gone, but so are the days of only checking online job boards or using search engines.

Candidates have many avenues for their search, and unless you’re engaging candidates through these avenues, you risk not attracting (and finding) top talent. Two of these avenues are social media and mobile technology. Consequently, companies can’t just post job openings online and wait for a flood of qualified candidates to apply for those openings.

Instead, companies need a four-step strategy for finding the top talent they need. That strategy is a simple one, but it’s a proactive one, as well, and requires energy and effort to successfully implement it. The four steps are as follows:

1.Find the talent.

2.Engage the talent.

3.Recruit the talent.

4.Hire the talent.

With that strategy in mind, below are questions to ask about your company’s current hiring process:

■Is your hiring process pro-active or reactive?

■What’s your procedure for identifying top talent?

■How do you engage top talent once you’ve identified it?

■Where do you identify and engage top talent?

■How do you successfully recruit that talent once you’ve both identified it and engaged it?

Finding the top talent your company needs in 2013 requires a proactive presence in the marketplace. Partnering with an experienced and savvy recruiting firm that works in your niche market can help provide that presence.

Such a firm knows where to find that talent, how to engage that talent, how to recruit that talent and ultimately how to land that talent. Don’t wait to be found. Find the talent you need—before your competition does.

If you have any questions about this article or about how we can help provide solutions for identifying, recruiting, hiring, and retaining the right candidates, contact Stacy at stacy@thevetrecruiter.com. You can also see more about our recruiting process at www.thevetrecruiter.com.