Fishing is a fun pastime for many people.  Recruiters don’t have that luxury.

I have to admit I know little about fishing. But during my recent interview on Business Builders Show about Recrooglization (or Recruiting in the Age of Googlization), hosts Marty Wolff and Kerry Kearney hooked me with a great analogy shared by fisherman and recruiters. They got my mind racing.

Kerry asked me during one of the breaks if recruiters, like anglers, often had their favorite recruiting hole. “Absolutely,” I responded. The similarities didn’t end there.  In fact, the similarities started to take on a life of their own.

Find the Honey Hole

Frecruiting is a lot like fishingor starters, finding a favorite place to catch fish or candidates takes time and preparation. Once found, few people want to share this favorite location with anyone outside their inner circle.  Why would they?  More competition means less fish caught and more trash left behind. The more popular the site, the more likely its best days are history.

One Source Doesn’t Do It

A good fisherman knows all too well you won’t find trout, bass, perch, and flounder swimming in the same location. One fishing hole isn’t enough. With each job seeker using up to 18 different sources, recruiters too must locate multiple recruiting holes. But for some strange reason, many companies believe that you can catch the perfect candidate for all sorts of different jobs by using the same bait in the same fishing hole where everyone is wading. It’s no wonder why so many recruiters come up empty handed.

“Bait” the Hole

To catch more fish, anglers often “bait” the fishing hole a day or two before.  Baiting a fishing hole helps draw in the small fish that attract bigger fish that attract even larger fish.  Many recruiters however feel that fishing for the best candidate is a lot like picking a filet out at the supermarket. Baiting is the equivalent of social recruiting for companies…and few take the time to do it.

By communicating with potential employees in advance of a job opening through social media and other content creation, a company “lures” candidates to hang around their fishing hole.  With more candidates following, news spreads and even more candidates bite when the hook, line, and sinker drops.

The good news is there are plenty of candidates swimming in the labor pool. Some are actively looking. Others are lurking for the right bait.  You just need to know where and how to find them. To catch the right candidate, companies need to do these six things:

  1. Know the ideal characteristics of the candidate you want.
  2. Prepare and visit your recruiting holes in advance.
  3. Lure candidates with the right bait.
  4. Adapt. If the candidates aren’t biting, change things up.
  5. Be proactive. Keep your eyes and ears open upstream for changes in the markets.
  6. Be attentive.  You can’t cast your line out and walk away. When you get a nibble, you’ve got to follow up.

Unlike fishing, recruitment has no leisure aspect to it.  You either become an expert recruiter these days or you just get to tell tales about the “big one that got away.”