Fish or Cut Bait

Find what the fish feeds on and use it for bait.

Funny, coming from a girl who’s never been fishing.

And while I don’t mean to demean talent by calling them fish, I will say that a lot of recruiters spend a lot of time trying to fish without considering the bait or even the body of water in which they are casting a lure.

As an executive coach, I am often asked, what’s the first step in finding the best talent? Advertise! Start with Craig’s List. It’s free after all. Just throw up the job description. Well… let’s think about this a minute.

Throwing an advertisement on Craig’s List might be your best answer, but how do you know if you don’t start with an exercise that helps you fully understand the whole picture? Make an educated choice so that you can predict greater success in acquiring your talent.

A successful advertisement is as much about you attracting the right fish as it is about repelling the wrong ones. In fact, you want the wrong talent to self select out and choose not to apply. Wouldn’t it be better to have a net full of the right talent instead of just a net full of talent?

Answer the following questions and ensure the answers are captured in your postings:

  • What are the selling points for this position?
  • What are the appealing attributes of the work?
  • What are the career path opportunities?
  • What is the culture of the company? Of the department?
  • How will this role contribute to the success of the organization?
  • Ultimately, what’s in it for the candidate?

Then ask yourself, where does your talent swim?

Many recruiters flock to job boards without a full understanding if their perfect candidate even swims on that board. Maybe you’re best bet is an industry association, a niche job board, or an internal affinity group.

When looking for your next great talent, put some valuable thinking into your post and remember “No good fish goes anywhere without a porpoise”. (Thanks Lewis Carroll!)


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