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Are You Still looking For The ‘Magic Bait’ To Attract Talent?

It is surprising what thoughts come to you while standing on a pier on the US Gulf Coast, watching people fishing! Unsurprisingly (for me anyway) they were work related, specifically talent sourcing and talent attraction related. Let me explain.

First let me paint the picture. The image above is Naples Pier in the SouthWest of Florida, famous for it’s sunsets and it’s good fishing. It is a place that attracts many people every day to try their luck in the gulf waters. This time last week we spent the afternoon there. As someone who likes fishing, I was curious to see the methods they were using, the baits they were trying and (importantly), were they actually successful in catching fish.

Well the most important answer is yes, they were catching fish and lots of them!

The other answers made interesting watching, sitting there in the 100 degree heat eating my ice lolly (well I was on holiday!)

Firstly the methods used were very different, floats, ledgers, lures, spinning, bottom rigs, twisted wire spirals, large rods and small rods. The baits were also diverse including squid, live fish, fish heads, bread, worms, artificial lures, silver fish strips and prawns. Just to put this into perspective, all these people were fishing in a relatively small area, yet everyone had a different approach……… and most of them caught fish of varying sizes during the time I watched!

It got me thinking….

Within the recruitment industry much is made of looking for the next new tool, trick, method or technology to help companies attract new candidates to their company. They may already be using many approaches, but it doesn’t stop them thinking that the ‘magic bait‘ is out there to be found, especially in a talent short marketplace. The truth is that many different approaches work, but it depends on timing, location, brand (perceived and real) AS WELL AS the method and and message used. And this can change every single time! So just because something works one day for one role/campaign, it doesn’t mean that it will necessarily work the next. Failure is a large part of learning and (ultimately) success in getting the desired results.
If you add curiosity to the mix, the testing of new ideas and methods (while obviously looking for the elusive magic bait) should be encouraged. They do work, but not at the expense of all the tried and tested techniques previously used. How many of these methods do you use in your recruitment strategy ‘tackle box’?:

  • Your own database of past applicants (ATS, Inbox or spreadsheet)
  • Job boards
  • Online CV database
  • Advertising
  • Referrals, both internal and external
  • PPC campaigns
  • Social media (sourcing and building targeted followings)
    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Google+
    • Pinterest
    • Instagram
    • And all the other 100’s of specialist social networks
  • Community sites
  • Talent mapping
  • Your talent pipeline you have built (ok, then maybe not!)
  • Social Advertising
    • Sponsored posts
    • Promoted posts
    • Facebook adverts
    • Twitter Cards
  • Recruitment content marketing
  • Networking events
  • Recruitment agencies
  • And all the other many recruitment methods out there!

Just ask the fishermen on Naples Pier who return day after day, trying all the different baits and methods! They change things up all the time, they don’t wait for days using the same bait when it obviously isn’t working, they try something different and see if that works.

Do you?

There was one fishing method that really did intrigue me. No hooks, no bait just a loosely twisted wire around a red string with a weight on the end. Every time they put this in the water, they caught a small fish. The fish were attracted to the red string out of curiosity, swam in and couldn’t get out - trapped. Genius!

It made me think - are there things that companies are doing to entice prospective candidates in, and then getting them so interested that they are ‘hooked’ on the company? Brand, culture, events, people, innovation, reputation or the company leaders?

What are you doing that is different to attract the curious candidates?

The final part of my story/analogy revolves around the Osprey (an eagle like bird) shown below.

He sat on the top of the end of Naples Pier waiting for an opportunity to swoop down and steal fish. He was watching the fishermen attracting all the fish, and just when the opportunity arose, he would swoop down and steal the fish from underneath their noses. Maximum observation  with minimum effort to catch them. Very effective he was at it as well!

How often does that happen to you? You do all the hard work attracting to your company, for a competitor to come in and grab them at the last minute! Do you often look at your ‘landing’ techniques, the way you engage with the candidates, the way you offer them or the offers that you are making?

Fishing is often used as analogy to recruiting, and sometimes it is closer to the truth than some people think!

  • Ellen Stuart

    I very much like the article. This makes me think that complicated concepts can be found in easy and simple ones.
    I also find it interesting that you point out that different approaches work and that it depends of different factors such as time or brand.

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