The Recruiting Tackle Box Posted at 0:00, Thu, 8 December 2016 in Industry Insights

I like to go fishing. Yes, I enjoy going outside and catching fish with a rod and reel. “I thought this was a blog about recruiting,” you are probably now asking yourself. Hold on, we will get there. The truth is, I spend more of my time fishing than I do catching. The same way I spend more of my time sourcing than I do hiring. That is the reality of it. Any angler will tell you that fishing is not easy (an honest angler will, at least). Believe it or not, fishing is an interesting hobby. It is a hobby that will take you places, show you things and above all teach you things. I have and continue to learn many of life’s lesson from my time spent fishing, and over the years it has become one of my passions.

Now, I’m a recruiter, and when I think about it, I realise that it is something that I am truly passionate about. I then start to think about my other passions and begin searching for a correlation. In doing so, however, I have to ignore the remuneration factor of having a job (and trust me, if my other passions compensated me the way work does I would be out chasing fish and not writing this blog), Eventually, I started thinking beyond skill or ability and focused on the elements that go into this line of work; the core values that one needs to have in order to survive and succeed in a career in recruiting. And it hit me. Fishing! The recipe is the same: patience, dedication, hard work, determination and a bit of luck.

You need to take your time. You cannot rush a fish onto your line the same way you cannot rush a candidate into a role. There are situations where it is simply a waiting game. Either you are waiting on a candidate’s response or waiting for feedback from a hiring manager. Then there’s waiting for budget approval or an offer letter to be approved by the CEO. It’s just like waiting for a fish to strike your lure. You have to wait for the timing to be right. You have to wait for the fish to be ready.

You can’t give up. If it was easy, everyone would do it. No surprises here, this profession is not easy. It can be gruelling at times and fraught with failure. You will fail. But either way, you have to keep your head down and make it happen because it can be great at times. Same with fishing. You will get skunked. You spend all day on the water, casting & waiting for a fish to hit with nothing to show. You have to keep at it. Stick to the process and it will happen. They will hit.

Hard work
Nothing comes easy. The best things come to those who work hard. Sweat equity. You reap what you sow. I could go on forever but you get my point. Those who excel work for it. Recruiting is no different, especially in a market where the competition for talent is fierce. You have to put in the work to land the best candidates. The same way you have to put in the work to land those fish.

Nothing is promised. You need to keep the faith and know that your efforts will pay dividends. You have to believe that success will attend your efforts. We have all had the role from hell before. Where there are few candidates and even fewer good ones. Candidates that are no shows, or ones that go cold on you. Nothing you try sticks and everything falls apart. But you can’t give up. You need to push through even though you are tired, your muscles ache and you’ve lost your favourite lures. But you gotta keep casting.

And a bit of luck
At the end of the day, you can do everything just right and it may or may not work out in your favour. That is part of life. Echoing my last blog – recruiters work with human beings, the most irrational species on this planet, famous for doing crazy things that make zero sense at the worst possible times. You ask all the right questions, quiete all the concerns, got the sign-on bonus, and your candidate may still just say no. The same applies with fishing. You have your best lure picked out, select the best spot to cast, it’s the perfect time of day and the fish still may not bite. You did all the right things and it may, or may not, work out in your favour. But with just a bit of luck…when all the elements of your tackle box come together…and you catch that fish…place that candidate… it makes it all worthwhile. That’s when you look back at the hard work and it all makes sense. So you do it again.

Or…you get skunked. That is why it’s called fishing and not catching. The same reason it’s called recruiting and not hiring: it’s a challenge to succeed when nothing is promised. I like the challenge. That’s why I enjoy what I do.

Kenny Acosta is a Recruiting Consultant with MitchelLake Onsite, based in San Francisco. He is an accomplished technical recruiter and a pretty decent fisherman.

If you’re looking for your next role to tackle, or for the perfect candidate out of all the fish in the sea, then get in touch now.