What Are You Fishing For?

Every good business leader wants to find, attract and hire outstanding team members. But relatively few employers have the hiring process all figured out.

Recently, a coaching client of mine experienced this firsthand. While interviewing a candidate for an opening at his retail store, he sensed some major red flags.

The candidate asked about the hourly rate right off the bat, how few hours he could work, and how fast he could earn more than the starting rate. This guy really seemed to just want to do the minimum, collect a paycheck, and go home!

My client was right—this guy did raise red flags in his interview. And this was definitely not the right guy for the job, but I wanted to know how my client got to the point of considering him to begin with. When I dug a little deeper, I discovered the cause of this disappointing interview.

“How did you post the position?” I asked my client. “What specifically did you advertise?”

He responded, “I said it was a pretty easy cashier job with flexible hours and an opportunity to make more money quickly. I also listed the hourly rate.”


“Well, you got exactly what you advertised,” I said.

Hiring the right people depends more on you as the business leader than it does on the people who walk through your door. You’re in control of how you promote the position and where you look for potential team members.

It’s kind of like fishing. When you go fishing—which I don’t because I can’t be quiet that long—but when someone that does fish goes, you use a certain kind of bait depending on what you want to catch. You also go fishing in the right body of water to get the fish you’re after. In other words, you don’t go looking for swordfish in an old lake in Alabama. You won’t find it.

Now apply that concept to business. Your strategy for hiring the perfect person shouldn’t be to post a generic job description. You’ll get anyone and everyone interested in those surface-level tasks.

Instead, think of your ideal candidate.

Who are they? What stage of life are they in? Why would they thrive in this particular position and company? Where do they hang out? Then go to their lake and get to fishing.

When you get there though, don’t just use any old worm. Use the right lure to attract the right candidate. Sell your vision. Promote your purpose. Invite this person into a crusade and a calling. Invite them to do work that matters.

Make your recruiting so targeted that anyone who doesn’t think or act or work like you’ve described immediately dismisses your post because it’s not for them. This helps you weed out the ones that won’t fit and find the best candidates for your interview process.

So if you’ve had some lousy interviews lately, the problem may not be the fish. The problem may be the lure you’re using or the pond you’re fishing in.

Because when it comes to business, youll catch what you go fishing for.