Fishing tips for Recruiters

I was looking for good metaphors related to Recruitment and Employer Branding recently. I considered using a metaphor about hunters and farmers for this purpose. For example talking about variation in crops, planting, watering, fertilizing, amount of sunlight, harvesting, etc.

But it is really striking how good an analogy can be made between Recruitment and Sport Fishing. Actually almost every sport fishing advice can be transfered to recruitment! So, here are some useful fishing tips:

  1. There are many different kinds of fish. Like fish on the bottom or fish that lives just below the surface. They all need a different approach (active or passive), food and hook. Therefore, first choose the type of fish you want to catch before you choose the right materials.
  2. A good strategy and preparation is important. Start one week in advance of arrival with feeding. It spoils the fish that way and tempts them to come back to the fishing spot. You’ll much more successful when you go fishing.
  3. Choose a good spot and make sure there are fish. If there is no fish, you catch nothing. Ask local fishermen or fishmongers.
  4. Change also regular your fishing pond. Feeding or fishing more does not help. Moreover, the variation in fish is greater if you go in different places.
  5. Watch the weather forecast. At high air pressure many insects come loose, at low air pressure this much less so. Fishing just after some bad weather is also a good period because there is much food in the water.
  6. Pay attention to the sun and wind. This determines where the food has drifted.
  7. Do not go puddle in the fishpond. You drive the fish away and never come back.
  8. Go fish actively. Change your fishing spot every half hour after you’ve caught nothing. It may take a while before they bite but that is part of fishing.
  9. The bigger the bait, the bigger the fish.
  10. Try to vary with bait. There are many different types of baits to choose from. Sometimes one bait works better than another and it may vary by fishpond.
  11. Use food to lure fish. Food ingredients must always be specifically tailored to a particular fish.
  12. Don’t feed fish too much. Fish do not eat when they are filled with food and they lose interest in the bait.
  13. If you want to catch big fish, food with a strong color contrast, relative to the color of the soil, is suitable. It generally keeps the smaller fish, and thus predators, away of the feeding place.
  14. Keep a finger on the line so you feel it when there is a bite. And when they bite it is important that you take quick action to hook them.
  15. Don’t bring in the fish too slow because then it will slip off the hook. Most fish escape because the fishing line is taken slack!
  16. Hold the fish firmly as it can be very slippery. A fishnet is effective for this purpose. Remove the hook asap to minimize the trauma and restore the fish back into the water.
  17. Rinse off your fishnet with fresh water when you finished your day, to avoid unpleasant odors.
  18. Don’t leave any litter or fishing line behind on your location. Our children should also be able to fish.
  19. If you want to keep the fish, create the right environment otherwise the fish dies.

Happy fishing!

Jacco “the fisherman” Valkenburg

About Jacco Valkenburg

Jacco Valkenburg is an international recruitment expert, trainer and author (5 books). He has more than 20 years experience in global recruitment strategies and execution spanning numerous countries for leading companies. As founder of Recruiter University and Recruit2 he provides companies with recruitment training and consultancy. His mission is helping companies ‘from good to great staffing’.


  1. “The fisherman”….
    Finally someone who gets my metaphor as well. I always preach the fishing metaphor, I love to fly fish. I don’t always know what the fish will bite on,so I ask alot of questions of the locals(networking), see what bugs are on the water and then decide what fly use(research/sourcing), dry, top water, nymph weighted or not color. Or do I use a dropper in an effort to catch three fish, when do you go, early a.m. or late in the day, hmmm, very analogus to catching those candidates that you can hook and keep them “on the line” (the sales pitch/knowing your audience/screeing/closing the deal)etc..etc..

    Thank you for sharing and I will add to my metaphor these very insightful thoughts. Thank you and to you my friend, happy fishing!!!!

    Steve “The Recruit4U Guy”

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