Recruitment Basics Part 2: Throwing out the lure

Upcoming changes to employment law in New Zealand (see here and here) make getting the recruitment basics right first time, more important than ever.  The majority of New Zealand companies are far too small to have recruitment skills in-house, hence recruitment agencies are often used.  The mistake that many small organisations make is outsourcing the entire process.  Remember no one knows your needs, your business, or yourself like you do.  Some things should never be fully outsourced, recruitment is one of those.   All managers looking to grow their team need some basic recruitment skills and knowledge.

This post is part 2 of a four-part series covering the most crucial skills and considerations for good recruitment outcomes.

Where is your fish?

You have carefully considered your requirements in Part One and now know exactly who you are looking for.  It’s time to think about where your ideal person (fish) might be hanging out.

Before you go fishing, consider cost effectiveness and target your effort for maximum impact. Throwing the net too wide often results in hundreds of applications that someone will need to assess (at your cost).  Even with the best will in the world, chances are high that the poor soul assigned this laborious task drifts into an alternative universe, just as the best CV slips past.

Fishing in fertile waters.

Bait the hook with the catch in mind.  If for example you are looking for an engineer, the best place to advertise might not be the Caravan Club Weekly.  I know they have the cheapest ads but seriously.

Of course, if you want an engineer to run a short-term initiative in an area with limited accommodation, the Caravan club weekly may be exactly the spot you should cast your line.

Recruiting agencies are a valuable resource for the fishing part of your recruitment journey.  They have extensive databases with detailed info on potential candidates.  Most agencies are professional and will send you suitable applicants, IF properly and thoroughly briefed.  However do remember (most) agencies are paid for a placement.  This potentially conflicting incentive structure might not help you get the right fish every time.  Don’t be afraid to switch agencies.

You can also go-it-alone via online sources such as or as well as those specific to your industry.

Although these approaches to fishing cast wide nets into large oceans, the process may miss your ideal fish.  What about smaller, more targeting oceans e.g. publications of relevant professional organisations.  Even local publications, especially in the regions – the results can be surprising.  It’s my experience that local publications are less likely to attract this applicant than the Seeks of the world: ‘I want to come and live in your lovely country and I have a doctorate in nuclear physics, but I would dearly love to be receptionist in your esteemed organisation’.  I have huge sympathy for these applicants, however the fact is: actual rocket scientists don’t tend  to be happy in reception positions.

Baiting the hook

If you are looking for a conservative accountant, an informative plainly worded, standard font, ad might catch their eye.  For an accountant with attitude? … give the ad some attitude.  Need a creative director? … go wild on the creativity.  Sub-editor? … spelling and grammar carefully checked (unless you are hoping they will take pity on you and apply just to lift your standards).

What is the fish looking for? It’s not all about you!

Catch Me If You CanDoes your company interest them? Make sure your company’s culture and personality shows in your ads.  Appeal to the right person, Make yourself interesting!  This can be covered by a link to your website, however a few carefully selected words will help lead them there.

What worked before?

Do a quick audit of your previous recruiting results. Talk to your best people, how did they find you? Which of your draft ads appeals to them most?

Next week in Part Three III will be talking about the key considerations in the narrowing the field.

Until then, I hope you are a little more prepared for your next fishing trip.


The Barefoot Recruiter

References Links

The full series on recruitment basics includes:

Note from the future: I later provided two bonus blogs (free of charge) on:

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