Fish where the fish are

Mississauga Board of Trade
Mississauga Board of Trade


January 13, 2015


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By Jan van der Hoop

Fish where the fish are: Five simple tips for attracting the right people to your business

Placing ads on job boards, hoping people will send you their résumé, just isn’t enough any longer. Even if you get quantity, you have no control over the quality of the candidates who apply.

As we study our clients’ successes, five practices have emerged as game changers:

  • Fish where the fish are. Be clear who you want to reach, and what bait to use. Do you want to reach people who are semi-retired and looking for something to get them out of the house? Moms who want to work 4 or 5 hours while Junior’s in school? Paramedics who have no attachments and want to see the world? Each group hangs out in different places online, reads different things, and responds to different messages. Communicate directly with those you want to reach.
  • Let your people tell your story. Candidates will always put more faith in what an employee says than in what you tell them, so let your best performers put into their own words, ideally on video, what it’s really like to work there. Make sure they keep it real, because you want candidates to see the messages and decide for themselves whether this is right for them or not. Use the clips as bait on your site, post them to YouTube, and use them in your online ads.
  • Let the candidate be the first to opt in or out on the basis of fit. They won’t waste their time (or yours) applying for a job that’s not going to be right for them. That’s why it’s so critical to tell them the truth about what it’s like to work there.
  • Make it easy for people to find out what they would be doing there. Nobody reads job descriptions. Instead, craft a couple of short paragraphs that give candidates a clear sense of how they will be spending their time and what they will be responsible for.
  • Leave your door always open. Get out of the habit of posting jobs only when you have an opening; the odds of finding a great candidate in that 2 or 4 week window are hopelessly stacked against you. Instead, make it easy for great people to introduce themselves 24/7/365.

Simple as they sound, these tips will make a huge difference in helping you find the right people for your business.

Jan van der Hoop is President HiringSmart. He  can be reached via e-mail at


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Mississauga Board of Trade
Mississauga Board of Trade
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