Have You Gone Fishing?

I’m not much of an angler, as my recent fishing trip to Aspen reminded me. But when it comes to landing the best candidates, I know a thing or two. So, I wanted to share a simple process that’s been working wonders for me as of late.

First, a word of caution: If you’re still relying on job boards to catch Rockstar candidates, you’d better hope you’re as lucky as this guy:



Because with unemployment around 4%, most of the best candidates are working and not wading through the job boards.

The good news?

Research shows that 84% of them are unhappy in their roles.

So while you can’t see them, they’re out there. Lurking under the surface. Ready to nibble.

Shhhhh…. can you see them?

You just need to use the right equipment: LinkedIn.

I can’t tell you the last time I hired someone through a job posting. But the LinkedIn database of 500 million profiles is like shooting fish in a barrel. Nearly every finalist in my recent searches – other than personal referrals – I found on LinkedIn. So, it’s a vital tool to master.

Now, let’s go fishing:

Step 1

When you find a candidate who appeals to you, get their personal email address.


I keep Lusha in my tackle box for just this purpose. You install it in your Chrome browser, click the Lusha button and – shazam – it displays the person’s email address, and 9 times out of 10, it’s accurate. Good enough for me.

Step 2

Using that address, send the candidate an email. The shorter the better. I’ve seen people go so wrong on this step. They come on way too hard too early, sending a long boring email with the whole (poorly-written) job description.

That’s gonna spook the fish. Sea?

Instead, just a 4-sentence email with the subject line “Confidential.” I’ve tested hundreds of subject lines, and it’s the winner hands-down.

You’re just trying to get the candidate to nibble on your bobber. Once they reply to your email, it’s smooth sailing.

Step 3

Still no reply?


Okay, let’s pull out a heavier weight lure: Video.

Nothing tells a story like video, and what’s recruiting if not telling candidates a story about your opportunity?

I record a 60-second video from my desktop or phone. No editing. No Photoshop. (Sadly, I have a face for radio – but it doesn’t seem to scare them away).

Upload the video to YouTube and grab the link (the true whales are too smart to open an email with an attachment).

Here’s one I made this week for a CEO search I’m currently leading (note: I’m paying a $5,000 referral bonus on this one.) The video? Not as exciting as the Bass Pro Championships. But the response? Huge.

It’s shiny and different, so candidates are more likely to bite.

Step 4

And for the catch I really want?

If they don’t reply to the general video, I don’t just let ‘em get away.

I record a custom 60-second video just for them. I know, I know. But remember the lucky guy in the photo above – you’re not him.

I use Loom to record the video, and send them the personal link. I can crank out dozens in one hour.

I look at the camera and say:

“Hey, Chris. I just came across your profile on LinkedIn and I simply had to reach out. Your work at Groupon has been impressive, and I’m sure it’s prepared you for the next move in your career. I’ve just been retained to find a remarkable VP Marketing for…”

And the results?

Let’s just say I’ll fish for a lifetime. You can too.

But finding a candidate is only the first step. Next, you have to look inside of them (without gutting them.) And if they’re lightweight, you’ll need to throw them back.

This free book can be your guide: www.RecruitRockstarsBook.com

Jeff Hyman

Jeff Hyman

Jeff Hyman launched his recruiting career at Heidrick & Struggles and Spencer Stuart, the preeminent global executive search firms. Today, he’s Chief Talent Officer at Chicago-based Strong Suit Executive Search. Along the way, Jeff created four companies, backed by $50 million in venture capital. He currently teaches the MBA course about recruiting at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and hosts the five-star Strong Suit Podcast. Jeff has been featured by Inc., Fortune, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Bloomberg, and other media outlets. He holds a master’s degree from Kellogg School of Management and a bachelor’s degree from The Wharton School.

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