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Attracting the Wrong Kinds of Candidate? Could Be Your Bait

Attracting the Wrong Kinds of Candidate?  Could Be Your Bait

Depending on your industry and your geographic location, you spent the last 10 years or so positioning your company as a fun place to work.  Maybe your company isn’t so much fun these days, but it’s still nice to have that reputation that yours is a company where time flies. In fact, maybe that feel is still in your online careers tab.

One company I’ve worked with was so committed to being a tantalizing magnet for high-talent, high-tech resumes that it actually featured a poker game in progress, with one guy looking up into the camera making the L on his forehead. Yeppir, real  fun place to work!  Fun, that is, for people who don’t want to work.   The problem is that over time, the early employees grew up. Got married. Had kids. Took their work very seriously, especially as the company was positioning itself to go public. They weren’t so much interested in the margarita machines or the fact they could wear flip-flops to work.

Even more importantly, they really didn’t want to work with new hires who were attracted to the company because word on the street was that the company was a party place.  They wanted to work with serious-minded colleagues who were focused on getting the job done.

“But great talent doesn’t grow on trees,” one publisher said to me when I told him that his new hire (an editor) told me that he didn’t like to read. (The one time in my career that I actively lobbied to have someone fired.) Well, that would be an easy conclusion if the message you’re sending out is that you welcome one kind of candidate, when you’re actually wishing you had another kind.

If you’re getting a rash of losers line up for the few jobs you have open, it might not because the pickin’s slim out there. It could be because your recruitment message is so 2003.  And there are plenty of really wonderful, dedicated, seasoned professionals out there who are looking for an opportunity where they can do more than draw a paycheck or the tap handle for free beer.

Yes this is a buyer’s market right now. And as a recruiter, that buyer would be you.  Now’s you’re chance to improve the quality of your bait to improve the quality of your candidates.  You’re not only helping your company. You’re also helping great candidates out there who are looking for a great next career move. And you’ll be doing your current employees a really big favor.

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Martha I. Finney is the author of The Truth About Getting the Best From People, and a consultant specializing in employee engagement. For a free consultation on how you can build a vacation-friendly workplace culture, email Martha at

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