How Fly Fishing is a Lot Like Recruiting

December 7, 2023

National Business Development Partner

Written By:

Gabe Boss | National Business Development Partner

A man fly fishes in a Colorado river

A few years back, I was gifted a fly rod for Christmas. With no prior experience with fly fishing, I dove headfirst and was instantly hooked. Fly fishing quickly became one of my favorite hobbies. The more I went fly fishing and learned about the sport, the more I realized how similar it was to my job. Fly fishing and recruiting are parallel with each other. 

In both fly fishing and recruiting, mastering the art of casting is paramount. Just as a fly angler delicately places their lure to entice the perfect catch, recruiters strategically cast job opportunities to attract the best talent. As a recruiter, here are three key reminders.

How to Land Your Next Big Fish

1) Understand Your Environment

To be successful in any new candidate search, you must first learn about the company and team that surrounds it. This means understanding the goals of the company you are partnering with, their culture, and what will make someone successful there. As an embedded recruiting partner, it is our goal to know the organization inside and out to make sure we’re aligned every step of the way to lure-in the right hire for your team. 

Much like fly fishing, you need to understand the landscape of where you are fishing and what you want to fish for. Fly fishing is much more than casting a fly (lure) and hoping for a bite. There are multiple variables that go into being successful on the river: the time of day, water flow levels, water temperature, which part of the river you should cast, and matching your flies to the bug hatches throughout the day. Once these factors are identified, you can utilize them to help reel in your beautiful rainbow or brown trout. 

River rushing down through rocks in the outdoors.

2) Adapt

Recruiting is ever-changing. As recruiters, we navigate a dynamic landscape of industry trends, evolving job markets, declined offers, and non-negotiables from hiring managers. Some of the changes that come our way are out of our control and require a keen sense of adaptability (and a positive attitude).

One way we adapt to challenges or newly learned information is by having weekly calibration meetings with our hiring managers. This is a 15 to 30-minute conversation to address the status of the search, report on candidate status, and have a conversation to make sure both parties are aligned. An open dialogue provides the opportunity to discuss any issues that are arising and adjust tactics as needed.

Whether it’s the weather, water flows, the mood of the fish, or snagging your fly in the bush behind you (which seems to be my biggest issue), things can change in the blink of an eye while you’re out on a river. Just like with recruiting, you must embrace change and stay agile to secure your next fish and still have fun while doing it.

3) Celebrate Your Wins

A career change can be one of the most stressful experiences in a person’s life. My “why” as a recruiter is to help create an organized, communicative, and empathetic process for candidates. Helping candidates find an opportunity that not only benefits them but also others they might support is one of the most rewarding and important parts of this job. Because of this, whether it’s the candidate accepting a new opportunity or placing someone at a fantastic organization as a recruiter, it’s crucial to celebrate your wins.

Man holding a trout with bare hands.

The same concept should be used in fly fishing. You’re only one cast away from landing your most memorable catch. After putting in the work to set up your rod, pick the correct fly, read the river, and finding yourself in the right place at the right time, there is no better feeling than battling a monster rainbow trout in the South Platte River in Colorado. Once your fish is in the net, high fives, screams, and photos (or you didn’t catch it) must ensue. On the river, you can hear when someone catches a big one from a mile away!

Fly fisherman holding his catch next to a net.

To tie it up, fly fishing and recruiting are parallel in nature. Both demand a deep understanding of the environment, whether it’s the job market or the river conditions. Adaptability is the name of the game. Recruiters roll with industry trends, and anglers roll with the punches Mother Nature throws. And let’s not forget. Celebrating wins is a universal language, whether you’re sealing the deal on a job offer or wrangling in a beautiful rainbow trout. It’s all about strategy, patience, and embracing the unpredictable journey. I wish for you great success.

At DISHER Talent Solutions, we love wading in the waters for top talent. Finding top candidates for our customers brings us great satisfaction. Let us know how we can come alongside your team with any part of the recruiting (fishing) process.

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