Are You Fishing for a Job or an Exciting New Hire?

Looking for a job can feel a bit like fishing, with your resume as the lure. For employers, finding the right person for a position can also feel a bit like fishing. Do we “fish” to catch the same type of fish over and over again, or do we fish to find diverse fish?  I would venture to guess that the majority of us want a diverse catch. Then same goes when “fishing” for a job. Let’s talk about marketing yourself, being the diverse fish, and getting paid what you are worth!

If you are seeking a better job, a better-paying position, one that is going to value you more, you need to consider how you are selling your unique value proposition, thinking of yourself as the product. When people are trying to sell a product, what do they do? They build a marketing campaign around it, and then they find where the niches are that those types of products are needed. Instead of applying for jobs that are posted and fitting yourself into that mold, you should be “marketing” your personal capabilities and talk about not just that job, but how you can bring more around and to that role and company with your unique value proposition.

Then, as a company, how do you find the right people as you go fishing? As I have mentioned in previous blogs, you need to create your own “pink unicorn.” The job you fill should build on the skills that your company needs. However, it is also important to look at different talent pools.

It’s about casting your net for that diverse catch. If you look around your neighborhood, wherever you live, you tend to see people generally that are like you; they make about the same amount of money. They do the same kind of jobs, they have the same kind of interests or hobbies, etc. For example, if you’re living in a small cabin in the woods, all the other people around there probably enjoy being outdoors in the woods. There probably are few nine-to-five-type jobs. No one is building a factory in the woods. And then, vice versa. If you are in suburbia, everybody is driving the same kind of car, all your children are going to the same kind of events. We tend to be homogeneous relative to our surroundings.

Similarly, we fall into the same trap at work. We tend to think about and have connections with people like us, so we need to really find ways to break out of our own little pond and fish in other pools. This is accomplished by breaking out of who you are. For example, if there is an outstanding employee who doesn’t quite fit the look or have the same education background as the rest of the workplace, seems to come from a different mold, strike up a conversation. Ask why did you come here? What’s your background? What kind of groups are you involved in socially?  Perhaps there are similar fish that you want to bring into your organization.

As an employer, you should be saying, I want to bring in a more diverse school of fish. Ask others, where they are finding their talent. If our company only has people that have college degrees and your company has excellent certified people, how are you finding your certified people? I think companies are wise to be looking for talent in places that are different. Because in the end, those same people then enhance your diversity—which only enhances results. James Surowiecki, in The Wisdom of Crowds, writes, “Groups that are too much alike find it harder to keep learning, because each member is bringing less and less new information to the table. Homogeneous groups are great at doing what they do well, but they become progressively less able to investigate alternatives.”

Diversity provides better solutions long-term. You should hire people that yes, have all different backgrounds, but can also do the job. I hate to see an organization say, they need 3 percent of this and 7 percent of that and 12 percent of this, as if it can be perfectly quantified. That is not what you need. What you need are people that can do the job, and that have a variety of different backgrounds because everybody is diverse in various ways.

In our perfect 2024 workplace, like a diverse ecosystem in a thriving ocean, the strength of our catch lies in the variety of fish we attract and embrace.