The similarities of recruiting and hunting

I live in Austin, Texas that is arguably one of the best cities in the United States. Not only is Austin the Capital of Texas, it is widely known for its music, nightlife, restaurants, lakes, rolling hills, and the The University of Texas.  Our family calls Austin home. Even though all of us all have traveled extensively, none of us would want to live anywhere else. Even my wife, originally from Iowa, couldn’t imagine a better place to live. Where else can you go see 79- year old Willie Nelson sing “Whiskey River” on a regular basis and feel like he is singing it for the first time?


Like anyone, however, we all need to have our getaways. My father owns a ranch in a South Texas city called Carrizo Springs. Now this is different from most ranches. It is about 7,000 acres of land filled with mostly mesquite trees that has 3 houses, 10 ponds, a pool, and the entire ranch is high- fenced to help the Deer and Elk grow on our property. It is about 45 minutes from Mexico and the border town Eagle Pass. I joke because although we like to hunt, that isn’t the main reason we go down to Carrizo Springs. Sometimes it is all about the pool, the morning coffee or star gazing at night. 


This weekend my wife and our family, and my brother and his family, are making the trip to Carrizo Springs. Spending time with the family will be about 95% of our weekend, but my brother and I will make it out for at least one night of Dove hunting. This got me thinking. Recruiting and hunting have many similarities. 


Here are 10 analogies that you can directly relate hunting to recruiting:


1)   Recruiters ARE hunters.  They are always looking for the best way to find the talent. They look for the best place to find individuals that the hunted wouldn’t think they would be found.

2)   There is not one correct way to hunt. When hunting game, some people use bows, others use guns.  There is no right or wrong.  At the end of the day, whoever comes home with the game has been successful. As a true Texan would say, “There is more than one way to skin a buck”. Recruiters must find the best avenue that works for them while still utilizing multiple approaches.  Linkedin recruiter works for some, others just pick up the phone. 

3)   Hunters often take the long -range shot to bring in the big game. Recruiters have to take risks and not be afraid of rejection if they want the candidate whom everyone desires. These candidates are long shots, but worth the time to pursue.

4)   Hunters miss their targets sometimes, but get the next target that comes along. Recruiters can’t win every time, but the resilience is what separates them from the pack.

5)   Hunters are patient. It may take years to get the buck you have been looking to find.  Recruiters must be patient also. They must maintain relationships and the big hire they are looking for will come in time.

6)   Hunters are more successful when a plan is in place. They are unsuccessful when they shoot their gun in the air aimlessly. The shotgun effect for recruiters never works. Make sure you know what target you are trying to hit and an idea of how you can hit it.

7)   Team hunting usually works very well. When hunting dove or pheasants, placement of the other hunters is essential to the success of the hunt.  Recruiters who work in teams, such as a sourcing team and Talent Acquisition team, usually yield better results than a one-man show. 

8)   Hunters hunt early and late in the day. In recruitment this is very true also.  The best time to reach a candidate is before or after work.

9)   Hunters are always looking for the best way to catch their game. Good hunters usually have the latest and greatest binoculars, gun, and camouflage.  Recruiters are always staying on top of the latest recruiting trends and continually trying to learn so they can find the right talent.

10)  Hunters hunt because they love to hunt. Recruiters who are successful love what they do.

If you liked this article, please follow me on Twitter at @WThomsonJr or connect with me on linkedin and read my weekly blogs at  

Views: 1066

Comment by Daniel F Ridge on October 3, 2012 at 4:03pm

Great post Will! have you ever been to the Texas Olive Ranch between Carrizo Springs and Asherton? Largest olive ranch in Texas producing some great olive oil and some wonderful balsamic vinegar. If you can't get in for a visit you can buy the olive oil at Central Market in Austin. And in this case you could add that Hunters like to cook their meat by adding some great flavor (olive oil) and Recruiters like to market their candidates by adding some great information (flavor) from references.

Comment by Will Thomson on October 3, 2012 at 5:59pm

Thanks Daniel.  I have never been to Texas Olive Ranch.  Sounds interesting.  I'll have to check it out at Central Market.  I like your analogy!  

Comment by Daniel F Ridge on October 3, 2012 at 6:23pm

Visit the Olive Ranch while you are down there this weekend. It is worth the trip and can't be too far from your family ranch.

Comment by Tim Spagnola on October 4, 2012 at 7:54am

Thanks Will for posting this. Never been much into hunting, but given my recruiting background ou make a good case as to why I should give it a shot (no pun intended).

Comment by Will Thomson on October 4, 2012 at 8:31am

OU?  Ok- I won't hold that against you.  :) There is nothing like bacon wrapped dove with a jalapeno in the middle baked over the grille.  It makes the hunt well worth it!

Comment by Akilah Charlemagne on October 4, 2012 at 9:55am


This was an awesome post. I really enjoyed the personal anecdotes. I thought the comparisons between hunting and recruiting were spot on. Whether you are a recruiter just starting out or someone who has been in the game a long time, there were great messages in this blog. Much continued success to you!

Comment by Will Thomson on October 4, 2012 at 10:22am

Thanks Akilah! I had to put Carrizo Springs on the map somewhere.

Comment by Daniel F Ridge on October 4, 2012 at 10:41am

And I think that you did just that. Just don't forget the Texas Olive Ranch's Olive Oil, it will make those grilled bacon wrapped dove with jalapeno that much more enjoyable! 

Comment by Will Thomson on October 4, 2012 at 1:38pm

I'll have to try it Daniel!

Comment by Sally Raade on October 4, 2012 at 7:43pm


Great post!  We all should be Hunters; Bringing back candidates to our clients.  Recruiting is one the most interactive sports.



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