You’ve heard the phrase “hope is not a strategy” right? 

You would never leave the sales, revenue or business development of your company up to hope or chance, would you? 

Seriously, would you just put up an “Open For Business” sign or place a single ad and wait for customers to throw money at you?

Of course not. 

Then why are you hiring that way?

If you’re hiring like most companies, regardless of industry or size, when it comes to hiring, your strategy is on the same level as counting on a Powerball Lotto Ticket for retirement.

Many executives have ZERO idea about the perfect storm, cosmic alignment and sheer dumb luck that has to occur for your company to hire someone using the traditional and common methods you likely have in place.

Don’t act shocked, upset or get your nose bent out of shape. I'm right, and in this article, I'm going to show you exactly why and what you can do about it.

Executives and hiring managers rely on their "talent acquisition" teams (some of whom are very good), but a lot give up control and depend on a strategy of postings, ads, circumstance, hope, chance, and luck. THEY POST, THEY PRAY AND THEY HOPE... and they often fail.  

(If you're thinking, "Oh, that's not us, we're doing just fine." Really? Remember, even a broken clock is right twice a day)

It is like fishing. You want to catch a bass, so you throw bait in the water and wait around and hope that you

a.) catch anything

b.) if you do, you hope it what you want?  You might get a bass, a shoe or nothing

Get mad and doubt me if you want...but I’m right and here is how. 

The recruiting process for most companies regardless of the industry goes like this. 

  1. An executive or hiring manager waits until there is an immediate opening, urgent need or "oh %*$#" moment, then calls HR to "find me someone good, preferably a unicorn...ASAP"
  2. They create a “Job Description” Which is not sexy, appealing, unique or sales oriented.
  3. That job description or a “Glammed up" version of it, that now includes a generic blurb about culture, mission or some corporate BS that everyone says about “valuing our people”, "teamwork", culture, etc. is posted to your internal website or on one of the various “job boards” you pay for. (this is similar putting a worm on a hook for you following the fishing analogy)
  4. … then you wait and you HOPE.

HOPE…someone with the exact skill set, experience, tenure and cultural fit is currently unhappy enough in their current role or happens to be at a point in his or her life and career that they open to even LOOKING ON on a career website.  

HOPE… that IF they are so inclined and motivated, that you are lucky enough for them to visit YOUR site or one where you paid to post your “ad”

HOPE… they actually see your ad amongst the other ads posted from competitors and other employers who, by the way....are looking for the exact same thing you are. 

HOPE... that IF they see, click and read your ad, that they are interested enough to apply. 

HOPE… IF they apply, that your internal recruiters can even see or find that person's application before they take another job or lose interest. This is because your internal recruiter is likely working on 20-40 similar positions at the same time and has to wade through a bunch of garbage candidates who are unqualified. Like catching a shoe instead of a bass. 

HOPE… the candidate is only interested in your company, but since they are applying for jobs on job boards they are active and likely talking to other companies. (think a single person on Tinder... pretty much guaranteed you aren't the only show in town)

HOPE after all this, that they still like your company, recruiter, positions and offer and HOPE they say yes. 

A lot has to go right. You may be thinking that YOU are running the process, but really you have LITTLE IF ANY CONTROL.

If you're thinking, "Oh but Bradley, we have recruiters who send out LinkedIn Mails directly to candidates"  That just means you bought TWO Lotto tickets, because you're still waiting and hoping that someone opens them, hoping they respond and hoping that you have reached the entire population or universe of potential people. Good luck with that. (besides...the stats for accuracy and engagement on LinkedIn will make you nauseous, but that is a different article) 

Bottom line... YOU aren’t getting the best of the best.

You are simply lucky enough to take home the last person standing at the bar at closing time. (To paraphrase most country songs… I am from Dallas, Texas after all)

Compare that with your sales and new business strategy. 

Hope vs. proactively identifying and going after the best targets. You would fire your VP of Sales if he/she ran the department that way.

The people you really WANT and NEED are not looking at or responding to postings. 

They aren’t answering LinkedIn Mails. In fact, you often don’t even KNOW who they are and where to find them. 

Pro tip… happy successful people aren’t cruising the job boards, just as happily married people aren’t on Tinder or Match.com. 

If you want the business... YOU GO GET THE BUSINESS.  The same goes with getting the best employees. 


(Feel free to tweet that, because it's awesome)


Take a look at your own organization and efforts. Are you relying on "post and pray" and a strategy of hope?


P.S. Did you like it? If you found this valuable, please leave a comment below and tell me what you thought. Also please SHARE it with two people you feel it may help. ... and don't forget to subscribe and sign up for updates - B


For over twenty years, Bradley Richardson has been recognized as a best-selling author, coach, speaker and one of the top executive recruiters, career and hiring strategists in America.

He is the founder of OSP Advisory in Dallas, Texas,  where he is engaged to teach, coach and mentor executives and leaders of Inc. 5000 and other high growth companies how to recruit and hire better, faster and differently than their competitors.

Bradley and his work have been featured on Good Morning America, Fox News, ABC News, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, and NPR -- and in such publications as USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, , U.S. News & World Report and Rolling Stone.


Bradley Richardson