Growing up, my father was an avid fisherman. Occasionally, he’d get out all of his tackle boxes and take inventory. Whether he was fishing for trout, grayling or salmon, he
had whatever we needed to catch fish once he’d completed a careful
assessment of his needs. He used to suggest some of those tackle boxes
were my mom’s, but he wasn’t fooling anyone.
As leaders, when it comes to recruitment and hiring, we don’t need tackle
boxes with every variety of hook, bait
and tackle, but we can’t afford to be unclear about what we need when it comes
to our people.
In Eric Herrenkohl’s book, “How to
Hire A-Players,” he defines an A-player as
“an employee who creates superior results
compared to the vast majority in your industry.” Herrenkohl suggests we should
always be recruiting and developing an
As a way to recruit A-players, our company participates in an internship program
at the University of Alaska Anchorage
(UAA), where we network with coaches
and sponsor a booth at UAA’s spring job fair.
Last year, when looking to broaden the
talent net for our clients’ needs, opportunity struck on a flight out of Alaska.
I sat next to a coach from the University of Alaska men’s basketball team
and we recognized common ground in
efforts to recruit the top talent for our
teams. We were looking for candidates
who demonstrated leadership, initiative,
determination and excellence. Fortuitously, the coach mentioned a talented
junior who would be looking for a job
Help wanted: Only A-players
I told the coach we’d be on campus for the
UAA job fair this spring and invited him
to send over the prospective candidate. Di-
ante Mitchell, a graduating senior and cap-
tain of the men’s basketball team, met us.
During my interactions with Mitchell, it didn’t take long to recognize his
A-player potential. He was a candidate
who could drive value, so Mitchell progressed to an interview with our leaders.
Mitchell willingly shared his perspective of the recruitment and interview process, as well as what he was looking for in
“I believe two goals exist in any interview a candidate walks into – getting to
know the company and its employees, as
well as gaining experience,” said Mitchell.
“Going into the interview, I was look-
ing to see how I would interact with the
people. When I look for employment, I
want to know that when I come to work
each day, the people I work with will make
it fun and enjoyable. I think in our world
today, people take jobs because they have
to and not because they want to.”
Mitchell continued, “When I went to
interview this prospective employer, I
Bringing Your “A” Game