Do You Noodle?


I was horrified, intrigued and amazed all at once when I learned what ‘noodling’ was. Also known as hand fishing, one submerges neck deep in the muddy waters of a local river or reservoir searching for large catfish sleeping in the cool, dark holes beneath the surface. The ‘noodle’ (or bait) is one’s hand and the goal is to grab the fish by its mouth and wrestle it to the surface. As a kid growing up in Oklahoma, I used a rod and bobber to catch catfish of a much smaller variety. Cast, wait, reel in. Rinse and repeat.

Talent acquisition is very similar. When hiring, employers take two paths: look externally posting on job boards or possibly engage an agency like BKG. Employers also look internally to hire from within. There are pros and cons with each model, but combining these approaches can get your hiring game to the next level. Here’s how.

At BKG, we routinely partner with internal talent acquisition (ITA) professionals to solve complex hiring challenges. Most of the candidates we’ve placed were working someplace else when we contacted them. We noodle for external talent while our ITA partners use a bobber (job boards) posting, waiting. Rinse and repeat.

Hunting for external candidates often provides a more diverse range of candidates. Promoting from within also has its advantages but the fishing pond is much smaller and searches take longer. While certain jobs are appropriate for bobber fishing, it can have some downsides, especially for the more senior, technical hires. Let’s talk about the benefits of adding an agency like BKG to your hiring ITA strategy.

Noodling For Candidates

About 90% of the candidates we place are passive candidates, meaning they were employed and possibly not looking to make a change when we initially contacted them. We’re great storytellers not only representing the job at hand, but the company behind the opportunity. I cannot tell you how many times we get a candidate referral from a past candidate or someone in our professional networks. We’re very good at noodling for candidates. We’re neck deep in the muddy waters of the candidate pool, reaching our hands into every watery hole searching for that big fish.

We Know The Companies, People & Jobs

I’m proud to say that we don’t have recruiters on our team. We’re a band of professionals who have extensive industry (Property & Casualty & Healthcare insurance) experience and leadership backgrounds. I like to say, ‘we get paid to socialize with our friends.’ We know the companies, jobs and the people who make up the niche spaces associated with cost control in the claims process. The degrees of separation are small in these seemingly huge industries–sorry Kevin Bacon. Many of us have worked at the top companies in the industry. We know their leadership, cultures and Employer Brands (more on that later). With good authority we can represent our clients to the candidate world ensuring a lasting employer/employee relationship.

We Make ITA Stronger

We save time. We stretch ITA resources. We are the first (or second) interview and we streamline the hiring process for ITA professionals. I don’t know of one ITA person who isn’t spinning a dozen plates at one time and doesn’t have the time (or maybe the expertise) to cruise for candidates. The candidates we submit have been vetted and recommended, therefore removing the hassle and stress associated with building talented teams.

Noodle or Bobber? Do Both!

Internal recruitment can be beneficial for both an organization and its employees. The skills and experience of internal candidates are already known to the hiring managers, they know the culture and their learning curve might be shorter. Internal recruitment can be more time and cost effective and emphasizes opportunities for growth within an organization. However, the downsides to internal recruitment must also be considered. Searches last longer creating an opportunity cost for the employer. The talent pool is smaller and sometimes a square peg ends up in a round hole. The employer must also back fill the position vacated by the one promoted. Bias and prejudice lurk right around the corner.

The answer? Find a proven agency like BKG and partner for the long term. Be creative in your relationship to find the ROI. We live with the benefits of this blended approach everyday and provide a win-win-win solution: A win for the employer through candidate noodling. A win for the candidate who has been properly vetted and hired. A win for BKG because we save time and money for our clients in the long run. So, do you noodle?