Finding The Purple Squirrel Candidate

picture of a Purple SquirrelThe term purple squirrel is often used by employment agencies to best describe a job candidate with precisely the right education, experience, and qualifications that perfectly fits a job’s requirements. Oftentimes, it is difficult if not impossible to find this candidate. However, is it realistic to spend time finding a perfect candidate? Or perhaps hiring the most qualified candidate who can do the job?

This perfect candidate is typically non existent most of the time. The decline in jobs in 2008 made it difficult to appease most employers as this candidate was tough to find. Such are the realities of the early twenty-first century job market. As a result of this companies are becoming more selective in looking for the ideal hire. This explains why more vacancies are appearing on national job boards.

We will meet with clients to manage their expectations. It is discovered their needs are not unique. The client is usually following company hiring guidelines when interviewing candidates. It is frustrating to pass over a candidate who could perform the job.

Employers will keep a territory vacant or pass on the workload to current employees. Now we all know what the risks are for taking this approach. The costs associated with a vacancy is enormous and most HR departments may be overlooking these financial implcations. But missing a perfect candidate doesn’t mean you have to hire someone who is not qualified either. If skills and qualifications are outside of the must have realm they should be able to pick up those skills once they start the new job. But keeping a job open for months or doubling a company’s recruiting efforts doesn’t actually address the reasons why it is hard to find the perfect candidate. However one of those reasons is that perfect candidates are too rare to bank on.

The Purple Squirrel Is Unique

These candidates are near-impossible to find in an ultra-competitive industry. For every unique candidate there are dozens, if not hundreds, of open, unfilled job openings. Looking at job postings of the some of the largest companies confirm this fact. Industry leaders like Oracle and Google have hundreds of job openings that have been posted for four, five and six months or longer. So, company hiring managers and internal recruiters keep these jobs open. In short, their hopes are that one day they’ll get a notification of the perfect new applicant.

Compensating The Purple Squirrel Candidate

Typically purple squirrels come with a demand of a higher compensation package. Visit company websites and you will see job vacancies over 60 days on the market. Therefore these companies are either waiting on or praying that the dreaded purple squirrel will end up on their site. Finally, companies should focus on recruiting and hiring for fit and the ability to do the job.


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