Purple Squirrels – How to Catch One

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A purple squirrel is a job candidate with precisely the right education, experience, and qualifications that perfectly fits a job’s multifaceted requirements. Every employer wants one but how do you catch one? Do you recognize when one is in front of you?

Step One:        Define how will you recognize a purple squirrel for your vacancy. What are you trying to replicate? Why?

  • What is essential to success? Key traits? Education? Knowledge? Experience?
  • Look deep. Then look deeper!!! – It may not be as obvious as you think. One company found that the key to success for IT programmers was found to be speaking more than one language not where they went to school which is what they had been hiring based on.

Step Two:       Purple squirrels like the same kinds of trees – where are your trees? Who do your Purple Squirrels know? What sites do they surf? What do they read? What events do they go to?

  • Network, data mine, and ask for referrals from other Purple Squirrels
  • Never assume a squirrel is happy with their current nest, great candidates may be willing to move jobs if you ask them
  • Don’t just set a trap – hunt them down! Waiting for the candidate to come to you is a costly mistake.

Step Three:     How close is close enough? Are you actually overlooking great candidates because you don’t think they are Purple Squirrels?

  • Is your ‘pretty close’ candidate actually a purple squirrel without the ego?
  • What does the actual Purple Squirrel give you that the other candidate doesn’t? Can you afford to wait for the Purple Squirrel? What is the cost to your business of hiring a great candidate who may not be perfect?
  • Is it possible that the ‘pretty close’ candidate may stay longer and work harder than the what you perceive as a real Purple Squirrel?

Purple Squirrels are out there…you just need to recognize them, hunt them, and accept that close enough may be exactly what you are looking for!