Purple Squirrels have one thing in common with Unicorns. They don’t exist. Purple Squirrels and Unicorns are expressions in the recruiting industry for a candidate that is a figment of the employer’s imagination. Essentially, Purple Squirrels don’t exist, except on paper in the form of a job description.
Think of it this way. What if an NBA team set expectations that all new recruits must be 6’ 7” or taller, willing to accept compensation 20% below market, and must be able and willing to perform backhand springs during half-time when a cheerleader is out sick. As ridiculous as this example may seem, many employers set unrealistic criteria that turns their hiring initiatives into a chase for a Purple Squirrel.
Here are three adverse effects that may occur while in the hunt for a Purple Squirrel.
1) Long, costly hiring processes – Not uncommon that a search for a Purple Squirrel may last a year or longer. After wasting lots of money and experiencing a lot of frustration, companies eventually get the message that job criteria and expectations need to be revised to align with reality.
2) Positions go unfilled – If positions are critical to the growth of your company, having them go unfilled can be extremely costly. Chasing a Purple Squirrel seems counter-intuitive in this situation.
3) Pressure on existing staff – If unfilled positions push work to other staff members, turnover could occur due to stress, burnout or resentment. If a Purple Squirrel is not available, consider hiring someone with less experience and train them.
Examine the job criteria for your next hire. If your expectations have painted the picture of a Purple Squirrel, consider the following actions to bring your search into reality.
• Adjust criteria & expectations
• Raise compensation package
• Expand search outside industry
• Recruit outside geographic area
Setting realistic search criteria at the start of your next hiring initiative will save you time, money and frustration. If you would like to improve your hiring results, give us a call at 317-578-1310.