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Unicorns (or Purple Squirrels) are what recruiting professionals call “the perfect candidate” which exists only in the employer’s imagination. Essentially, Unicorns exist on paper in the form of an unrealistic job description.
Unrealistic job descriptions often result when blending skill sets for certain roles. For instance, a sales engineer role often has conflicting skill sets. Combining business development skills and technical skills are on opposite sides of the spectrum of behavioral characteristics. To identify an engineer who is also a super sales talent is possible, but there is a limited pool of people strong in both areas making a search very challenging.
If you are searching for sales engineers, we recommend that you choose which side of the spectrum is most important and use that as the priority in selecting candidates. It is possible to find sales engineer candidates who are Ok but not great in both business development and the technical side. Thus, be prepared for average performance in both areas. These competing skill sets create the Unicorn factor.
Here are three adverse effects that may occur while searching for a Unicorn.
- Long, costly hiring processes – A search for a Unicorn may last a long time. After much frustration and costly recruiting efforts, companies eventually realize their job criteria and expectations may need to be revised to align with the reality of the current candidate marketplace.
- Pressure on existing staff – If unfilled positions push extra work to other sales team members, turnover could occur due to stress, burnout, or resentment.
- Lost opportunities cost – Leaving territories uncovered or not actively managed could lead to lost revenue and loss of market share.
Examine the job criteria for your next sales engineer hire. If your expectations have painted a picture of a Unicorn, consider the following actions to bring your search in line with reality.
- Adjust criteria to focus on the most important routine responsibilities of the job
- Focus on capabilities or potential instead skill set
- Raise the compensation package to match current market demands
- Expand search outside your industry or 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. Or email us at email@example.com