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Purple Squirrels are what professionals in the recruiting industry call a perfect candidate which exists only in the employer’s imagination. Essentially, Purple Squirrels exist on paper in the form of an unrealistic job description.
Think of it this way. What recruiting results would happen if an NFL team only recruited football players from colleges in their state and required everyone to run a 40-yard dash in less than 4.5 seconds. And, to top that off, the recruits are required to wash their own uniforms after every game. As ridiculous as this example may seem, many employers set unrealistic criteria that turns their hiring initiatives into a chase up a tree for a Purple Squirrel.
Here are three adverse effects that may occur while in the hunt for a Purple Squirrel.
- Long, costly hiring processes – Not uncommon that a search for a Purple Squirrel may last a long time. After spending a lot of money and experiencing a frustrating hiring process, companies eventually realize their job criteria and expectations may need to be revised to align with the reality of the current candidate marketplace.
- Positions go unfilled – If positions are critical to the growth of your company, having unfilled positions can be costly in terms of lost revenue or reduced productivity due to unmet company goals.
- Pressure on existing staff – If unfilled positions push extra work to other staff members, turnover could occur due to stress, burnout or resentment. And, depending on the job, there could also be lost opportunity costs, particularly for sales-related roles.
Examine the job criteria for your next hire. If your expectations have painted a picture of a Purple Squirrel, consider the following actions to bring your search criteria in line with marketplace reality.
- Adjust criteria to focus on the most important responsibilities of the job
- Split a job into two roles when the current role has two competing skill sets
- Raise the compensation package to match current market demands
- Expand search outside your industry
- Recruit beyond your geographic area by offering remote work
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.