Recruiting Unicorn Sales Candidates . . . and Its Adverse Effects - Safari Solutions

Recruiting Unicorn Sales Candidates . . . and Its Adverse Effects

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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. Sometimes these mystical Unicorns are pink (if they are passive candidates) and other times they may have wings!

Consider this. What if an NBA team set expectations that all new recruits must be 6’ 11” or taller, willing to accept compensation 20% below market, and able to perform back handsprings during half-time for an absent cheerleader. As ridiculous as this example may seem, many employers set equally unrealistic criteria that turns their hiring initiatives into a chase for a mystical pink Unicorn with wings.

Here are three adverse effects that may occur while searching for a Unicorn.

1) Long, costly hiring process – 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.

2) Positions go unfilled – If positions are critical to the growth of your company, having unfilled sales positions can be costly in terms of lost revenue.

3) Pressure on existing staff – If unfilled positions push extra work to other sales team members, turnover could occur due to stress, burnout or resentment.

Examine the job criteria for your next sales 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 responsibilities of the job

· Focus on capabilities or potential skill sets instead

· 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

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