Don’t Hold Out for For A Purple Squirrel

September 20, 2018
by Melissa Porter
purple squirrel grassy field recruitment

Every job you recruit for has a purple squirrel. Every company will know what their purple squirrel looks like, because their traits are in front of them – on the job description.

In case you haven’t come across the term before, a purple squirrel is the perfect fit for any vacancy. They have the right amount of experience in the required field or industry, they have the right education or qualifications for the role, the pre-existing team will love them, and they can start exactly when you need them to.

As many Recruiters know all too well, the purple squirrel is extremely rare and almost mythical, however once a potential purple squirrel has been identified, employers tend to invest a great deal of time and energy into making sure they can secure the purple squirrel for their role.

What is so great about a purple squirrel?

The purple squirrel is the holy grail of candidates that will have the ability to assume the role with minimal transitional issues and training. They are the candidates that can “hit the ground running”, the employees who can deliver results within their first week, and most of all, be able to think outside the box and become an asset to the company.

Why you shouldn’t hold out for a purple squirrel.

Given the rarity of purple squirrels, the harsh reality is, more often than not, they won’t materialise for your role. Holding out for the perfect candidate will take longer to fill the role, cost your business money, and ultimately will put extra pressure on your current resources.

Whilst you may have interviewed an excellent candidate, just because they may be inexperienced in one area, doesn’t mean you should overlook them and continue your search for someone who does tick all the boxes, as this search could take quite some time.

One aspect to consider is whether you’re being realistic with what you’re looking for, versus the person you’re looking for. For example, the person you’re looking for is an ambitious go-getter with oodles of enthusiasm to bring to your company, someone who is eager to progress their career, and climb your corporate ladder. Yet, what you want is for this ambitious person to do the exact same job they are already doing but for you, in other words, take a lateral step in their career – it doesn’t make sense.

Develop your own purple squirrel

Sometimes it’s time to stop looking for something that may not exist and think outside of the box. How do you think purple squirrels are made? They were trained, coached, developed into that perfect candidate that you want to hire now.

So, what’s stopping you from developing your own?

If you’ve come across as candidate that is missing just a little bit of experience, use it to your advantage. Take them on, develop their skills, all the while your business gains itself a reputation for nurturing employees, win-win!


Need hiring advice for your business? Contact your nearest office today to chat to one of our experienced Consultants.

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