Chase that “purple squirrel” long enough, you end up hiring no one

A “purple squirrel” is a metaphor in the recruiting business for that impossibly hard to find “perfect” candidate that our client asks for. That 10 out of 10 candidate.

Employers and hiring managers proclaim: “We just can’t make a mistake!” OR “We need to find the perfect candidate!” And then it’s usually followed up with: “What can be more damaging to your business than a bad hire?

Ummmmm, not sure, but the failure to make a critical hire in a timely manner is at least a close second!

Productivity is lost, precious momentum is squandered, and increasingly hard-to-find candidates slip away. We suggest that even if perfect candidates exist, they are nearly impossible to find. While many companies are busy chasing purple squirrels, your competitors hire perfectly acceptable great candidates who quickly contribute to their bottom line.

What are the real costs of unfilled jobs? Deadlines and sales quotas are not met, new product releases fall behind schedule, unhappy customers are lost to competitors, overtime costs skyrocket, and frazzled employees leave in search of a better quality of life, to name just a few.

So what can you do?

  1. Analyze the job market realistically so you can focus on finding competent, capable talent.
  2. Honestly evaluate your company’s needs so you can prioritize impact positions, create more realistic candidate expectations, and plan for successful talent acquisition outcomes.
  3. Throw cost-of-hire concerns out the window as the goal is to produce high-performing hires.

While only you can decide if you can live with less than 10 out of 10 boxes checked on your ideal candidate search form, you just might have a “keeper” if you can satisfy the following concerns:

  1.  Can the candidate do the job?
  2. Does anything in his/her background make him/her an unacceptable risk?
  3. Can we work the money out?
  4. Do I like the candidate, and will he/she fit in?

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