The definition of a unicorn is a mythical beast that looks like a horse with a horn projecting from its forehead. However, in this context, we’re talking about the ever-elusive purple unicorn; something that is highly desirable but difficult to find or obtain. In the recruiting world, companies are always looking for the purple unicorn, but is this reasonable? Unfortunately for the hunters, the answer is no.
Of course, every employer would like to check off every box on the “requirements for the job description” section. Yet there are very few individuals (if any) who would match every job description perfectly.
As a recruiter, here are a few pointers on how to come close to finding the unicorn:
• Review the job requirements. This step is the most important. You will want to be sure that you have captured everything that the person will need to do as well as any specific knowledge, skills, and abilities or KSAs.
• List the requirements from most important to least important. By ranking the requirements, it provides good insight into what are the “must-haves” and “need to have” for the role. Of course, we want it all, but there is no perfect person or job out there where everything will match 100% of the time.
• Be sure to know the difference between what you want and what you need. Having too many requirements and expecting the individual to have all the KSAs is unreasonable. By knowing what you want versus what you need, you are in a better position to identify where compromises can be acknowledged to get closer to the individual that would best fit in the organization.
• Be willing to compromise on the KSAs. In some roles, especially for the high-tech positions, certifications are key. We have found that in some cases, years of experience can be swapped out for certain certifications. In addition, by knowing where you are willing to compromise you will open up the target candidate pool to find those diamonds in the rough.
• Hire not only for KSAs but for cultural fit. When considering hiring someone, make sure that the person will fit into your corporate culture as well as function within the team. We cannot stress enough that making the wrong hire can be extremely costly to the bottom line. It is estimated for a role that is considered mid-career it can cost an organization upwards of $50,000 or more. That is a lot of money and time that has been invested in hiring someone who doesn’t “fit” the company.
As mentioned, hunting and hiring the purple unicorn can be difficult if near impossible. There are a multitude of factors to consider such as cultural fit and understanding what is really needed to do the job. When we are hunting the unicorns, we use the mentioned bulleted items to open up our candidate pool to find that diamond in the rough because he or she, just might be the purple unicorn hiding in plain sight.
If you’re looking for purple unicorn search support, let us know! BOOST functions as a boutique recruiting firm, with customized, targeted recruiting efforts for your billable positions, C-suite or corporate positions. Give us a shout, [email protected]