Contact BOOST and let us help find your next unicorn!
Contact BOOST and let us help find your next unicorn!
Contact BOOST and let us help find your next unicorn!
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]
The following is the first in a two-part piece discussing the challenges and strengths of being, hiring and working with military spouses.
Military Spouses are among the most dedicated groups in our nation. It is not easy to understand or imagine their struggle as one half of a highly dedicated and honorable partnership.
I recently watched a show about a military attachment where there was local unrest about a war. A military spouse (mil spouse) stood up to the protestors outside of a prominent military base, and asked why they weren’t supporting their troops?
The leader of the protestors asked something to the effect of “how do we know that the troops even support fighting this war.” The mil spouse responded, “how do we know you have a sense of honor?”
In that one question, she hit a very pertinent nail on its head.
Why do mil spouses make great employees? Honor.
They have it and that same honor is instilled throughout their families. Honor is the backbone to many of the desired features of a “model” employee. From there you can include the characteristics of someone who is reliable, trustworthy and has a good work ethic. These are highly marketable and employable qualities.
Here’s the challenge for mil spouses:
Here is a solution:
This challenge is surmountable! Do they have skills they can do from anywhere? Simply because they have a license in one state does not mean they are doomed when the PCS (permanent change in station) orders arrive. Consulting is a viable career option that adds schedule flexibility.
BOOST provides back-office support services such as accounting, bookkeeping, contracts, and recruiting. While our niche is GovCon, it can be learned by the “right” type of employee. One that is willing to work for the knowledge. Based on the criterion we search for, a mil spouse could be a fantastic addition.
For spouses lacking skills in back-office services, there are a variety of programs to assist with career advancement. A specific program that teaches GovCon back office skills may not readily exist there may be an opportunity for a non-profit to boost mil spouse employment.
*For Example See MyCAA at military.com that describes tuition assistance for spouses of
E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2 and O-1 to O-2 members.
May is a time of year where we shed off the drab winter blues and look forward to the warmth of springtime. May is also a time for college graduation and students hoping to start a career in their primary field of study. It is estimated by The National Center for Education Statistics that roughly 2.8 million students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2019. For employers this is an untapped market of bright, new talent; however, most of these individuals will not have enough on-the-job experience to qualify for jobs in their field of study. That begs the question, how do you as a small business, tap into this talent pool knowing that these graduates may not have internships or relevant job experience?
Here are a few tips to navigate the waters of the Green Graduate:
BOOST knows GovCon HR and recruiting and how to incorporate new graduates into your staff We function as a boutique recruiting firm, with customized, targeted recruiting efforts for your billable positions, C-suite or corporate positions. We also help companies build a culture where employees want to work. If you need HR or recruiting guidance email [email protected]
Did you fall into management? Were you rewarded for your technical skills with the extra bonus of now having direct reports? This cycle happens time and time again where folks excel at their trade. Generally, very few people are asked if they want the additional responsibility of a leadership role or guiding a team. Even fewer are given any training on how to be a good manager. Instead, they are given timesheet approval responsibilities, a list of when performance reviews are due and told to make the team work. There’s no Cliff Notes or Management 101 class for how it’s done and most learn via on-the-job experience. A trial by fire, if you will.
As small organizations grow, the scenario above becomes more normal than unique. This is dangerous for several reasons. First and foremost, it takes a brilliant, high-achiever away from the thing they do best and forces them to spend time on tasks they may not enjoy. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t always the case. There are some people that want the additional management responsibilities and enjoy managing a team. If that’s the case, good grief, encourage it! Yet in many cases, it’s a technical engineer or high-tech professional who enjoys their trade and wants to spend more time doing it, not less.
This is also a dangerous move as these types of managers may not have the instincts to follow employment laws, cultivate a team or build morale. Those traits can be gained through experience, but only if the participant wants to. Many times, the management piece filed under “other duties as assigned” and those who are not prone to leadership are less likely to spend time improving their skills in this area. This leads to issues within the team and potentially putting the company in legal risk (unintentionally). Thus creating more problems where a simple conversation, gauging the interest of your team and gleaning appropriate leaders from the ranks may have avoided many issues.
If you are a technical company, I recommend you seek out those who are keen to manage and have the skills or drive to learn. Encourage this and build from there. For those who don’t, allow them to continue to climb in their careers, but do so with the top cover support from managers who understand their talents. Micro-managing a highly technical person is a recipe for disaster. Instead, hire leaders who respect and understand the technical expertise. In return, they will win the respect of the techies.
Happy Techies, Happy Leaders, Happy Company… for the most part.
When it comes time for you to seek new leadership for your teams- invest in reviewing skill sets, employee goals and find the best fit on paper and in person for the needs of your company. Want to learn more? I’d be happy to throw some pointers your way! [email protected]
“Have faith in your intuition and listen to your gut feeling.” Ann Cotton
Ask any CEO, and 90%+ will tell you that their biggest hurdle is people. Hiring the right team, making sure they play well together in the sandbox, work together to meet the mission, and generally push the company forward. The dynamics of a strong, diverse team are invaluable in the progression of your company. So how do you hire the right person? Do you rely on proven experience, or do you go with your gut?
There is plenty of written work around the topic of hiring. Some companies have it down to a science (think alphabet or apple). Most small businesses are lucky to have a standard process, much less something that is consistent and does a good job of screening candidates. Many folks at this stage “go with your gut” and hire specifically based on personality and how the candidate did in the interview.
How effective is this and how detrimental can it be to your company should your gut be off? Depending on your policies, you may be required to excessively retrain, mentor and closely monitor a subpar new hire. The damage to your established team could be expensive regarding time, mindset and resources.
For me, some of my best hires have been based on a combination of experience and/or the right personality traits. The right balance between the two is paramount. For example, is your accounting candidate detailed oriented? Do they have typos on their resume? If so, not a good indicator. I’ve hired folks without any specific industry experience, but they had the right personality and were willing to learn. Personality is just as important as any experience, especially when joining a small team. How well candidates can play with others is one of the key factors, and in my opinion, should be weighed more heavily than experience.
With that said, another key factor when considering a new hire is diversity, specifically, diversity of thought and opinion. If you surround yourself with folks who have the exact same background and exact same experience as you, you’ll wind up with total agreement, and stagnation. Total agreement doesn’t challenge you as a CEO, nor does it advance your company. You need people on your team who will appropriately question your path, question the standard and most importantly, take issue with the soul-wrenching, “but we’ve always done it this way.” Hire folks that push you to be a stronger business leader, and your company will be much improved as a result.
Your gut is an important part of your hiring process as we often notice red flags subconsciously. Yet it behooves us to remember to include careful consideration of experience, personality, and diversity. While you’re refining your hiring process, you may want to consider a hiring audition to uncover some candidate characteristics often unseen in an interview. If you’re interested in revamping your policy on hiring, seek out the advice experts in your field as what may work for Apple may not work for you.
For expertise in GovCon regarding hiring, recruiting and human resources, contact BOOST LLC. www.BOOSTLLC.net
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Email: [email protected]
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