All About Purple Squirrels

We know you’ve never seen a purple squirrel, but have you ever heard of one? Unless you’re in the recruiting industry, probably not. 

Purple Squirrels – Defined

As defined by Greenhouse, “purple squirrels don’t exist in wildlife. They also often don’t exist in the workplace. The term ‘purple squirrel’ is a distinctly recruiting vernacular used in Talent teams to describe a candidate that’s perfect for one particular job. They bring all the exact requirements and highly specialized qualifications, experience, and salary expectations for a position. Sound too good to be true? That’s because it usually is.”

Why You Shouldn’t Try to Find Purple Squirrels

Recruiting purple squirrels is very hard – almost impossible, hence their name. A recruiter shouldn’t seek out a purple squirrel because it will take all of their time and energy and leave them in a huge mess – behind on work, unhappy clients, and a bunch of candidates sitting in limbo. Instead of trying to find a purple squirrel, find candidates that fit most of the requirements listed for a job and that can bring something extra. For example, if you’re looking for an app developer look for one that has almost all of the “nice to haves” but also app store optimization. App store optimization is a critical component to mobile app development and marketing and this skillset will serve the client just as much, if not more, than all of the items they have outlined in their job requirements.

You Found a Purple Squirrel, Now What?

As mentioned above, purple squirrels are very, very rare. If you think you found one, that is wonderful, but proceed with caution. Can they really do everything that is listed? Do they really have ten years of experience in the emerging technology that is listed? They may really check all the boxes but check (and double-check) their skill sets and references before you celebrate. We don’t want to say candidates lie, but sometimes some of them stretch the truth to try to land a position, especially in a tough economy. 
If you really did find a purple squirrel, congratulations! You have done something that every recruiter aspires to do. Call your client right away – you don’t want to miss out on this candidate by sending an email to an overloaded inbox. Help facilitate the interview process to accelerate the hiring process so that everyone wins – the candidate, the client, and you!

Another Cautionary ‘Tail’

Just because you found a purple squirrel doesn’t mean they are going to be a match for your client. Often, purple squirrels come with high demands that some clients just can’t meet. Also, personality types and workplace cultural preferences play a large role in the hiring process, and sometimes despite all of the research recruiters do, the candidate (purple squirrel) and the client just aren’t a match. Don’t feel defeated – your purple squirrel is likely to remain a top candidate for one of your other clients. 

You Didn’t Find a Purple Squirrel

As advised earlier, don’t try to find a purple squirrel – you will be going down a rabbit hole. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t find a purple squirrel! Recruiting is all about matching top talent with the best client match (culture, personality types, etc.) so if you found a really great candidate, you should be proud of the work you did. Again, call the client and facilitate the interview process in order to accelerate the hiring process – great candidates are hard to come by, especially when the tech unemployment rate is at 3% and you don’t want someone else to snag your candidate before your client ever meets them!

Purple Squirrels or Not, We Have Great Candidates!

We have great candidates that would be an asset to your organization. If you’re looking for top talent, contact us today so we can make the perfect match! You never know, we just may find you a purple squirrel, too. 

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