What is a Purple Squirrel?
HR departments and recruiters use the term ‘purple squirrel’ (sometimes known as a ‘unicorn’),meaning the perfect, ideal candidate – not an oddly colored small mammal. It’s the type of candidate that only comes around once in a blue moon, and that fits all of the recruiter’s expectations and more.
To understand what a purple squirrel is, you must first know what goes into an ideal candidate. That varies depending on the role. If a company wants to hire a team manager, a purple squirrel would have plenty of managing experience, excellent leadership skills, managerial-focused qualifications, and values that align perfectly with the company. On top of that, employers wouldn’t need to tell them what to do – they would fit right into the team without question.
The reason it is called a purple squirrel is that these types of candidates are extremely rare. Many recruiters say they don’t even exist. If an employer spends their time searching for a purple squirrel, the chances are they waste time and resources and potentially ignore a capable candidate. Instead of ending up with a perfect employee, they end up with no one.
A purple squirrel shouldn’t occupy a recruiter’s mind, as they are too rare to expect. Instead, employers should focus on a recruiting process that allows the best of the bunch to shine through. No candidate is perfect, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make an excellent addition to the team.
For Your Reference – Related Terms
Ideal candidate, recruitment process, talent acquisition, interview process