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The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret

December 1, 2014 / Molly Moseley

Purple squirrel hunting: tips for finding the perfect candidate

ThinkingPurpleSquirreinCircle320x300A purple squirrel is an elusive job candidate with the exact skills, experience, education and training required for your toughest to fill position. Some would argue they also ride unicorns, save babies from burning buildings and can double your revenue with a single click. Ok, not really, but it is a common recruiting industry term used to refer to the perfect candidate.

The existence of the purple squirrel is often argued, and perfect is a strong word, but I am certain those candidates who offer the most, are the hardest to recruit and hire. That’s because they are not only perfect to you, they are perfect to your competitors as well. Well have no fear, we’ve come up with some quick and easy tips to hunt and catch your very own purple squirrel:

1. Get their attention: You need to stand out against the crowd of recruiters also looking to hire your purple squirrel, so get creative. Consider gamification, sponsor a contest, utilize creative marketing techniques where your purple squirrel is likely to work or play, or consider non-traditional recruiting media, like a fun video or a “jobcast.” Need some ideas? Check out these creative strategies.

2. Court them: When you have identified your purple squirrel target, approach the recruiting relationship like dating. Purple squirrels are often passive candidates, who are in high demand. By connecting with them across channels and consistently engaging them, you can prove your interest and establish a relationship. Utilize sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to dialogue with the candidate on topics of interest and comment on the quality of their work.

3. Sell the work: Once you’ve got their attention and have established a relationship, it’s time sell the job. Purple squirrels are passionate about their work, and they are incredibly good at it. Communicate and highlight the aspects of the job (and company) that will best stimulate their intellectual curiosity and get them excited. Consider personalizing the job where appropriate, or allow them to choose their projects.

4. Move quickly: Purple squirrels are often passive and are not actively looking for a new job, so make the interview and application process as simple and quick as possible to avoid losing their interest. Don’t force them to complete complex and time consuming assessments when you know their qualified, or go through 10 rounds of interviews. Streamline the process to assess to only what is absolutely necessary, and omit what is not.

5. Wow them: Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Utilize bonuses, benefits and extras to prove you want them and let them know they will be well compensated for their work. If they are a true purple squirrel, make sure you offer them the salary they deserve, strong enough that it doesn’t require them to negotiate. As an added touch, have your CEO deliver the offer to commute that excitement for the candidate goes all the way to the top.

6. Use the right team: Make sure you are using the right team and resources to attract, engage, and hire your purple squirrel. Leverage people across your organization, as well as partners, like LinkUp’s recruitment advertising team, to ensure you are setting yourself up for success.