What is a purple squirrel? Purple Squirrel Cartoon
No squirrels were harmed or dyed purple while generating this image.

Are Purple Squirrels Real?

Yes, they are! In wildlife, Purple Squirrels exist. But this post is  about Purple Squirrels in recruitment. So, if recruiters pride calling themselves a 'Purple Squirrel Hunter', does it mean they are scouting Asian Forests to source their candidates? Read on to find out.

What is a Purple Squirrel in Recruiting?

Let's understand this with an analogy of a real Purple Squirrel from a forest.

A Purple Squirrel is covered in ultra soft hair (worth envying!), eats plants and dwells on trees. Uh, how is that different from any other squirrel? Well, here's the kicker. It has dazzling purple fur, panda-like ears, and large & powerful claws. Bottomline? If you were hiring a squirrel for its nut collection prowess, any squirrel would get the job done but a purple squirrel gets an edge over the others because of its unique traits. 

A Talent Acquisition team would define a Purple Squirrel as a candidate who is the perfect fit for a role and checks all the hiring criteria including the must-have and good-to-have skills and qualification for the position.

Should Hiring Teams spend time only chasing Purple Squirrels?

No, it wouldn't be very wise to only be on the lookout for purple squirrels and ignore other candidates. Here's why.

If your criteria is very granular at a skill, previous experience, seniority and other parameters, you would spend an inordinate amount of your time sourcing candidates. Narrowing down your pipeline right at the start may deter your end goal of rolling out offers altogether. 

Set realistic expectations for a skill set in the domain you are hiring for. Don't be this recruiter.

Years of experience, skill and Fast API tweet

Should you give up or should you just keep chasing purple squirrels even if it leads nowhere? Here's a decision tree to answer if you should be looking for purple squirrels.

How do I find a Purple Squirrel?

Instead of spending time chasing a purple squirrel, you can always rely on Equip's result analytics to validate the Skill Level of candidates. If you have sourced a sizeable number of candidates with a close match for your criteria for your open position, you may find your purple squirrel in the existing pipeline instead of searching for it right at the start of your hiring process.

Equip Skills Analytics
You can combine multiple skills in a single test on Equip and easily get an overview of a candidate's skill level on your dashboard. View Sample Dashboard

That's all, folks. Don't let your purple squirrel hunt turn into a wild goose chase!

Decide your objective based on the job role, alignment with hiring managers, time to hire and the available applicants for the role. Remember, a good candidate with some of the required skills and an aptitude to learn is better than none!

Read how preliminary screening helps with hiring