Why The Purple Squirrel Is Bad For Business

Hiring • 3 minute read

By Trevor Dewan

Please raise your hand if you've ever had an issue filling an entry level post requiring 2-3 years of experience. Odds are, you have probably been exposed to the Purple Squirrel effect.

When you see it, you're hit with the feeling of "how the heck can I get experienced workers when an entry level job requires 2-3 years’ experience".

The bad news for you employers is that looking for the purple squirrel is probably killing any chance of finding viable candidates because you may have felt it was more important to get a ready-made candidate rather than taking the time to train and mold an eager talent. The_ Purple Squirrel _is bad for business.

It's daunting enough looking for a good quality candidate– never mind trying to find the “perfect” candidate since that adds additional pressure to everyone responsible for finding this candidate. With that being said the three main aspects to think about when looking for a purple squirrel include: Is it worth the time ? should you prioritize finding the squirrel over all else ? and can hiring the purple squirrel impact business negatively ?

Before delving further let’s establish;

What is a Purple Squirrel?

A Purple Squirrel is a term used by employment recruiters to describe a job candidate with precisely the right education, set of experience, and range of qualifications that perfectly fits a job's requirements.

Why Call it the Purple Squirrel?

Quite simply, have you ever seen a purple squirrel, well that is because it is so incredibly rare to find this type of candidate that it honestly, you would have a better chance finding Big Foot.

The Mirror Of The Past

Think back to when you were a student, did you have 3 years of relevant experience in your field of study ?

Probably not, so why expect the same of students today, now one might say “today’s students have more resources available to them” and the simple answer to that is yes that may be correct, however, that does not change the purple squirrel mentality of expecting multiple years of relevant experience for entry level positions.

Is It Worth The Time or Bad For Business?

To hit on the first point which is the question of is it worth the time to look for a purple squirrel ? Well, if you’re an employer, you should probably bury this thought because the reality is that if you haven’t seen a purple squirrel in your everyday life, odds are you will rarely be able to encounter this type of candidate. The person/persons responsible for sourcing this type of talent may have a hard time because most candidates who are looking for entry level positions, may not have previous experience and are looking to get started on their career, but cannot because of this practice.

Should You Prioritize Finding The Purple Squirrel Over All Else?

The second point that most employers need to analyze is prioritizing the purple squirrel candidates over all others, to which anyone who is reading this may want to throw in your opinion, but the thought of prioritizing squirrel level candidates over good moldable candidates, is probably a waste of resources because really in life perfection does not exist, and the idea of trying to prioritize finding perfection over someone who can grow with the business, is what kills opportunities for grads seeking opportunities.

Can Hiring The Purple Squirrel Impact Business Negatively?

The last point to be made when discussing the purple squirrel is how hiring a purple squirrel (when you can find them) can impact business negatively. You may be wondering “well if this candidate has more than required experience, why would it be a bad thing?” it’s simply due to the fact that finding this candidate means setting unrealistic expectations and pressure for the candidate deemed perfect. This in turn will mean if that purple squirrel does not achieve anything close to perfect they are set up to fail. This is not something anyone should have to go through because when these expectations are set and not achieved it can usually lead to both business and work chemistry being impacted horribly.

Last, but certainly not least, you want to avoid looking for that purple squirrel altogether, since like we said previously, it impossibly weeds out good viable candidates, in favour of trying to attract that perfect candidate. If you’ve read this, hopefully you’re ready to lower your expectations within reason and start considering a more realistic approach to hiring rather than expecting the Purple Squirrel. And you know what the best part is? Next time, you are looking for hires, you will not only make your live easier, you will also help out your bottom line. :) Want to explore the benefits of hiring students, now you can by clicking here.

If you’re looking to simplify your hiring process you should take a look at Univjobs , a platform that allows you to connect with some incredible post-secondary talent.

Find your next job

Students are already finding meaningful employment. Create your profile today!