Avoiding purple squirrel syndrome

14 Nov

Hiring the right people means making compromises.

Sometimes, hiring managers get caught up in trying to find exactly the right candidate who perfectly matches the job description, according to HR Morning. This is called looking for a "purple squirrel" because finding someone who is an exact duplicate of what management wants is about as likely as finding a squirrel with purple fur. The problem often shows up in descriptions of the jobs themselves. People ask for software developers who graduated from Harvard and have 10 years of experience designing exactly the kind of payroll software programs that managers want to have built for the company. By starting with such an unreasonable expectation, recruiters aren't going to be happy with the results. Look as much as they want, the hiring team isn't going to find someone who matches every line of a job description.

HR Morning goes so far as to suggest that part of the so-called skills gap is due to people looking for candidates who simply don't exist. Additionally, employee resumes are often extremely general.

What to do instead
Instead of finding the perfect candidate, why not try to find a candidate who matches several of the major requirements? That was the suggestion of HR Morning. Talent Circles has a few more ideas. Companies need to implement a more active version of recruiting than just putting out job descriptions onto a website and hoping the right people find. them. Ideally, a person should be looking for the right people, and this means moving outside of traditional hiring practices and looking on industry- or hobby-specific communities on the Internet to find someone who fits a certain role.

Additionally, don't be afraid to contact people directly through email with a job you think they could fill. People tend to get angry at big data email blasts. However, when someone in recruiting sends a personal email, the effect is much less irritating. Just be friendly, and think of the hiring process as a conversation.

One way to look for people is to find websites offering professional content, such as HR or technology blogs, and do Google searches of the writers. You may find someone who is just right for the job. Find their information on LinkedIn and get in touch.

The best approach therefore is an active one that emphasizes reaching out to the right people and not being afraid to follow potential workers for a while before approaching them with a job offer.

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