Once upon a time, many years ago, I engaged a recruiting agency that told me their job was to find me the “purple unicorn” of candidates. In other words, they committed to recruiting for the impossible. And if I am being honest, I wanted them to find the impossible. Why? Because I was using a wish list of wants and needs versus a realistic view of the position requirements. I was hitting roadblock after roadblock and could not understand why. Rather than work with me to understand and remove the roadblocks, this agency proceeded to work off the wish list with promises of their unique ability to find the ever evasive “perfect” candidate. I was sold! The problem was solved………until it wasn’t.
You are probably wondering if I ever hired the unicorn? The answer would be no. But through the process I was convinced by the recruiting agency that it was our salary expectations that made the recruit a failure. I should have known purple unicorns were too expensive! And Unicorns do not exist, let alone purple ones.
The problem with some recruiters (be it internal or external) is that they will promptly go to work, blindly following the job details provided to them from the hiring manager. This may be a symptom of them not truly understanding the position (and I am willing to be that is a good part of it), or it may be that there is just a fatal flaw in the hiring process itself. Let’s be clear, the role of recruiting is to not simply enter “search mode” to appease the client/organization. I challenge that the most important aspect of recruiting is to help guide managers to understand what and who they should be recruiting for. I call this the “Realistic Wish List Approach”.
How can we develop a Realistic Wish List?
When we move away from transactional recruiting and begin to truly partner with our hiring managers, we will find that there is a more in-depth understanding of the position and a more collaborative hiring process in the end. If the purple unicorn does not exist, we have to say that and have a plan to move forward in a more realistic manner. It just makes sense to hire for what is needed and not what is wished for.
One tool I have found particularly successful is implementing a Candidate Profile which is a collective document completed by all parties involved in the hiring process. It truly becomes the foundation of the recruit from job positing to selection.
Simply put this document seeks to extract the following:
Do not overthink this process, otherwise your Realistic Wish List will quickly revert to the unattainable. Think of it as a guide to help you get clear on what you need to see in a candidate and to stay away from the purple unicorn!
If you would like me to send you a copy of this document, just send me an email at email@example.com and I will happily provide you with it!
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