How to Catch a Purple Squirrel

The purple squirrel – The highly sought-after candidate with the perfect experience and all of the education and requirements needed for the role. They’re rare, hard to come by, but are possible to catch if you go about it the right way.


Before you launch your search for the coveted purple squirrel, it is important to understand exactly what qualities and experience your client is looking for. Schedule an in-take call with the hiring manager to better gauge your search. Review the job description and come prepared with a list of questions before your call. Make sure to ask questions not only pertaining to the job description, but what constitutes success in the role. What is the background of previous hires who have had success? How is success measured?


More often than not, purple squirrel candidates are passive and typically comfortable in their current role. Luckily for recruiters, we have the internet (LinkedIn or other search tools) right at our fingertips. Recruiters need to tap into their marketing side by utilizing various avenues to attract candidates via job boards and postings, web design and content marketing. Build up your brand through blogs and industry trends to attract candidates to your site. This will help create a long-term relationship until passive candidates are ready to apply. With frequent touch points over time, there is a better chance candidates will see a job posting that will catch their eye.


That first contact is crucial. If you are able to contact a candidate directly either through a phone call or email, make sure your message is attention grabbing. Make sure to ask questions in your in-take call about the company’s culture, overall performance, benefits and perks. Sure, salary is important, but candidates are interested in the whole package. Use that knowledge to help paint the picture of an amazing opportunity.


The hunt is real. Finding a good candidate with the right skills is hard, but a purple squirrel poses an even bigger challenge. Understand the skills, experience and background desired by your client, offer the best candidate experience possible and you’ll be on your way to convert every purple squirrel into a great candidate.