People First HR Services

The Quest for the Purple Squirrel

Karin Pooley

So the Recruiting team has adopted a purple squirrel.

Our squirrel doesn’t have a name (yet) but it does have a persona –    confident, an excellent work history, always learning, passionate and above all a positive attitude.  We add value and earn our fees by finding our clients a Purple Squirrel, the “elusive candidate,” the hard to find candidate, the candidate that fits that critical role in your organization.

But in order for success to occur, it is first our responsibility to help our clients identify the candidate’s skills, experience, education and attributes in order for us to search and then discover their ideal person. This is one of the most critical yet hardest skills a Recruiter can learn.  You need that trusted relationship with your client for them to value and accept your advice.

I experienced this recently with a very dear and long term client that was not satisfied with the outcome of a recent recruitment.  I knew why they requested the meeting and I knew it was going to be difficult.  However I also knew that if they didn’t value me, my team and our relationship they would have moved on and not taken the time to address the issues with me openly and honestly.  I value those meetings and I always leave learning something and many times it is just a reminder of what you already do.

The lesson I learned was in this recruitment we missed that one critical component – confidently giving our client the input they need in order for us to successfully fill their role.

Have you ever had challenges finding your Purple Squirrel?


  • David Hunt, PE

    How about telling your client that the Fantasy Date doesn’t exist, and that they need to take a long, hard look at what they’re really searching for?

    • Thanks for reading our blog and commenting, David. Managing our clients expectations in terms of what is their ideal candidate and the approach to finding that individual is an important conversation. Have a great day, David!