Forget Deer—It’s 'Purple Squirrel' Hunting Season for Recruiters!

Deer hunting season has just begun . . . but deer doesn’t appear to be in season for most recruiters these days.

Lately, what most recruiters have been hunting for are “purple squirrels.”

According to, a “purple squirrel” is “a recruiter's term for the elusive candidate, with exactly the right qualifications and experience, to match the client’s role.”

However, in recent months, companies have been making the “purple squirrel” . . . even more purple. If that’s possible.

Many companies that have issued job orders to recruiters have been holding out for “purple squirrel” candidates, candidates who have ALL of the qualifications, ALL of the criteria, the “must-haves,” the “want-to-haves,” and everything else that the companies are looking for—and then some. Think an “11 on a scale of 10.”

Recruiters can’t prove that the “purple squirrel" candidate doesn’t exist (one of the maddening characteristics of the “purple squirrel”), so recruiters have no choice but to continue searching for them. After all, job orders are tough to come by these days.

But unfortunately, for some companies, even “purple squirrels” aren’t enough. When presented with one, officials sometimes decide they want a different breed of “purple squirrel” or their “purple squirrel” candidate starts to grow brown fur during the interview process.

While it’s true that economic conditions across the country may be better than they have been in recent months, are companies still looking predominately for “purple squirrels” . . . or has their need to hire become so great that they’re willing to loosen the requirements? Furthermore, what steps have you taken combat the “purple squirrel” job order?

I welcome your feedback, thoughts, and opinions.

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