The Prized Purple Squirrel

Purple-SquirrelPurple Squirrels are very sneaky, skilled, and rare creatures.  They keep themselves hidden to avoid a barrage of questions like “Why are you purple?” and “Can you fly too?”  They have poachers and are aggressive in a lot of cases.  I like to call them “Staffarazzi.”  These individuals can make a great deal of money if they find these elusive creatures, so they continue to hunt and search until they can uncover these Purple Squirrels to send to their clients.

I am of course talking about niche skill sets in hard to find market sectors.  As a recruiter, you understand that certain skill sets are just flat-out hard to find.  If you don’t believe that, take a look for an Alfresco Developer…for less than $100k.  That just isn’t out there.  So, for one, why do clients need Purple Squirrel candidates, and two, why do they have to engage a staffing firm to find them?

Why do you need Purple Squirrels?

For the most part, people have no idea this is what the industry calls these orders.  Say you are a hiring manager, and you have a software system in-house that was created by one of your employees.  That employee didn’t know that skill BEFORE they came to the company.  That means they had to learn it on site.  This employee, for whatever reason, leaves your company.  You are now frantic, trying to figure out what that employee did to create this now essential piece to your organization.  This leaves you with a void that will be very hard to fill.  Now, depending on the technology used, it may be easier than we think.  But not if your budget is still the same for this role to be backfilled…

Why does the budget matter here?  Well, let’s put this in perspective:  If you had the employee before, I wonder how long he has been there.  Let’s say 5 years.  When he came in, market conditions were different.  The size of the company was different.  Unemployment was different.  A whole host of things are different now.  This skill your employee created for him/herself was something that he/she knows is important.  It is worth money.  So, they went and found another role that will pay for that skill directly.  This is how it works every day…

So, when we want to find someone to fill this role, what other tasks did this person perform?  Can we expect to find everything that person was, plus this rare skill, for the same price?

Why do they have to engage us?

You are now asking for something that is extremely rare, in a price range that isn’t indicative of the role.  So, what do you do?…Post it to a job board!  Great idea!  Several days go by without any submittals.  Should I ask around the office?  Yes!  Let’s see who may know someone.  Then nothing again.  Let’s chat with HR and see what they have come up.  Several weeks go by with no luck.  Why can you not find someone?

Staffing firms typically identify these types of needs on a regular basis.  We do this so that we are prepared for our clients in their time of need, such as in this scenario.  We know what is hard to find because we spend hours upon hours working with clients, like you, to find these Purple Squirrel candidates.   We create relationships with these individuals and make sure we stay in front of them so we know what they are up to.  When your need comes in, we may just have the right person for you.  If not, we have the resources, time, and talent to find these people, wherever they may be.

If you need help, let a staffing agency help you.  An urgent need is what we are here to help you with and a complicated one gives me some more excitement in my day.  We can also consult with you to tell you about market conditions, best sources of candidates for the role, and what kind of budget makes sense.

Think you are a Purple Squirrel?  Send me your resume…

Looking for a Purple Squirrel?  Let’s talk about it…

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