As a job seeker, you may never have heard the term ‘purple squirrel’ but let me tell you, it is important that you know about it. It is a phrased used within recruitment circles and one that refers to the unrealistic expectations that employers commonly have of their 'ideal recruit'. Seeing as purple squirrels don’t exist, it is an indirect statement to say that the ‘perfect’ candidate rarely exists too. Nevertheless, that doesn't stop recruiters' high expectations that job seekers need to be aware of in order to succeed!
What are the common characteristics of a 'purple squirrel'?
#1 Possess exact skill set as required by the employer
#2 Hold the relevant degree in a subject that the recruiter also holds
#3 Have a work history that impresses even the highest management of the company
#4 Have the right personality to fit into the culture of the company with ease
#5 Have an ideal worth ethic and attitude
#6 Be willing to work hard, for less
#7 Understand that in order to progress up the career ladder, you must pay your dues
#8 Not request an above average salary (even if you think you are worth it)
#9 Be on the same social wavelength as the other employees and management
#10 Have a compelling, interesting and successful first interview
Whilst these may seem farfetched, recruiters often want a long list of requirements to be satisfied before they will even consider interviewing the individual. So how can you improve your chances of being their 'purple squirrel'?
- Research the company and find out the type of employees they have, the events they hold, and gauge an understanding of the company’s cultural fit.
- Do a SWOT analysis on yourself in line with the requirements of the job, and for your threats and weaknesses, do what you can to change these into strengths!
- Be ready and prepared to give an elevator speech to the recruiter as to why you are the right person for the job.
By putting these into practise, you can boost your chances of becoming sought after by top recruiting companies. The more 'exceptional' you become, the more recruiters are willing to provide you with the best conditions in order to entice you to work for them. Remember, it is a two-way stream. But without first possessing the character traits of the 'purple squirrel' you won't get the chance to negotiate anything at interview stage, because you wont even get your foot in the front door!