Hunting a Unicorn

So, your business needs a new employee, and the good news is that there is an array of potential employees on the market all hoping to land themselves a new job!

In theory, the process should be simple; however, it’s not always the case. Finding the perfect candidate, who can start at the right time, at the right salary, and has the right personality to fit in with the rest of the team is what we, in the recruitment world, call the ‘unicorn’.

Employers looking for their next unicorn can waste a lot of time in doing so, and are often left dissatisfied with the end result. They build the candidate up to be perfect, putting them on a pedestal, when the reality is no-one is perfect. Flaws not seen at the interview start to show as they’ve been in the role for a while, leaving the employer and team disappointed.

Finding a unicorn takes time. If they are really the ‘perfect’ candidate, they are unlikely to be readily available, or easily poached. In fact, they may not even be interested. So while you’re search continues, more work is creeping in, putting extra stress on current employees. And what’s worse is that you may never find your unicorn, so you’ll never be satisfied with the person you do hire, which is through no fault of their own.

So, how can you improve your chances of finding the perfect candidate? Firstly, look at the job specification and what exactly it is you’re looking for, what skills are essentials, and which are desirables. Rather than demand every possible skill you can think of, ask yourself, what does this person need to do day-to-day to get the job done? Once this is identified anything else you need to find out can be asked at the interview. Hiring a new employee with a great set of core skills who you can teach the role to is a lot better than hiring no one at all.

So remember, it’s great to hunt for that unicorn and have the perfect person in mind, but use your unicorn checklist as more of a guide so that you don’t miss out on other great talent that could be out there. Allowing some flexibility in the role requirements could actually surprise you and provide even greater results than you initially expected.


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