So what is a purple squirrel?
A purple squirrel is an oddity. It refers to a position candidate that possesses all the perceived perfect credentials, attributes, experience, temperament, and attitude for the job. Phew! Wikipedia refers to the mythological reference much like unicorns!
Hiring is one of the most challenging tasks a manager performs. Besides leading a team, the manager often acquiesces to hire someone most like themselves rather than see the long-term impact. That default may bypass what traits are essential for success in the position and will make you look good as the manager!
Hunting for purple squirrels is distracting and can be counterproductive. The position may shift over time or require additional skills as the company needs change. So, although ideal for the moment, a purple squirrel may not be sustainable as situations evolve.
Here’s my recommendation to create your own real superhero for the long term:
All things being equal, the credentials required for the position are established. Then,
hire traits that best fit the position.
If the environment is fast-paced and multi-dimensional, you want a person who demonstrates flexibility and energy to match the pace of the job.
If precision drives results, you want someone already detail oriented because you cannot train the person to be like that. You want the candidate to slip into the role already day-one prepared.
Talk to your team and survey what traits they believe are required to shine in their jobs and the new opening. Find out how they meld. (I recommend a team profile to identify who is really on your team! Complete the form below to learn more.)
Before interviewing candidates, take time to prepare yourself. Measure your expectations and traits for compatibility to create the best outcome. This will help you focus and you will have confidence in your ability to choose a viable candidate.
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