Chances are, as a recruiter, you’re no stranger to hiring managers with challenging demands, passive candidates who aren’t interested in your job postings, and an onslaught of applicants who don’t even resemble a culture fit for your companies. If this isn’t frustrating, I don’t know what is!
Leaving you feeling overwhelmed by the highest time-to-fill averages in 13 years and exasperated by the way nothing is changing, the search for your target candidates doesn’t have to leave your career feeling drained. Instead, savvy recruiters are recognizing the ways that job seekers are becoming more sophisticated and adapting their tactics to reach them.
This is called Purple Squirrel Hunting. Picture your ideal candidate: someone who brings with them the expertise and skills your reqs require and aligns with the culture (think: values, mission, team, beliefs) of your company. These people are beyond challenging to find, so it’s no surprise the name “Purple Squirrel” has been coined for their rarity. (But seriously, do they exist? We think, yes!)
Fortunately, Purple Squirrel Hunting isn’t reserved for use by other rare creatures, and instead, can be employed by forward-thinking recruiters. As sophisticated job seekers develop new ways of finding their dream jobs, you too must discover ways to earn the attention of your dream candidates. As you start fostering relationships with these elusive candidates and take on more challenging roles, your recruiter brand (yes, you need one!) will be more thoroughly defined by your outlook and success. There are several reasons why Purple Squirrel Hunting is the answer to breathing life back into your recruiting career and the tactic that will reignite your passion for your job.
Why Purple Squirrel Hunting Re-Energizes Your Recruiting Career
1. Creates Company Awareness
In our current digital landscape, consumers’ buying decisions are influenced by resources they find online and by other consumers’ reviews. As buyers, our power to choose as a result of our own online research allows us to be increasingly selective. For this reason, marketers recognize that it’s crucial to have tactics that make it easier for their products or brand to be found online by discerning consumers and to increase the way buyers engage with them. Once online, a consumer immediately makes judgments about what they see – or don’t see – about your brand. Unsurprisingly, professionals, including your target candidates, mirror these very behaviors.
That said, professionals are sophisticated job seekers now. They research companies and their cultures before sifting through job posts, and most can’t be expected to consider your company without at least a company page. If you truly want to make your target candidates aware of your company (and its open positions!), you need to create resources that populate in their search results that will earn their trust and attention. With Purple Squirrel Hunting, not only are you able to give talent the information about your company they’re seeking, but you’re able to make them aware of you as a recruiter and more likely to engage with you directly.
2. Attracts Target Talent
It’s no secret that active job seekers are applying to jobs in droves. However, not every active job seeker is the professional you need for your open position and worse yet, they only account for about 25% of the workforce. The remaining 75% are passive job seekers who aren’t actively going to your typical job postings. To bring out your target talent – the Purple Squirrels who fit the culture and qualifications for your jobs – you need to describe the opportunities within your company in a way that actually resonates with them and gives them a reason to believe they would want to work there and that they would fit the job. When you recognize the need to reach out differently, you’re making your job easier. When you can earn the attention of your target talent successfully, it’s ultimately more rewarding, too.
So, how can you give the Purple Squirrels what they want to know? Start with persona-based recruiting. By writing job stories that indicate not only the skills required and typical specifications of a job, you’re indicating what type of personas are needed to excel in a position. We all know filling a job means more than checking off a list of skills; it’s about finding the right person. That starts with getting your job stories posted as content the “right people” actually want to read. Do this, and you’ll be well on your way to feeling refreshed with better-fitting candidates.
3. Enhances Your Recruiter Brand
Above all else, Purple Squirrel Hunting can help you keep your recruiter brand as a priority. In the very busy schedules of recruiters, your personal brand is an easy thing to overlook or push to the back burner. It’s crucial, though, that you start recognizing the ways your recruiter brand can not only help your own career, but help you engage potential candidates.
A major element of the Purple Squirrel Hunting concept is that you allow your focus to include developing your recruiter brand and finding ways to get noticed (by candidates and companies who may want to work with you!). LinkedIn, for instance, is a great place to start. You should, if you haven’t already, work to complete and keyword optimize your profile in a way that allows your target talent to find you. Beyond professional networks like this, however, you need to look for ways that are less structured to allow you to showcase who you are as a person and recruiter.
In a recent survey of our readers, most professionals said they would be more likely to apply for a job where they knew about the recruiter’s experience, personality, and preferred methods of contact. Moreover, professionals told us that they would apply to positions they were interested in if the recruiters seemed approachable. In what ways are you using Purple Squirrel Hunting tactics to showcase your recruiter brand? Try finding a place to blog or share your expertise, look for media or PR opportunities, and start getting involved on other platforms that will help talent find you and keep them engaged!
What is the takeaway?
Purple Squirrel Hunting is a concept used to focus on creating simple, compelling, and accurate content about recruiters and their companies. More specifically, it’s about tying recruiter brands to job stories that showcase the unique culture and characteristics of the people who fit a company best. When you focus on developing these elements, you’re giving yourself a better opportunity to reach the talent you actually want to hire, while developing your brand for years to come. The best way to get excited and re-energized by our careers sometimes means we have to shake things up a bit. Purple Squirrel Hunting is just that – an approach that disrupts old school recruiting to help sophisticated recruiters rise to the top.
To learn more, join us for our next webinar! We host FREE Purple Squirrel Hunting webinars the third Wednesday of every month. You can register here for updates about upcoming events:
If you’re interested in becoming part of an elite community of Purple Squirrel Hunters, the Purple Squirrel Society may be a fit for you. Check out the opportunities available to members of the Purple Squirrel Society here!