Friday, October 22, 2010

Purple Squirrel… Revisited

October is a nostalgic month for me. I was born in October and during this month I seem to find myself reflecting back on milestones of my life. (In between the month long celebrations of my birth:)

One milestone is the launch of my blog… it was on October 5, 2006, after a networking luncheon at the DFWTRN. The topic that day was blogs and how to use them as a recruiting tool to find candidates. The speaker was so motivating that I rushed back to the office and created very my first blog.

Flash forward to March 2010… I receive an email from a reporter in California working for the Orange County Register who was doing research on the term “Purple Squirrel” and came across one of my blog postings. She was writing an article on unemployment in the area and one of her candidates used this term. Not knowing what it meant, she contacted me for an explanation and for insight on employment in the current economy. We had a phone conversation and she quoted me in her article.

Now just this month, I receive an email from someone working for a company in Princeton, NJ who found my little blog while working on a marketing piece about what this company can do for its clients; i.e. serve as a purple squirrel by meeting their needs from the business side to creating the technology. We have connected; I’ve given him my input and am now anxiously awaiting his article. As they say in academia… publish or perish!

Who knew that my little blog would have such a far reach? I’m thrilled and encouraged to explore this further to see the impact in the blogosphere. What is the difference between “Best of the Best” candidates and “Purple Squirrels”? If you dig deeper, you will find that the purple squirrel candidates are not necessarily the Top Tier candidates but rather have a combination of rare or hard to find skill sets and company backgrounds.

In all my years of recruiting, I would much rather connect with a Top Tier candidate and establish a relationship; even if they don’t specifically meet the requirements of my job openings. I can’t tell you how many placements I have made from referrals… in fact; most of my best and most challenging openings were filled by referrals from my recruiting network. And I have found almost every one of my jobs from personal referrals. In fact, my current role with Intuit was presented to me by someone I met over 10 years ago. We stayed in contact and now I am happy to be working for a company that has been on Fortune Magazine’s list of Top 100 Employers for over a decade!

Surrounding yourself with quality is a good practice in both your professional and personal life. Purple Squirrels may get you a fee for a placement, but quality connections will serve you better in the long run. What do you think?
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