Should you source only Purple Squirrels?

By Dan Nuroo,

squirrel-1-0Been thinking a bit of late as to what is the most important thing about Recruiting… Is the ability to find that (excuse me for saying) Purple Squirrel, that “unfindable” person? Or is it the consistency of finding great people for your company?

I’m all for the latter.  Finding the superstars, the unfindable, doesn’t really change the world.  Sure it’ll make people happy, it’ll solve an immediate business problem, and allow you to give yourself an internal high 5, and allow you to brag to everyone how great you are as a Recruiter.

Here’s my theory.  All companies have their Superstars, all companies have their good, ordinary people, those people who just get things done, and ALL companies will have a bottom 10 percent.  You know that magical number that some companies brag about purging year on year!  Sorry if that offends anyone, but seriously, it is a mathematical fact that there will be a bottom 10%.

When you look at the success of sporting clubs, they all have their stars, those people who can win the unwinnable game for you.  But that only happens occasionally, not every week.  Ultimate success is found over an entire season, and that success comes from a consistency of performance across the whole year, not just the occasional piece of brilliance.  Don’t get me wrong, that piece of brilliance is amazing and a great tool to have and everyone strives for that piece of superstardom, but let’s keep it in perspective.

“You’re only as strong as your weakest link” is a great saying.  You need every person pulling in the same direction, doing their job and doing it well, when someone stuffs up it can have an effect on the whole team, or company.

Here’s the thing, every company I see marketing itself in the employment space will say something along the lines of “We only hire the best” “We hire the top 2%” blah blah blah.  Well that’s great, but managing a whole team of “Superstars” who normally have the ego to go with it is another challenge unto itself.  Especially if you as an organization have targeted, pitched to and  coerced someone to join you.  You do need a mix.

When we sit down and look at our hiring strategies going forward, yes we plan to hire superstars, we will hire superstars which will help our company grow in the direction we want it to go, but, our focus is always on consistency of hire, let’s minimize the gap between our best and our worst, let’s build a consistency that will make us better as a whole.  Let’s face it, those superstars tend to hire themselves.   If they are looking for a change, or you’ve been able to position your company to a point that they are looking for a change, and you’re it, then the hard work is done.  All you need to do is identify, engage and provide the environment for the deal to be made.

The meat and potatoes of Recruitment however is in the rank and file hiring.  The people who do all the “Real work” for you.  The one’s you’ll attract via a job board (yes they still exist and are effective!) .  The hard yards is the constant interviewing, cv reviewing etc to uncover people who will make a long term benefit to your business.  Not lowering your standards when the CEO is at your desk screaming at you to fill x amount of vacancies in y amount of time.  Remember this consistency is the benefit you’ll bring to the business as they underpin the business as a whole.