WHAT THE HECK IS A PURPLE SQUIRREL?

Posted on: February 28th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

The phrase “Purple Squirrel” is a book by that name written by Michael Junge.  The term refers to the “absolutely perfect” candidate for an open position, one who meets all of the exact qualifications desired by the hiring organization.  Why is it called a Purple Squirrel?  Because the absolute perfect candidate doesn’t exist!  Or if they exist on paper, they don’t exist in real life.

Just think about all of the exact experiences, qualifications, skills, industry segment, location, education, organizational level, compensation, and anything else needed to fill an open job.  What are the chances for an absolutely perfect fit?  None!  So how does that affect you and your job search strategy?  If the purple squirrel doesn’t exist, how can you come as close as possible to become a clone of one?

Hiring companies understand that they must compromise or bend some of the unrealistic combinations of qualifications for an open position.  The question is which are the rigid ones from those that are more flexible.  Here are some strategies to consider.

How to become a Purple Squirrel:

  • Form a template listing all qualifications from the position description or ad write-up
  • Parallel your experiences and qualifications, shaping it around the template
  • Construct a resume paralleling the template as close as possible
  • Create a cover letter and include those 3 or 4 items you believe are most critical
  • When you receive a screening interview phone call have all of the information handy
  • Respond to the questions as best you can, focusing on the template experiences
  • Make sure to ask your own questions at the end, seeking answers to key questions
  • The targeted questions you must ask are called Showstopper Questions:
    • “What are the key issues
      within this function that need solutions?”
    • “What are the performance
      expectation for the new hire during the first year?”
  • Answers to these questions will give you the information you’ll need for an interview
  • When interviewing with the hiring manager, provide alternatives to the key issues
  • Engage the hiring manager in a discussion of these alternatives

The goal of these steps is to get you as close as possible to become a candidate rather than just an applicant.  While there is no such thing as a purple squirrel, you’ll come as close as possible.

Take control of your destiny.  Let me help you succeed in the marketplace. Want some answers to you questions?  Contact me by Email:  Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net

Check out the website:  Mygreenerfuture.com


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