Unicorns do not exist

Unicorns do not exist

Unicorns do not exist. They are present in cartoons and bedtime stories but have nothing to do with reality.

So, what does it have to do with recruitment? Everything!

Let me give you a scenario:

A manager comes to me with a job for which I should find candidates. The description of the requirements takes around 30 minutes, which is relatively long. However, the problem I encounter does not come from the length of the conversation, but the list of expectations that grows continuously. Instead of 3-7 core requirements, I suddenly face a list in which 15 to 20 expectations are mentioned which also pretty often contradict each other.

Here are a few examples:

QA profiles: one needs to have a proof of his/her automation experience and, at  the same time, be willing to work on manual tasks for a longer period of time.

Manager profiles: one needs to show he/she has technical skills, solid managerial experience gained in several organizations, but at the same time he/she cannot be a job hopper, and to top that off this person should also be still willing to manage a team of 6-7 specialists.

Developer profiles: one needs to show great technical experience, openness to work on support, be able to face client and open to travel when this would be needed (the range says 0-50% of travels).

That doesn’t sound reasonable, does it?

Now and then I hear that if you cannot phrase in three sentences what do you need, then you do not truly know what the thing you are looking for is. Somehow, I feel that this applies to the above as well.

From my experience I know that 95% of the people we talk to do not meet all the requirements that are listed. People differ from each other and there is no such a thing as a strict pattern or employee template. Indeed, on some occasions you find that one and only person that you just know you’ve been searching for all this time.

This is where you will stand at the crossroads and decide whether to accept this candidate who meets nearly all the requirements for the vacancy, or should you continue your search for the ‘perfect’ candidate, a unicorn?

Have you ever considered the costs (money, time, resources, energy, patience)?!

Do you think it was worth all the struggle?

I’ll share with you a little secret: There is no such a thing as a perfect candidate, so you’re probably spending too much of your time finding this ‘unicorn’.

Even when you think you’ve found the ideal candidate, only time will tell if this candidate is, indeed, perfect. This is what we have probationary periods for. It could be that, even though the candidate has stellar expertise, he/she might not be able to get along with the rest of the team. Because of personal issues, your ideal employee may be forced to leave your company after 2 months. This is something you cannot determine by the recruitment process. Life will verify this for you at its own pace.

Unicorns don’t exist. You won’t be one and neither will I. You might be an exceptional horse, an expert in your field, which will be perfectly fine. That’s life.

Take it from me, maybe instead of looking for unreal figures , take the wheel and steer your current colleagues into a better for of themselves. Become great by creating, empowering and enabling greatness, not by expecting one from the very first moment.  

And last but not least:

Don’t call yourself exceptional – keep accepting challenges and becoming amazing;

Don’t look for ideals - start developing them;

Don’t live in a world of fantasy – stay realistic and use your ability to make the dream come true;