A Purple Squirrel for Halloween


Are you still trying to figure out what you are going to dress up as for Halloween? If so, I have a great suggestion for you. Why not go out on the town as a purple squirrel?

Now, you may be wondering why I would make such a strange suggestion. Well, a “purple squirrel” in human resources, recruiting, and workforce development circles is an employee candidate that matches the client needs exactly. The Urban Dictionary defines a purple squirrel as:

“A recruiter’s term for the elusive candidate, with exactly the right qualifications and experience, to match the client’s role. The term is synonymous with the term ideal candidate… It may also be used as a metaphor by recruiters to identify the unrealistic expectations of a client company.”

The challenge in today’s job market is that many employers are looking for “purple squirrel” candidates for positions that used to be just regular jobs just a few months ago. The new jobs that are arriving on recruiters’ doorsteps are a combination of standard skills and competencies integrated with new, often highly-specialized, job skills. Multiple job functions have been merged into a single position, driving businesses to seek out multi-disciplined employment candidates; i.e. purple squirrels.

But as we all know, purple squirrels are hard to find, that is why they are so special. I believe that as we move forward in this state, we will have to become purple squirrels through continuous education and on-the-job learning. That means that both employers and potential employees will have to work together to cultivate the job skills required to support new industries, new processes, and new business practices.

So, when you show up at the Halloween party and people ask what you are supposed to be, tell them you are a purple squirrel — in training.