Is it me or have unicorns become trendy again? My 9 year old daughter has a few tops with a unicorn displayed on them and she recently purchased a soft toy unicorn, because her friend brought one to school. The unicorn trend is coming back into recruitment speak, just as quick as KMART is stocking new unicorn tops.
“I’m looking for a unicorn candidate, must have banking experience….”.
“Can you find me a person with X but has also lead teams? Yes I know they are a unicorn, but I still need one asap”
How do you know if a candidate displays “unicorn-like behaviours”? Well the unicorn moniker isn’t a phenomenon in recruitment. The hard to find candidates, in an in-demand market, has always been there. Why and how do they exist? The unicorn conundrum occurs because:
- Organisations require niche skills to get from A to B and if they don’t get to B, there is hell to pay 2) A number of large projects require multiple resources of the same skill because the organization has committed to the technology 3) The skill is needed now. Not yesterday, not in 8 weeks. Now. 4) The skill is relatively new in the industry. 5) Organisations haven’t successful forecasted for skill requirements and therefore train up existing staff, so their recruitment efforts are reactive.
Unicorn like behaviour exists within some technology markets. For example, a Salesforce professional with one years’ experience can earn over $80,000, with year 2 and 3 pushing into the low hundreds. A UX Designer with 1 years’ experience can earn over $70,000. A professional with a few years of local Scrum Master experience can command over $900/day. Project Managers are now coming themselves Scrum Masters.
Unicorn candidates usually have many job options on the go. Or they are approached by Recruiters up to 10 times per day. Some can be quite prickly about it too. But many organisations are still tasking their internal recruitment teams or external providers to source and acquire “unicorn like talent”.
So how do you find a unicorn candidate?
Here are my top 5 tips:
- Talent pool your client’s or organisation’s top required skills. Talent pooling is both an art and a practice that requires ongoing attention. Systems can definitely help, but pools don’t build themselves. Pools can help engage passive talent better and create a brand engagement that can last over 12 months before the talent joins the business.
- Deep dive into the candidate market. If a unicorn candidate sits in a specific company, market map the entire division and see how many you can find. Or get to know the candidates and ask them for referrals.
- Reset hiring expectations. Hiring Managers may not fully appreciate market conditions and are occasionally prepared to wait for the right candidate, yet their project success depends upon time and having the right skills. Managers need to be educated by the internal or external recruiter, that people can learn tasks on the job, so long as they have a sufficient skill level. Suitable temperament and team fit is more important.
- Create a candidate avatar. What are some of the things that a UX Designer is interested in? What associations are they apart of? Creating a profile is important, as you can align a message better to attract the candidate if you know more about them, than just because they use Adobe or because you have a ping pong table.
- Go beyond traditional sourcing – Advertising and database. Use google Boolean search and twitter search techniques to find candidate’s digital footprint.
If you’re not using any of these techniques, then good luck in finding that unicorn.