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Let's stop hunting unicorns

Posted about 2 years ago by Rebecca Thomas

Let’s stop hunting unicorns.

Specific talent is really hard to find and the time it takes to find someone who ticks all of your boxes could take months.

So far in 2022, the average time to hire is currently 37.8 days across in-house and agency markets. ‘That’s not too bad’ you think. But this is before we consider notice periods.

The odds of you securing someone who can start immediately are relatively low. And as competitive businesses are likewise finding sourcing replacement talent challenging, we’ve seen the average notice period increase. Some job seekers are still on a standard 4 week notice, but many others, especially at a more senior level, are on periods as long as 3 to 6 months.

If you’ve already spent longer than average trying to source a unicorn who can tick all the boxes, the notice period can really be a kick in the teeth.

So let's stop and take a minute to think before we commit to a potentially lengthy recruitment period.

Rather than hunting a unicorn, will a white horse do?

White horses look similar and can be trained to do almost anything a unicorn can (other than the magical stuff of course).

How can I do this?

1) Revisit your hiring brief

Revisit your hiring brief and understand what you could compromise on. Do you have to hire all of the skills you’ve listed? Is industry experience necessary? What can you easily train new people in?

2) Don’t interview looking for perfect

It’s rare interviews go perfectly to plan, but it doesn’t always mean the candidate is incapable of delivering on the role. Rather than looking for perfection, try to understand what their core motivations are, and how capable they may be outside of an interview setting through giving them an interview task suited to the role.

3) Are you being too constrained on culture fit?

Culture is important, it’s what makes your business tick, but sometimes employers can be too restrictive over whether someone is the right fit for their business. Don’t get us wrong, it’s important to find someone who will gel with the team, but they don’t need to be an identical replica. Often bringing different personalities into the business can be a good thing. It can introduce you to new perspectives and ideas, which help to drive growth and creativity.

If you’re fixed on finding a unicorn, this can be done. But you’re going to need to be prepared to invest time and money into your recruitment plan to secure one. If you’re in a position where you really just need extra boots on the ground, then a white horse could be your next best solution to your recruitment challenge.

Fancy a friendly chat with a unicorn hunter? We're always open to offering you the best advice for your recruitment plan.

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Header: Image adapted from Photo by Ivan Samkov: