You Can Chase the Unicorn

You Can Chase the Unicorn All You Want, But It Doesn’t Exist

Ah, the unicorn. You know… the unicorn. The mythical, colorful, perfect creature that dances and flies around and spreads sunshine and rainbows everywhere it goes. It exists right? You have seen one, haven’t you? Maybe even caught one? Of course not! Unicorns don’t exist. Just like there is no “perfect” creature like the unicorn, there is no such thing as the “perfect unicorn” candidate.

You’ve heard of the perfect candidate; we all have, and everyone still searches for it. The candidate who fits all the requirements of the job but is also going to go above and beyond the required duties. The one who will never leave your organization for another position. An employee who you will never have to check-in on; who has that high-octane personality 365-days a year, and who will settle for the lower end of your pay scale, and never rock the boat. Sorry to say, that employee doesn’t exist either, at least not at the beginning.

Finding an employee or employees can be a strenuous task. Finding the perfect employee or employees can     be downright exhausting. Look across the internet and you will see it can take on average about six weeks to fill a position. That’s 42 days.

  • 1 to 2 weeks of gathering resumes (Even longer if the candidates are not coming in at a fast-enough rate)
  • 1 week of conducting interviews (Even longer is candidates schedule does not match with yours)
  • 1 week of deliberating and conversations with any other managers/owners, also conducting 2nd interviews if your process requires it
  • 2 weeks if the employee you are hiring is currently working and will be giving them a 2-week notice

42 days of potentially zero production coming from that position. I say potentially because you may still have someone in that position that you are looking to replace, but let’s be honest, if you are looking to replace that person chances are the production you are getting out of them is not the greatest anyway.

This time frame could also be more than 42 days. How is that you might say? The unemployment rate in Minnesota as of March 2018 is at 3.1%. Time goes by, and the position(s) go unfilled. Why? Because you seek that “unicorn” the perfect employee, and after enough time goes by you settle on hiring someone that maybe fits 30% – 40% of the requirements, and in 1 to 3 months they quit, or get let go, and you must start your process all over again, and before you know it you are now serving employee number 33.

Sound familiar? Don’t worry, this happens to most organizations, and we are here to help give some guidance to help you avoid your organization turning into a revolving door for your employees.

  • Bring together all necessary parties within your organization (Leadership Team) and look at the positions you have open right now. Discuss what positions are open, how long they have been open, and why are they open. Sometimes the more eyes you have on a situation the more chances you have to find what the problem is.
  • Ask yourself, are we offering a competitive package compared to what the market is offering?
  • Do you have a strategic process in place for hiring employees?
  • Are you looking for intangible items during your interview? Intangible items that go beyond what is going to be on a resume or listed in a job description.
  • Is the position you are looking to fill clearly defined and reasonable?

I know what you are thinking. “Jim, you just added more time, work, and effort to an already long process.” You are right I did. However, stepping in and dedicating the time now can help with your revolving door of candidates, and help you stop chasing what doesn’t exist.

Written by Jim Macdonald, Business Development Manager, United Human Resources • 952.679.8600 ext 104