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Recruiting the Golden Unicorn

Unicorn on pink background

Nicole Doughton Recruiting Tips

When it comes to recruiting a new high-level member for your team, you probably have a very clear idea of what it is you’re looking for in a candidate. This includes having the right technical knowledge and experience, as well as being a good cultural fit into your current team. You want a candidate who will understand your business, your goals and is someone who you could trust to help shape your future. 

You can start the recruitment process by making a wishlist of the criteria that are important to you and the qualities you wish your candidate to have. You’re looking for someone with talent, who can excel in leadership and teamwork, is able to work independently and confidently, and is ambitious and determined.

This might sound like a mythical creature, often hunted for but rarely found – hence the use of the term ‘Golden Unicorn’. Finding such a rarity in the candidate pool is always a recruiter’s goal, as a unicorn can lead to a real step forward for your business.

However, while it is okay to look for your Golden Unicorn, it’s also important to be realistic about who is available and with what skills. The needle-in-a-haystack search for a unicorn could mean you overlook candidates who would be a near-perfect fit for your team.


Being realistic

Before you start to identify the key criteria you are looking for in your next employee, it is worth understanding the current candidate pool available. Studying the demographics in your geographical location helps you understand the types of people who are available and may be interested in the role you are offering.

For example, if you are looking for someone who specialises in a niche or cutting-edge piece of software you wish to introduce to your business, are there many people within commuting distance who are qualified? You could simply be looking for someone who isn’t there, which means you may need to re-evaluate your business plan.

When you create your wishlist for your potential candidates, try and give weighting to each entry in terms of priority. It’s almost impossible to tick off every single item, so consider which ones are key skills or traits, and which are desirable but ultimately not as important.


Attracting a unicorn

As much as you will have a clear idea of what you want in a candidate, a true unicorn will also know what they want in a company. A person with such a good balance of skills and knowledge is likely to have a choice of roles.

To attract top talent to your company, you need to think about your brand and reputation. Create an environment that people want to work in, and be clear about your mission statement and goals. This will give potential candidates a good idea of your work culture and ethos, which will help attract the right kind of people to suit your business.

Once you have found a candidate, or maybe even a couple, who could fit the bill and be your Golden Unicorn, you will need to ensure your interview is tailored to explore their potential.

As well as the more traditional questioning, you are looking to find out how your candidate would deal with a situation that could arise within their role. Give them a scenario they would have to deal with. Base your questions on whether they have faced anything similar and how they would approach the task. This tests their ability to think on their feet, as well as come up with innovative solutions – key traits for a Golden Unicorn. 


Benefits of using a recruitment agency  

If you’re looking for a specific specialism and locality, it pays to invest in a recruitment agency. Yes, you can undertake the candidate search yourself, but using a professional service will not only save you time and effort, but they are more likely to find your unicorn.

The IT industry is very diverse and the market is often in flux. An IT recruitment agency will understand the current trends in both software and talent and have a specific knowledge of the types of candidates available in your area. They can help advise you on your demographic, which will enable you to create a realistic job description and candidate wishlist.

Recruiters can also be discreet, which means they can hunt for your perfect candidate without making it public knowledge. This is important when working in such a competitive arena as IT. The Golden Unicorn for your business may be out there, but chances are that candidate is also another company’s unicorn. Your recruitment agency can identify top talent and approach them on your behalf.

You can also build a relationship with a recruitment agency. They can keep their eyes and ears open, looking for the individual talent that could benefit your business, even when you are not actively looking.


Find out more about Spectrum IT’s recruitment services and how we can help you find your own Golden Unicorn.