This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

March 27, 2013

The Value of Magenta Squirrels

Our favorite Internet recruiting guru is Peter Weddle of In a recent e-zine, Weddle talked about "Purple Squirrels", people who have "especially hard-to-find skills".

People with these hard-to-find skill sets are vital to the operation of today's enterprises. Whether an employer is trying to attract a coder for new mobile applications or a chemical engineer or an HVAC technician or a computer security specialist, these purple squirrels represent the greatest challenge to recruiters today. We see lots of companies in cash-rich positions, yet unable to find the purple squirrels they need to serve their customers and grow.

Magenta is described as a "rare color". That's why it is appropriate to describe the rare 15 percent of top performing purple squirrels as "magenta". We already know that purple squirrels are difficult to find and even tougher to recruit. In Weddle's words, "they not only excel at their own work, they raise the performance level of their coworkers, as well. They are, in a very real sense, profit multipliers."

While, most employers function adequately with "C"* level purple squirrels, they can only thrive with magenta ones. However, in the recruiting process, they're more difficult to approach and even harder to motivate.

In his book "The Career Activist Republic", Weddle describes the personal characteristics that distinguish magenta squirrels from others. They require "special handling".

First, you must be able to build relationships very quickly, because typically, "magenta squirrels will not consider an opening presented by a person they do not know". To establish relationships quickly, recruiters must focus on what "they" will want to know, including what they will get to do, what they will get to accomplish, and how they will be recognized and rewarded.

Second, magenta squirrels are most often already employed. To recruit them, you must talk about "an intriguing career advancement opportunity", including the vision and values of its leaders and the contribution s/he will make to the company's important mission.

* Refers to "A", "B", and "C"-level players, not to CEO, COO,CFO, etc.

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