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Posted on 18 September 2020 In Talent Search

There has been a lot of talk recently about unicorn candidates and their importance in working teams. But what is a unicorn candidate, and why does your company need one?

With businesses of all kinds facing increased competitiveness in their industries, finding ways to get ahead of rivals couldn’t be more important. This is where the unicorn candidate can prove to be such a bonus for organisations across all sectors. Yet, many business leaders are completely unaware of the term, let alone the reasons why they should be attracting and retaining one. In this article, we’ll look at the definition of this buzzword and discuss the reasons why teams that manage to find the unicorn are able to grow and thrive so successfully.

What Is A Unicorn Candidate?

The first question that many business leaders are asking is “what is a unicorn candidate”? In fact, this is just a popular modern term for the perfect employee. Someone who has a positive mental attitude, who is loyal, high-performing and productive. While these are traits that employers are always seeking in their candidates, they are surprisingly difficult to find in a single individual. An employee with dedicated, focus, efficiency and good interpersonal skills who can also fit well into the company’s working culture is so rarely seen that it is almost as elusive as a unicorn. This is where the term has come from.

Although perfect employees are challenging to find, particularly in today’s modern business climate, settling for under-performing or even average candidates is unacceptable. Therefore, as a business leader, you need to know how to attract, recruit and then retain those all-elusive unicorns to your organisation.

Tips For Sourcing Unicorns

We’ve already discussed the fact that unicorns are hard to find, but one of the best ways to find them is to rely on current team members. Workers will usually only recommend potential candidates to their managers if that person is fit for the role and has the appropriate background. Not only that, but the employee is also invested in the success of their referral, so they will be more likely to help them to achieve highly in the workplace. Rolling out referral bonuses for employees delivering talented job candidates is a great way to encourage this kind of recruitment tactic.

It’s important to accept that an ideal unicorn candidate will probably already be in employment elsewhere. This is why it’s important to advertise vacancies as widely as possible by using not only regular job boards but also on your business website and on social media platforms. Reaching both passive and active jobseekers is vital if you’re going to find the best unicorns for your team.

When creating job descriptions for these adverts, it’s important to draft them correctly. Compelling and accurate descriptions are imperative if you’re going to attract unicorn candidates to apply. Using interesting and descriptive words is also important. You don’t want high-performing potential candidates to be so bored and uninspired that they look elsewhere. Yet you also need to be honest and concise – paint a clear but brief picture of why somebody would want to work for your organisation.

Conveying your brand is also vital these days. More job seekers than ever before are interested in the culture of the company they’re applying to work for and whether it’s the right fit for them. Taking proactive steps to make your brand stronger and more positive is essential, and you can do this long before you start hiring by posting pictures periodically on your website and on social media platforms of employees working collaboratively together and enjoying social events. This will attract more unicorns to your brand.

Monitoring your social media platforms is also important. Knowing what people say about your organisation will let you know why unicorns are or aren’t being attracted to your vacancies. Candidates research companies in-depth these days, and social media is one of the first places that they check. Negative comments can deter the best candidates from making an application. Make sure you watch these sources carefully and, while you’re doing so, make sure employees post regularly about how much they enjoy working for you. This may be a small strategy, but the results it can deliver are very impressive.

Top Tips For Interviewing Unicorns

The interview process is a key step when it comes to attracting and recruiting unicorn candidates. Make sure that the interview itself is set up to be comfortable for applicants. The interviewers themselves must be pleasant and interested in the candidate without grilling them or turning them off the job. Respecting the candidate’s time is also imperative. Avoid keeping them waiting for too long and don’t drag out the interview with lots of unnecessary questions. The best unicorns will have several options open to them so you need to remember to treat them well if you want them to select your company as their next move up the career ladder.

While you’re interviewing potential unicorns, don’t forget equal employment opportunities. Some of the best candidates may struggle in a traditional interview setting. Therefore, considering alternative interviewing methods is a good way to expand the hiring pool and including people who may slide under the radar or be deterred from making an application due to the nature of the interview itself.

Retaining Unicorn Candidates

Once you’ve attracted and recruited your ideal unicorn to your team, you then need to retain them in the long-term. This can be done by fostering a positive and happy working environment. By encouraging socialisation in teams, by rewarding hard work and recognising achievements and talent, it’s possible to keep the best workers engaged and fully on board with your organisation so that they continue to work hard and maintain the success of your business.

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