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Aug 22 2007   8:37AM GMT

Purple squirrels

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Poem: A Purple Cow

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.
~ Gelett Burgess

My mom used to like to quote that one — still does, in fact, with (or without, truth be told) any prompting. I don’t know what might ever have inspired such verse but I’m totally down with the sentiment: I, likewise, have absolutely no wish to be a purple cow, despite occasional difficulties managing being a nonpurple human… On the other hand, if I’m ever looking for a job, I might fervently hope to be a purple squirrel.

In a WSJ Career Journal article, Sarah Needleman put together a list of jargon used by various recruiters as shorthand to describe applicants.

You don’t want to see the recruiter scribble PP (poor presentation) as you speak.

TMI? In reality, they don’t likely want to hear much about your hobbies or your cat.

A search virgin is someone who doesn’t understand how the process works. Which means that they won’t behave appropriately — and aren’t likely to get lucky.

You might get branded a “mortician” if you pull an outdated and ill-fitting suit from the back of the closet (My apologies to David and Nate Fisher. You guys are hired!).

But what’s a purple squirrel? That elusive creature is the rare individual with the specific qualifications that make them perfect for the job. Score: All the nuts.

On the other hand, some organizations ask for a tad much… From RecruiterGuy.net:

Anyone that has been in recruiting for any amount of time has been asked to find the purple squirrel. It’s that perfect candidate that has 5 certifications, 10 years of industry specific experience, speaks 3 languages, is willing to relocate to the Antarctic with 24hrs notice (w/o relo), and will work for minimum wage.

(For more purple cow fun, see these parodies of the poem in the manner of Poe, Dickinson & etc.)

~ Ivy Wigmore

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