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Purple Squirrel

Written by

Tiffany Clark

Reviewed by

VidCruiter Editorial Team

Last Modified

May 21, 2024
Purple Squirrel
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The metaphorical term “purple squirrel” is a phrase used by hiring managers to describe a rare candidate who is perfect for a specific job. A purple squirrel is nearly mythical in nature, and this individual has the precise skills, education, qualifications, and abilities to fill the job requirements perfectly. 


The term purple squirrel is also used to indicate that the perfect candidate is as elusive as a purple squirrel. In some cases, the usage of the term is an indication that the requirements of the job are over-specific. A purple squirrel would typically be prepared to “hit the ground running” and handle all of a job’s responsibilities immediately. 


A Harvard Business Review opinion suggests that the purple squirrel is unrealistic and the search for these individuals is a poor use of the recruiter’s time. If a company hopes to find a purple squirrel, jobs can remain unfilled for months. However, leveraging more modern hiring tools, like video interviewing and applicant tracking systems, can make identifying these candidates early in the hiring process easier.


Example of Purple Squirrel


When a recruiter or hiring manager uses the term “purple squirrel,” they are indicating that they’ve found the ideal candidate for a job. 


Related Terms

Unicorn Candidate

describes a job seeker with an ideal and rare combination of skills and qualifications, similar to a purple squirrel.

Perfect Fit

refers to a candidate whose skills, experience, and personality align perfectly with the job and company culture.

Ideal Candidate

is a candidate who meets all the specified qualifications and expectations for a particular role.

Rockstar Employee

is a standout employee or candidate who excels in their position and brings additional value to the company.

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