Recruit a “Purple Squirrel” Mechanical Engineer

by Susan Henson
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In the recruiting world, there is an elusive creature called a Purple Squirrel, and every recruiter, at one point in their career has been sent on a quest to find one. Typically, a search for a Mechanical Engineer is not that difficult, but one specialized in acoustics? Those candidates are hard to find.

What is a Purple Squirrel?

A Purple Squirrel is a term used by recruiters to describe an elusive job candidate, one with the perfect—if not mythical—combination of specialized skills, experience, and education that is an answer to an employer’s prayers. However, most of the time, finding candidates that meet the requirements of the job description is about as easy as…you guessed it, finding a purple squirrel. Needless to say, the search can continue for months. 

Talent Acquisition Rock Star

Our first story is from Rob Short, Senior Direct Hire Staffing Manager. His Purple Squirrel quest? Find an engineer who can design mechanical valves. “Okay,” said Rob. “No problem.” But the kicker? This person needed experience designing mechanical valves that when operated, made no noise. Not a squeak or a click or even a whisper. Total silence. Why? This client manufactured submarines for the military, and that requires total silence. 

Finding a Purple Squirrel

So how did Rob do finding his client this Purple Squirrel candidate? 

Pretty good! “The search took 200 days, but I think that’s pretty good considering when I started searching I could not find anybody with specialized engineering experience with acoustic technology.”

“When I am given a really difficult recruiting assignment by one of my clients, I start by evaluating the job description and helping my client really assess the most important responsibilities of the job, then I focus my search based on that. Then once I find a few candidates to put at the top of the list, we can look at the other skills candidates can bring to the table,” Rob explained. 

“One of the things I really like about my job is learning. One of my mentors told to to ‘always be curious’ and I have taken this advice to heart. I now know a thing or two about silent mechanical valves and submarines. But the most important thing in this assignment – I found the right person for the job. Happy client, happy candidate, happy me.” 

If you need to hire a specialized engineering candidate, Amtec can help! We are connected to a vast network of quality engineering candidates and our talented recruiters like Rob Short can find your Purple Squirrel.

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