Purple Squirrels: What They Are and Where to Find Them

Purple squirrels are changing the game in IT and digital innovation—but what are they, and how do you find one?

Purple squirrels: A term used by Curate Partners to describe a person with just the right mix of experience, training, skills, and passion to succeed in today’s dynamic environment. They stand out from the sea of resumes and of course they’re the most in demand talent. But the real value in bringing in quality purple squirrels? Seeing a return on investment for digital and IT projects.

Harvard Business Review got it right when they said digital transformation is less about technology and more about people. A person’s ability to adapt to a digital future depends on hiring unique individuals that can develop skills and close the gap between talent supply and demand—and in doing so, it future proofs your potential and that of others.

We’ve all heard of job applicants that stand out from the pack. They’re not just humdrum resumés with standard qualifications; their expertise practically jumps off the page. Essentially, that’s a purple squirrel, and hiring purple squirrels is key to waging in the talent war—and winning.

To us, purple squirrels are sought-after and highly valuable contributors.

“These people are caring, motivated, and represent the company with the highest integrity,” says Nathaniel White, Recruiting Manager at Curate Partners. But finding these “purple squirrels” is sort of like finding a four-leaf clover: often talked about but rarely accomplished. That’s why Curate Partners stands out.

“I coach colleagues to really get to know the people they are working with,” White continues. “To not only search for the skillset needed but the personality and drive to succeed. We look for the total package when we present to our clients and really strive to build solid relationships.”

When it comes to IT and digital innovation, purple squirrels are changing the game. “They are a perfect mix of a genuine person and a value-adding employee,” says Corina Olsen, a senior recruiting consultant at Curate.

These candidates are sincere, personable, humble, and transparent. They are top performers with quality experience, and they are adaptable and innovative in nature.

“Purple Squirrels come in all shapes and sizes; from different backgrounds, locations, and even industries,” Olsen continues. “But the one common denominator is that they will always be the best person for the job.”

These unique hires are seemingly hard to come by, but one thing to keep in mind is that you have to look deeper than what’s on a LinkedIn resumé.

“Anyone can have experience in IT, but not everyone has the pureness that is found in the purple squirrel candidates we place,” Olsen says. “I encourage my peers to really get to know the candidate and to always trust their gut. Things move fast in this industry, but if you take the human factor out of it and only focus on their career experience, you lose the true value in what sets us apart from other staffing agencies.”

At Curate, we not only find current purple squirrels, but we coach candidates and help them reach their full potential to become purple squirrels as well. Many of our candidates become close friends that stay in touch with our recruiters even after they move on to new opportunities. And how do we harness that level of care? By putting people first.

“Curate is full of people that genuinely care about me inside and out of work,” White says. “I am empowered to help the company grow and create positive change.”

Olsen agrees. For her, Curate is the one company she’s worked at where people are put above all else. “We have a family culture in our company, and that translates to treating our clients and candidates as family as well,” Olsen says. “They instill in us that each person we interact with both internally and externally is a human who deserves respect, trust, and compassion—they’re not just a number to us and never will be.”

It’s this level of drive and commitment to tracking down purple squirrels that not only empowers our employees but also motivates them. “The founders are some of the most inspiring, driven, and intelligent leaders I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with,” Olsen says. “They motivate us all to be the best we can be, both personally and professionally. This company never loses sight of what matters most, and that’s people.”

Are you a purple squirrel looking for your perfect fit? A company looking for your next unique hire? Reach out.

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Initiation, Strategic Vision & CX - HCD