Are You Treated like a Purple Squirrel or a Skunk?

Are recruiters avoiding you?

As a job search can be either a purple squirrel or a skunk.  Recruiters look for purple squirrels and avoid skunks.  What are purple squirrels and skunks?

First of all, you must understand purple squirrels don’t exist.  They exist only in the minds of company recruiters.  A purple squirrel is a candidate that has all the requirements in the job description with the exactly the right amount of experience and education.  And they can be hired for just the right price.

A skunk is a person who reeks of desperation.  You can find them by their scent.  The same is true for a person desperate for a job, any job.  Recruiters can smell a desperate job searcher a mile away, hence the term skunk.  I don’t think recruiters call desperate job searchers skunks, but it serves the purpose of this post. 

This post is not about the purple squirrel, rather it is about skunks.  The people who are desperate and do things that annoy recruiters so much they are avoided instead of considered.   

People who are desperate have some similar characteristics:

  • They apply for everything and anything that they think fits their skills and requirements.  They are thinking I could do that.
  • They apply for positions they are over-qualified for because it’s an open position.  Someone with an advanced degree applies for an entry-level job.
  • They think their qualifications are similar to the requests of the company.   My husband is a math professor at a nearby college.  When the math department wants to hire a math professor, they advertise for a person with a Ph.D. in Math.  They receive resumes of people who are engineers, physicists, and high school math teachers.  If they wanted an engineer, physicist or high school math teacher, they would advertise for one.  The non-Ph.D. in Math isn’t considered at all.
  • They don’t care about the money as long as they get paid something.  It doesn’t matter if they like the job; they figure it’s a paycheck. 
  • They follow-up aggressively.  There is a fine line between follow-up and stalking.  They cross the line. 
  • They just about beg for the job at an interview.  Instead of showing how they are qualified for position, they use phrases such as, “I need this job”, or “I can do this job, just give me a chance.”

You may be desperate for a job, but as the Gillette Company Dry Idea commercial says, “Never let them see you sweat.”  In my next post, I will give you ways to go beyond your desperation to get the job. 

How can I help you in your job search?

2 Comments to "Are You Treated like a Purple Squirrel or a Skunk?"

  1. Andrea's Gravatar Andrea
    April 1, 2014 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Good article, Arleen! But there’s another reason why some people apply for anything — to comply with State job search requirements when there are no jobs available for which they are really qualified. When you have to make 5 to 7 contacts per week in order to get your benefits, and you can find only 2 openings, you start looking at the “iffy” ones. In fact, the folks at the unemployment office (excuse me, “workforce solutions center”) will often question why you don’t. I have even received “leads” from them that are in no way a match to my qualifications, and when I didn’t apply for those jobs I was told that it was mandatory and I faced losing my benefits because I “ignored” them. I don’t want to be getting unemployment benefits — I want a job. I have a lot to offer an employer. But once they realize how old I am, I think they often assume that someone of my generation couldn’t possibly know how to use all the “new technology.” That’s my biggest problem right now.

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