Thursday, February 18, 2016

Embarking on the Unicorn Employee Search

By: Hitesh Aurora, Manager, Software Solutions & Talent Acquisition, Managed Staffing



Unicorn by definition is a mythical animal represented as a horse with a single straight horn which is very desirable and rarely seen.

Hmm… that’s exactly what some of our clients are looking for. A unicorn employee that has some unbelievable, unheard of skill combinations and can achieve everything the employer desires.

Surprisingly enough we do exactly that: find them UNICORNS. Question is how are we successful where several other competitors and HR teams are struggling? Let me explain via one of the recent searches we conducted.

One of our clients who is a very successful Boston Startup was looking for a Senior DevOps Ninja with 5+ years of AWS, Chef and Puppet experience and a Ninja who can code in Python and Perl ..simple. Unicorn I say.

I really didn’t have the courage to tell Jack who is COO that I am working on 12 similar requirements looking for exactly the same skill sets, so finding this person was next to impossible. Good AWS talent is high in demand and are paid mostly whatever the candidate asks for. So how do we crack the code and fill this role?

Our approach is unique for cloud technology roles, we use passive recruiting more than usual active candidate search. Our passive cloud recruiting team started contacting our existing talent pool of AWS experts, searched via social media, spread the word via TalentBin, LinkedIn, Twitter and you name it. At the same time the active recruiting team ciphered through most of the existing job board. Within 48hrs with team of 25 recruiters and sourcers we came up with about 5 candidates who were interested in the role and were good matches for it.

As Jack started interviewing the candidates he found some of them short of skills, asking for more compensation or wanting to work remotely. Overall the right Unicorn did not exist so far. We presented 3 more candidates within the next 2 weeks. But results were same, Jack and his team were not convinced that any of the 8 candidates presented would fit the bill. Moe, our team lead who was in charge of this role, decided to call Jack and get an understanding of the on-goings. 

Moe and Jack quickly came to the conclusion that the candidates presented so far were all 75% to 90% matches but not 100%. Moe requested Jack to interview his top two picks again and tell them what was missing and how they could overcome the short comings and deliver the goods.  Over the next few days final rounds of interviews were conducted and Jack had found his Unicorn.

Unicorn search works when theres a strong active and passive recruiting team with a strong candidate network involved. At the same time there has to be willingness from hiring managers to go the extra mile and keep working with Staffing / Recruiting teams till the Unicorn is found…

Happy Unicorn Hunting ….

--Hitesh Aurora

Hitesh is the Manager of Software Solutions and Talent Acquisition at Managed Staffing.  He builds technology teams by identifying and delivering the highest quality talent in the market using his background in the technology sector, I understand the technical aspects of hiring the right people into an organization and have the ability to assess skills and team dynamics. Prior to Managed Staffing he’s been a Director and QA Engineer at Courion, Akamai, Apple, Quattro Wireless, and EMC


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