Finding Purple Squirrels: How Using Search Firms Saves Colleges Money

April 22, 2021
Susan Forman

The Pitfalls of Organic Recruitment

As the post-pandemic recovery begins, Colleges and Universities around the United States will once again begin to search for candidates to fill their positions of need.  To do so, many human resource agents will likely place advertisements on their home websites, post on social media platforms, spend thousands of dollars on external applicant tracking systems, and spend even more on ad space on various job search sites. 

This does not include the time needed to sift through qualified candidates, have a committee review them, contact qualified professionals, manage interviews, and process agreements.

Campus Human Resource Managers today are leading various campus initiatives, working on risk management processes, overseeing internal operations, and are focusing on institutional culture. Pulling away to hire candidates may be one of the last things on their to-do list and becomes a necessary evil.

All this effort, and in some cases the drawn-out process loses qualified candidates to competitor institutions. This is a tough outcome when you need to meet specific strategic goals and achieve accreditation requirements for certain positions. What’s worst of all, is that the timeline may force institutions to pay a premium price for a subpar candidate that requires added costs for training or leaves in under a year.

How to Work with a Search Firm

Consider bringing on a partner who specializes in the process of finding your purple squirrel.  In the search industry, a purple squirrel is defined as that perfect candidate that checks all the boxes for hire.  Qualifications, experience, culture, fit, credentials, and outcomes are just a few examples of traits good search firms look for. Additionally, a search firm that cares about the success of their reputation will also work to bring down the cost for clients when considering overall salary and benefits.

According to Bamboo HR, candidates that experience a quality onboarding process are 18 times more likely to stay committed to the organization and reduce the cost of training expenses.  Additionally, while there is a cost associated with hiring agencies to help source qualified candidates, the expense is minimal compared to the above-listed costs of doing business.  The next time your company is thinking about hiring a manager role or above, think about contacting Excelon Associates.  We have been specializing in hiring professionals in higher education since 2007 and have a substantial database of qualified candidates.

*No Purple Squirrels were hurt in the making of this blog.

Contribution by: Michael YakubovExcelon Associates