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  • Ann Willets

Unicorns Are Hard to Find in a Tight Market


“Good luck finding that unicorn!” My new advice to clients with unrealistic sourcing demands.


In a market where there are more jobs than applicants, looking for a one-of-a-kind candidate is like finding a needle in a haystack. Quite often, the perfect person doesn’t exist, especially when the talent pool is sparse.


Frankly, agencies must develop more realistic standards for applicants to meet. At least until the industry experiences a shift in supply and demand. Now, no recruiter is capable of tracking down a candidate based on narrow criteria.


Given the state of the market, a recruiter is lucky to source compatible candidates who are capable of learning. However, many agencies are still highly selective in terms of industry (vertical) expertise and would rather wait for their unicorn to step into the light. Good luck with that!


I’ve been in this business as a PR professional for 40 years. A solid, smart PR person can work in nearly any industry sector if they have excellent communication skills. These candidates know how to connect with reporters, are exceptional writers and quick studies, and are great at wrangling the demands of their teams and clients. Bottom line? They are fully capable of integrating into different industry sectors.


Yet agencies refuse these candidates because of a misguided belief that a PR person from fashion can’t do anything else. Everyone wants a candidate with editorial contacts, but let’s face it, anyone on the front lines knows that editors/reporters change more often than a roll of toilet paper. Skilled PR people can swiftly get up to speed on connecting with new contacts. I do it all the time.


Now is not the time to go looking for unicorns, not if you need talent!



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