Monday, May 3, 2010

The Origin Of The Purple Squirrel?

Recruiters trying to fill an impossible job with an impossible candidate will say the candidate they are looking is a purple squirrel. I first heard of purple squirrels in 2005 while working in my first recruiting job, and I've always wondered where that term came from.

I think I may have found the origins of the purple squirrel, but I can't say I've found the missing link that explains how recruiters started using the phrase.

My theory is that a recruiter got bored and randomly wandered to After trying to actually find the purple squirrel, the recruiter associated Sciurus Puniceus with an impossible-hire-candidate. A domain squatter registered in 1999, probably in an attempt to capitalize on a wave of purple squirrel fever that never generated enough buzz to warrant paying for the domain.

1 comment:

  1. I was very interested in the comment regarding 'the purple squirrel' because in 1980 when I was with Keane Inc. in Boston, MA as a consulting and a staffing manager I used that term in a presentation to a client. At that time, I had never heard the term used and it was very appropriate since my client was looking for something that did not exist. During the next 31 years I have continued to use the term often and lately have seen the heavier use of it throughout the day-to-day in many conversations.

    Richard A. Camilleri
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