Employer Insights

How to Catch and Retain Pink Unicorns

Bianca Luck Posted by Bianca
min read
Markus Spiske If Cloi6 Pyoa Unsplash

In an endeavour to build the best company possible, I am in constant search for ‘pink unicorns’ to join the people2people team.  The pink unicorn is the most magical of animals and is a metaphor for that A-list job seeker who has a mix of skills in their ‘toolbox’. Someone who thrives on business development, comes with an extensive network of connections, is results driven, can interview and seduce candidates, can job match and essentially in a ‘nutshell’ can RECRUIT!

Pink unicorns are creatures that are extremely tricky to catch. Most believe that the pink unicorn is a paradox that simply doesn’t exist and that it is a figment of our imagination only present in our hopes and dreams. Pink unicorns are normally happily engaged in full-time work and not actively looking for a new position, so if you want to snag one, it’s time to get real, get creative, be flexible and ‘flex that spec’ when recruiting.  So, here are my tips on how to attract and retain an A-list job seeker to your recruitment business.

  1. Be flexible – offer flexibility to those that request it or need it. Life is complicated and busy, so the traditional working arrangement of working 8.00am to 6.00pm doesn’t work for most. Re-engineer working hours and days to suit those who have outside work commitments.  Those that work flexible working hours are less likely to waste time chatting by the water cooler about the latest episode of the Bachelorette. Invest in cloud technology that allows remote access. A recruiter can work anywhere and doesn’t physically need to be visible in the office to be productive.

  2. Job Share – be open to the idea of job sharing where two part-time employees share the work and pay of a single full-time job. There is a large pool of job seekers returning from parental leave only wanting part-time work, so don’t discount these candidates, they are extremely valuable to your business.

  3. Recruit based on skill set – and not from a wholistic approach. “A quality recruitment process has approximately 50 steps which require specialist expertise at each stage” (Tony Hall, Navigator Consulting). Only a pink unicorn can do it all, so strip the process down and recruit based on the represented job seekers’ strengths. There should be a minimum of two different types of consultants in your business: 

    1. Business Developers or hunters and

    2. Candidate Managers or farmers.

A hunter will be independently driven, solutions focused, enjoy networking and essentially love winning new business while a farmer will nurture leads and client relationships, cultivate loyalty and manage the candidate database.

  1. DO NOT micro manage – Pink unicorns are notorious for disliking micro management. Give them the latitude they need to succeed, have an open-door policy and be there to support them when they need it.

  2. Grow your own– Employ a graduate recruitment strategy. Graduate attrition will be high, so recruit double the number of employees who you believe will stay in your business for more than 12 months.  After 12 months with the business, they will be well equipped to develop into an ever-elusive pink unicorn.

  3. Promote from within – cultivate people internally and advance them with the time is right as this motivates employees to work harder, boosts morale and increases retention rates.


Good luck lassoing and retaining those pink unicorns.