Secrets Out! Top Baltimore Recruiters Spill on Locating Purple Squirrels

If only we got paid a nickel for every time a Hiring Manager, HR Manager, or Recruiter used the phrase, “hard to find candidates.” Quickly, one may process this phrase and think it is referencing the need for a high demand skill set with a low supply of qualified applicants.

Possibly so, however, this particular hard-to-find candidate is what the recruitment field labels as a Purple Squirrel. A title worthy of capitalizing. A phrase when spoken inside the walls of Baltimore’s top staffing agency, you get a laugh. Creative staffing recruiters accept the challenge with pride when they’re on the hunt for a Graphic Designer who was once an Eagle Scout.

Purple Squirrels are far-out candidate requests that fall into a tier beyond a supply and demand imbalance. The art of recruiting is accompanied with a keen focus and astute attention to detail, which makes this panel the top Baltimore recruiters for marketing & creative technology positions. Let’s hear what Purple Squirrels the industry is asking for and what tips and tricks help locate the rare requests. May the best and most qualified candidate get the job!

Welcome Ali Dougherty, Claire Cederholm, and Chelsea Stumm to our top Baltimore recruiter blog panel as they share their secrets on how they navigate the hunt for Purple Squirrels in the Baltimore market.

Have unique staffing needs? Contact Profiles today and see how we can help find you your ideal candidate in as little as two days.

What was a recent Purple Squirrel position you placed? 

Ali: An eCommerce Director with experience in the retail furniture industry and culturally passionate about living green.

Claire: A Marketo Marketing Automation Manager that holds a Master’s Degree, preferably from an online university.

Chelsea: A Graphic Designer that has created logos and badges for the Eagle Scouts of America.

top Baltimore recruiters and purple squirrelWhat is your favorite tool or tactic within your recruiting routine to locate Purple Squirrels? 

Ali: Referral emails. I always ask prospective candidates, “Who do you know?” Nine times out of 10 they are interested in the job themselves!

Claire:  LinkedIn Recruiter, definitely. Although, I recently introduced advanced sourcing tactics utilizing, .edu, alumni, and natural language searches.

Chelsea: Organized and thorough notes within the company database. I contact the pipeline of candidates I have made a true connection with and have confidence in offering them a great opportunity.  Through building these relationships, I log detailed notes in the database to understand what their career motivators are in order make the connection when the perfect fit arises (ie. Work/life balance, creative freedom, a smaller company).

When vetting candidates over a call, what are common traits that indicate they are worth the time to progress to an in person interview?  

Ali: Usually if the candidate has a great attitude and personality – that’s when I know I will have no problem finding them a great job in our pipeline.

Claire: A candidate worth the time understands the value of hearing about other opportunities, even if they aren’t actively looking. They’re friendly, willing to chat through their background and curious about what else is out there. Also, someone who is responsive.

Chelsea: Articulate. I am vetting if the job seeker can hold a conversation with me and make it warm and friendly while we talk about topics, such as wire framing and prototyping.

How are candidates receptive to your help in finding them a new job or career?

Ali: LinkedIn recommendations are my favorite source of gratitude! But it is always nice to get the occasional BirchBox or Starbucks gift card.

Claire: I’ve had candidates be forever thankful about the opportunity they’ve been given. Numerous times I’ve heard, “You called me at the perfect time.” Honestly, it’s just the out pour of thanks that I’ve received repeatedly to be the most validating of my work. It’s all I need because there is so much satisfaction in helping someone find a career or job they really love.

Chelsea: I got THE NICEST review on LinkedIn from a placement of mine.  We went out to lunch and afterwards I got this amazing, heartfelt write up.  It makes everything worth it.

Closing remarks on your success of locating Purple Squirrels.

Ali: Just when you think, “THIS PERSON DOESN’T EXIST!” Marketing pays off and that perfect, shiny candidate comes from a web lead!

Claire: I’ve had the pleasure of working with really great talent. Hearing that they are all happy where they’ve landed is the best reward and why I love what I do.


Overall, Baltimore employers would define the perfect candidate to have a balanced blend of qualified skills, industry experience, education, and be a cultural fit. The reality is the competitive landscape in the digital space creates a hunt for qualified candidates. To overcome this hurdle, businesses are successful in attracting top talent by developing an employment branding strategy and embracing the importance of company culture. Employers also understand the real cost of a bad hire to which they utilize all resources available, ensuring the most suitable candidate is selected in a timely and efficient manner. The Harvard Business Review shares the mindset why the perfect candidate isn’t always the best fit and tips to aim for realistic candidate expectations. 

The rare candidate requests received are not in abundance, but when received are embraced by the top Baltimore recruiters above. The feeling of accomplishment when the perfect candidate does fit the tall order is the payoff. The relationship and trust with the client grows that much deeper, and the gratitude from the candidate is elating to the Recruiters, knowing they made an impact in that person’s career choice.

Ready to find your purple squirrel? Contact Profiles today and see how we can match your with a candidate that will flourish in your organization.


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