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For all practical purposes, there is no such thing as a "Purple Squirrel"; not in nature and not in the job market. It is a metaphor used by recruiters to identify the unrealistic expectations of a client company.

The happy exception is when a perfect candidate, with exactly the right qualifications and experience, is actually found for a job opening. That person would then be referred to as a "Purple Squirrel".

But every human being is flawed, and even if the candidate has all the requirements, i.e. IS a Purple Squirrel, they might not even get a phone screening.

Thus, even one recruiter's Purple Squirrel can be "just another disqualified candidate" to the client company.

In particular, recruiters or HR people use the term when they are talking to other recruiters or someone familiar with the recruiting industry.

The term has been in use for at least 10 years (there once was a magazine called "Purple Squirrel"). The term is in common, but not widespread use by recruiters as of 2009.

Such are the realities of the early twenty-first century job market. As more workers become unemployed, companies become more selective, and finding work becomes more difficult to the point where recruiters are expected to find "Purple Squirrels" for job openings, and companies move ever more slowly to fill positions.
Oy, I am so tired of dealing with that company. I've found Purple Squirrels for them twice and they still haven't filled the job.
by Onerous Ethic May 04, 2010
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A heroin users bowel movement is often called a "purple squirrel". After the intravenous injection of heroin, your poops are long, fluffy and yes, a purple bluish color.
Rod, are you using that shit again? You just left another purple squirrel in the toilet without flushing! Rod.. um Rod?
by pearly February 09, 2012
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a purple squirrel is a creature you might enconter after taking large amounts of magic mushrooms and/or acid
DAMN,Jantzen was trippin in Mrs.Stevens class......that nigga said he was seeing purple squirrels!
by Ur Boi Killa J August 14, 2009
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The purple squirrel is a true legacy derived from the disasters of some dickhead funneling too much wine and becoming nauseous. Suddenly, without warning the person throws up a fountain of purple substance projecting up into the air.(keep in mind that the throw up must reach at least 3 feet into the air for it to qualify as purple squirrel). Then after the yukemister is finished, on the floor will lay a horrifying display of a furry crimson/purple colored like animal that appears to have been mutilated by a lawn mower surrounded by an assortment of organs. It can be concluded that somwhere along the lines this person had feasted on a squirrel (most likely roadkill, because those fuckers are hard to catch and are quick little bastards) and an aroma of grape and yuke will drift through the air for up to 1-2 hours.
After funneling too much wine, Bridge finally yuked a purple creature on the floor...and to our surprise, he showed us all the Purple Squirrel.
by JJ Bridge September 20, 2006
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With all of the layoffs and downsizing and economic struggle we've been having, a lot of people have lost their jobs. As a reduced force, people who are left are expected to be able to do the jobs of 3 or 4 people at once and be happy about it and grateful that they at least have a job.

When the companies have started hiring again, they are (erroneously) assuming they can find candidates who now have all of these very specialized and different skills, in one person. . . a Purple Squirrel.
Prior to the layoff, Acme Company had 1 Project Manager, 1 Computer Programmer and 1 Network Engineer. Due to the economy, the Project Manager and Network Engineer were laid off and the Computer Programmer was expected to learn how to do both of the other jobs and was successful in doing so. When the economy picked up, the Computer Programmer left for another job.

Acme Company needs to replace their employee and now they are looking for a candidate who has the skills of a Project Manager, Computer Programmer and Network Engineer... all in one. Unrealistic and unconnected, the client assumes that because they were able to create a person with this experience, there should be others out there. The quintessential Purple Squirrel.
by Vickkers January 25, 2012
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