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Recruiting Alpharetta Unicorns...

Or any color of unicorn, for that matter.

One of the biggest games in the world of HR and recruiting is managing the expectations of the hiring manager that thinks their perfect candidate exists - you know the one - the candidate with ALL of the 10 things that the hiring manager listed on their want list.

Of course, that candidate usually doesn't exist, and before you know it, you're 120 days into a search.

Perfect candidates exist in other industries as well - in Atlanta professional sports, they're called Alpharetta Unicorn, in a reference to the likelihood of white familes in the deep northern suburbs (over an hour from where ATL sports teams play.  Here's a taste from ESPN:

"When Koonin (Atlanta Hawks GM, professional basketball) -- then only months into the job -- first read owner Bruce Levenson's now infamous email urging the team to be more welcoming to stereotypical white fans, he found the owner's take personally reprehensible.

He also found it to be precisely the opposite of what his research said, and counter to the approach the Hawks are pursuing to this day.

The notion that Levenson's "40-year-old white guy" from Atlanta's suburbs would come to Hawks games if the team would play Lynyrd Skynyrd or put more white faces on the "kiss cam" rang entirely untrue.

Long before the Levenson email became public -- for which he later apologized in a statement -- Koonin, who owns a small share of the team, and the Hawks' marketing and branding staff created a name for this line of thinking, and its creature of fantasy has become shorthand in the Hawks' offices in Centennial Tower.

"We call this the Alpharetta Unicorn," said Koonin. "This is the 55-year-old guy who's going to drive an hour from Alpharetta into the city with three buddies to go to the Hawks game. He doesn't exist. And there is no music, no kiss cam, no cheerleaders, no shooting for a free car, no bobbleheads ... nothing is going to change that."

Every industry has their Unicorn.  Do yourself a favor and pledge you're not going to chase the HR equivalent of the Alpharetta Unicorn this week.


Pooja @ Mettl

You're spot on. It's not just the time lost in the process of the hunt, but also the opportunity cost and the loss of knowledge that could have been potentially transferred to the new employee.

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