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This is an excellent post that I am forwarding to my recruiter friends. We often would have difficulty trying to both explain to clients that these are "unicorn" positions (we didn't use that excellent analogy though) and then, of course, to fill said position. Oftentimes, as you mentioned, the job description was 2+ positions requiring widely different skill sets (a senior level designer who does deep diving analysis as well as business development and can edit the content portion of a website). Unfortunately, many excellent candidates were discarded or overlooked before the hiring company/manager realized that the person they were looking for did not in fact exist.

Thanks for a great real world example. I think this has become a bigger issue as budgets have shrunk, but requirements have grown. A more realistic approach may get companies a candidate that can get 95% of the job done now, as opposed to 0% of the job done for another 18-24 months

Timely, witty and spot on! There's no such thing as a flying pig so why not hire a pig that can't fly and a bird? A more realistic approach to hiring would help meet the needs of the organization AND be good for the overall economy.

On target, showing how packing all the unfulfilled needs into one overflowing gunnysack for a "unicorn" to carry is unrealistic. Besides creating impossible search expectations, it lazily permits management to avoid fixing the problems. Instead of using more available tools, tapping into existing KSAs or re-engineering the functions, they can roll their eyes and sigh deeply, claiming that the highly unlikely (if not completely impossible) appearance of an unprecendented "unicorn" would solve everything.

I am so happy this posting struck a chord in people. The Unicorn concept started for me years ago as the "Unified Theory of Someone Who Can Do Anything". In morphed in Unicorn since it came across as something more friendly and approachable!

While this has always been an issue, our current budget woes have made it much worse. With all of the unemployed talent out there, there should be ANY position at a company that goes unfilled.

So - Compensation Department - please go out and benchmark this job and tell us what the market is for it!

Right, I could give you three examples of the universe before I could give you benchmark data on that mythical and elusive position.

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