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Waiting for ‘the one’ costs Swiss companies between CHF 120K and 150k


Geneva- June 2023

Two thirds of hiring managers in Switzerland have admitted to passing up on ‘good quality candidates’ because their company is waiting for ‘the one.

The ‘unicorn candidate’ – dubbed by specialist recruitment firm Robert Walters – is the phenomenon where employers create an idealistic (and often unrealistic) image of who they would like to hire, and in the process miss out on candidates who display strong potential of becoming a ‘unicorn’ within the business.

Two thirds of hiring managers claim that they have spent over six months recruiting for a role, because the company cannot see the potential displayed by candidates who sit outside of the ‘unicorn’ criteria – costing the average Swiss company between CHF 120k – 150k in lost productivity.

Olivier Pietrantoni – Manager of Tech and Accounting & Finance, comments:

“When clients come to us looking for a ‘unicorn candidate’ it is often because they don’t understand the job market. Globally – and in Switzerland – we are experiencing a severe candidate shortage and so to wait for a star profile in an already short pile is not a good recruitment strategy for any firm who is looking to maximise output."

“Understandably companies want their new starters to ‘hit the ground running’, so many make the mistake of thinking this needs to be someone who meets the exact job specification. But that is not necessarily the case."

“Switching your hiring criteria to consider potential over experience can speed up your recruitment process by as much as 3x – and in some cases an individual outside of the job specification can bring a fresh perspective to the job at hand.”

Olivier shares his top 7 pitfalls of waiting for the unicorn candidate:

  • The term is self-explanatory; a unicorn does not exist
  • Slowing the hiring process: On average takes 5+ months to recruit for a role
  • The salary and/or benefits on offer often doesn’t match the unicorn’s expectations
  • Waste of time, money and effort: As an ongoing awarded expert in recruitment, we are well aware of the actual job market. We know exactly what the market has to offer and what it takes to hire the candidate that fits best your needs. Ignoring our advice may lead to a waste of time, money and effort for the company, the candidate and the recruitment company.
  • A unicorn candidate knows its value and often leaves when a better opportunity comes up
  • Most of the time, this candidate strangely looks like the one leaving the role. Take a step back and think about how the leaving professional was when he first joined your organization
  • Not considering the full potential of each candidate and miss a talent who could evolve and rapidly turn into the actual Unicorn.

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Olivier  Pietrantoni

Olivier Pietrantoni

Tech and Accounting & Finance, Geneva

Olivier has over 8 years of experience in the company between China and Switzerland, and now leads the Tech and Accounting & Finance teams in Geneva.

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