Layered collage of rockstar, unicorn, wizard, yogi, superhero and ninja emojis.

Stop the hunt – unicorns don’t exist.

When looking for an asset to hire on to your team, it’s tempting to ask for it all: a ninja, a rockstar, a guru, a unicorn, a wizard, a superhero…a purple squirrel? It is about time we become realistic in our search for the “perfect” job candidate.

If you are not starting a band, your job listing should not be asking for a rockstar. Unless of course, your team is craving someone temperamental with an uncheckable ego to fill a role that is under a constant pressure to perform. Instead, widen your search to job candidates that are driven, accomplished, motivated or passionate. 

We hope you aren’t looking for someone trained in espionage or the art of war to join your corporate office…Nor do we advise that you seek someone skilled in sneakiness, secrecy and sabotage. Ironically, hiring a “ninja” for your team is the antithesis of fostering a company culture of transparency. Organizations transparent with employees tend to be more successful in areas like employee engagement, company culture, and employees feeling valued, says Bamboo HR. In addition, a transparent work environment fosters comfortability which encourages employees to freely communicate, and also sparks creativity in collaboration.

Superheroes, unicorns and wizards aren’t real. However, hiring managers can find the traits they’re looking for by evaluating someone’s career experience, professionalism and multitasking or organizational skills.

Many of the corporate buzzwords used to jazz up job descriptions end up dissuading diverse candidates from applying due to gender bias. Using superlatives in excess can discourage applications from women, as they are less likely than men to brag about their accomplishments. Keep job listings neutral, and use professional terms like engineer, project manager, etc.; using a traditionally masculine term like “ninja” to describe your ideal candidate can deter qualified female candidates from even applying.

While expertise is important when filling a role, a guru is not what your company is looking for. Knowledgable employees accept that they do not know everything, and the greatest asset to a team is a coworker that is adaptable and open to growth. Coachability is a skill far greater than being a “guru.” Coachable people have a willingness and eagerness to learn and develop, with the ability to improve and change.

(Not to mention, the casual use of the term guru in place of simply being knowledgeable is dismissive of the word’s religious history and importance. Best to remove it from your vocabulary all together.)

Every company is looking for a business savvy, go-getter super human. Quit trying to hire a ninja, guru, unicorn, and wizard. Vague descriptions or meaningless jargon are useless in the search for the right member of your team. People are more complex than an oversaturated recruiting phrase, so it’s time we look at job candidates as just that: people.

Instead of searching high and low for a purple squirrel, as yourself: What will this person bring to our company culture? Does this person’s qualities and skills align with the vision of my company? As an employee, would this person bring the adaptability required to accomplish our shared goals?

Looking to grow your team with the right kind of people? Reach out to us! Here at Broadstaff, we’re in the business of people – not staffing. We have a network of experienced, professional and coachable job seekers eager to contribute to your team. Drop us a line or shoot us an email at