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Oct 20, 2020

“We are created with a purpose, designed to thrive and given the gift of work to promote human flourishing.”

And with this declaration on her opening slide, Erin Johnson, Founding Principal of Forrest Johnson Recruiting, opened up her arms and ushered us into her world.

In this world, both hiring teams and recruiting partners play a critical role in the kickoff meeting.

In this world, unicorns can be found after investing the time to ask the right questions and building a comprehensive candidate profile.

Wouldn’t you like to live in a world like that?

Let’s journey together as we walk along a path of fully understanding the hiring manager’s issues and needs, unlocking each potential candidate’s motive and helping both to recognize the opportunity for resolution in the other.

Like purple squirrels, unicorns are those mystical candidates whose resumes shine with perfect qualifications. Sometimes, they’re pink (if they’re passive candidates), and other times they may have wings. But finding one is difficult — so think twice before dipping into your pot of gold (or recruiting budget) to try to catch one.

Convey IQ

As you launch your search for the perfect unicorn, start with a crystal clear candidate profile. A candidate profile is a sketch or a blueprint that outlines the characteristics, experiences, and qualities of a potential ideal candidate.

Erin encourages recruiters to take the lead in kickoff meetings and be prepared with a standard list of questions that you can use to extract the right information from the hiring team. 

Of the comprehensive set of questions, the two most important are:

  1. What metrics / KPI’s will this person be held accountable for?
  2. One year from now, if this person has been an amazing hire for you, what have they accomplished that makes you think this?

As you navigate the kickoff meeting, Erin recommends a broad to narrow approach to ensure you’re covering all the essentials. This approach empowers recruiters to go beyond the job description and get to the heart of what matters – success in the role.

Finding the right unicorns requires that you be present in the kickoff/intake meeting, ask good questions, take verbatim notes, and build a comprehensive candidate profile.

For more on Erin’s secrets for finding and recruiting those rare and passive candidates and to download the kickoff job questionnaire, visit