The Blue Lobster Tastes the Same as the Other Lobsters: Managing Expectations and The Desires of Our Hiring Managers

Article main image
Sep 2, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

For every two million lobsters, there is one blue lobster. The blue lobster would taste exactly the same as the other red lobsters if it was cooked. There are very few things other than the color of the lobster that makes him different from his peers. However, he stands out and is treasured. He doesn’t have any special abilities and if you touch him, you don’t get three wishes. A lot of hiring managers expect recruiters and sourcers to find them blue lobsters, or the infamous purple squirrel, for their organizations. Is a blue lobster really necessary? No, but how many desirable items of necessity are out there that will make our lives better?


Some managers expect a certain pedigree in a candidate and a whole list of requirements that would be extremely hard to match at even 70 percent. A certain manner of planning will be needed if we are going to fulfill the requirements of the future. We need to manage expectations and have training programs in place to create the feeling that the blue lobster is necessary. We need to eliminate unnecessary pickiness. How do we do that?

We need to present the data and the market mapping for every niche search. Information is available in many places. Let us use the example of finding an AWS Cloud Architect with Snowflake in San Francisco. Indeed is a great place to start mapping your market. Let’s say your hiring manager has given you a budget of $120,000 for this position. You pull up the data on Indeed and find this:


It is obvious that you won’t find a candidate at even a 50 percent match with the budget you are given. Your budget is $30,000 below the average market salary. With the Bay Area market being extremely competitive for talent, you will more than likely have to pay above the market average to onboard this candidate to your organization.

Let’s take a look at some other factors.  How many candidates are available and where are they located? LinkedIn and CEB TalentNeuron can provide you with that data. This data will also help you with your search. Compile this data into a report that is a visually appealing to both you and your hiring manager.

The tough part for a lot of recruiters is having an honest conversation with the hiring manager. It boils down to the human nature of avoiding conflict. Honestly, if we set expectations from the beginning, we will not only save valuable time but money as well. The average super niche search takes around 30-40 hours. If we can cut that in half, not only would be saving money, we would be more productive. By providing data and having conversations with our managers, we are building the relationship. We become more than a service provider, we become a consulting partner.

We need to start having discussions on training. There are so many niche skills on the market and very few people available. There is a labor shortage with some skills that could easily be trainable. Hiring managers require candidates to have a certain amount of experience which they believe will translate into doing a certain type of project or work. What if those years of experience weren’t really necessary?

This is something worth exploring and needs assessments should more than likely be conducted. In order to meet our talent’s needs for the future, we will have to ask ourselves really tough questions and really grill down what are needs actually are. We should really go after what it is we need not what we think we need and have the data to back it up.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.