How to Find and Attract Your “Unicorn” Candidate

January 17, 2018

An individual with a positive attitude. Excellent attendance. High performance and productivity. Unwavering loyalty.

These sound like some generally nice-to-have traits, unless you are an employer. Then, they sound like a dream come true that doesn’t come often enough. An employee that is dedicated, focused, high-performing and efficient but also gets along with their co-workers and fits well into a company’s culture may seem more like a unicorn than a job applicant.

The perfect employee is not easy to find, especially in the current environment of low unemployment. But, you don’t want to settle for average or under-performers, right? Then don’t!

Here are 6 ways to make sure to find and attract your “unicorn” candidate.

Identify Your Current Unicorn Employees

What specific factors elevate an employee into “unicorn” status? It’s different for individual companies, and by job position. Some companies may put a high value on creativity, while others might treasure dependability. Employers should pinpoint those people on the payroll who fit the unicorn criteria, and then try to snag more employees with their attributes.

Speaking of those awesome current employees…

Rock Your Referral Program

Many employers find their best hires from their current team. Workers who recommend someone will usually only do so if the person has the background and fit for the job. In addition, the employee will be invested in their referral’s success and will be more likely to “show him the ropes.” Fire up some competitive juices by rolling out a referral bonus for employees who deliver job candidates who end up accepting your job.

Accept Your Unicorn May Be Employed

In addition to referrals, you will need to reach employees who may already have jobs. After all, with unemployment hovering around 4%, your ideal new hire is probably working. Advertise your job listing as far and wide as possible. Use regular job boards, but also post it across social media and on your website. Reaching active and passive job seekers is necessary to find your A-player unicorns.

Pour Your Heart into the Job Descriptions

Trash that dusty old want ad that you have used for years. Accurate and compelling job descriptions are key to attracting “unicorns” to your interviewing process. Bring marketing into the process and use words that are descriptive and interesting. Otherwise, high performers may get bored reading your ad and click on to the next one. Be concise and honest, and paint the picture of why someone would want the job.

Convey Your Employer Brand

Job seekers are increasingly interested in company culture and whether or not it’s a fit for them. Make sure you take proactive steps to strengthen your employer brand today, even if you aren’t hiring. Ask current employees to review working at your company on the popular career sites. Periodically post pictures on social media of employees volunteering together, lunches, or training getaways. All of this information builds a positive picture that attracts more people to your brand.

Develop A Thoughtful Interview Process

Don’t forget about the actual interviewing process. Set it up so it is as comfortable to the applicants as possible. Make certain the interviewers are pleasant and don’t berate or grill the job candidates to the point they turn them off. In addition, respect their time. Don’t keep them waiting long, or drag the interview out with unnecessary questions. Remember, “unicorns” probably have more than one option available to them. They need to be treated well so they will choose you as their next career move.


It takes a bit of planning to woo high performing “unicorn” employees into your workforce. They are worth the effort. Start now in solidifying your employer brand and figuring out who your A-players currently are. Then you will be able to use your referral program and awesome job descriptions to reach a larger number of job candidates who are perfect, high performing additions to your team.



Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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