The Purple Unicorn

Employer: I need a temp

Recruiter: I’ll be happy to get this off of your plate.  What type of temp are you looking for?

Employer: I just need an Admin

Recruiter: Okay, what are the key job functions you would like the Admin to perform?

Employer: Answer the phones mainly but advanced knowledge of QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel, and if the person knows photoshop that’s a huge plus.  Oh and the person needs to be fluent in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

Recruiter:  What is the pay rate you are willing to offer

Employer: $12.00 per hour

Purple Unicorn


Not surprisingly, this scenario is very common. Many small business owners and even large corporations try to find that “All in One” employee.  What the employer is really saying in the scenario above is that he is looking for an Administrative Assistant, Receptionist, Marketing support, Bookkeeper, and Bilingual Customer Service person.

Perhaps your budget can only support one additional staff member right now, that’s okay! There’s nothing wrong with being efficient and combining roles. However, you have to understand pay scales, job titles, and your local job market.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Which position or role is more critical to growth of company?
  • Which position or role allows my key revenue generators to focus on their job?
  • What is the average pay scale that administrative assistant are earning in my local market?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you decided what role to hire for first so that you’re not searching for a purple unicorn. i.e. someone who doesn’t exist.


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