How often have you seen a job description that reads like this?
Seeking User-Experience/Visual Design Guru with rock star coding skills to join our team.
Or something along those lines…
All too often the recruiting team at Filter takes calls from clients looking for what we call a “Unicorn.” A unicorn is a designer that can solve every company-wide design problem, while writing code, solving complex server-side problems, and developing brand messaging, along with attending multiple meetings per day; in other words they are mythical. THEY DO NOT EXIST. And that few and rare that do are so busy (usually with their own projects) that they don’t entertain staff and contract positions and it is usually a waste of time and money to pursue them.
When a company goes on a unicorn hunt the normal result is frustration, slipped deadlines and a missed opportunity to hire resources that can bring value and new ideas to the table. Why spin wheels and precious time hunting a unicorn that can design an elegant and cutting edge website when you could hire a rock star designer and a code ninja that can work together to achieve the same result? Budgets you say? You only have enough for one resource? We say, think outside the box. Use that project budget to hire a part-time freelance designer and developer at 20 hours per week each. Work with a Project Manager to understand the project schedule (design hours typically drop off when a project is in development and vice-versa) and create a team that leverages the individual skills of several different people with limited hours.
At the end of the day you will save yourself time and money whether you are a client or a candidate by giving up the quest to hire or become a unicorn.
Filter will be leading a panel discussion about unicorns and why we should stop the unicorn hunt at WebVisions Portland on May 18th.