Purple squirrel is a term used by employment recruiters to describe a job candidate with precisely the right education, experience, and qualifications that perfectly fits a job’s multifaceted requirements. In theory, this prized “purple squirrel” could immediately handle all the expansive variety of responsibilities of a job description with no training and would allow businesses to function with fewer workers. In 2012, then-Google recruiter Michael B Junge published a popular job search and career book Purple Squirrel: Stand Out, Land Interviews, and Master the Modern Job Market. 
A November 13, 2000 a PR Newswire article cites the recruiting industry publication "Purple Squirrel". Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant Richard A. Camilleri states that he knows when the phrase was coined, but provides no dates or the name of the client who said it.
The assumption is that the perfect candidate is as rare as a real-life purple squirrel.
- ‘Purple Squirrels’ Now In Demand, CBS, (October 11, 2010).
- Hiring the purple squirrel - Portland Unemployment, Examiner, (July 23, 2009)
- "purple squirrel". Urban Dictionary. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- "Finding Retail Talent in Twitter Era Adds to Challenges". Bloomberg. 2012-04-27. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- Richard Perrin, Real world project management: beyond conventional wisdom, best practices, and project methodologies, John Wiley and Sons, 2008 ISBN 0-470-17079-4 page 215
- Alison Doyle, The Mystery of the Purple Squirrel, June 19, 2012
- Sendouts.com Ad Capitalizes on Absentee President; Rodgers Townsend Has A Projected Winner with Its Topical Ad Campaign, PR Newswire, (November 13, 2000).