Just What is a ‘4 Leaf Clover Candidate’? We Explain

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The terms ‘4 leaf clover candidate’ and ‘four leaf clover candidate’ have been cropping up on the Internet, but an explanation of just what exactly is a 4-leaf clover candidate is even more impossible to find than an actual four-leaved clover! Does it mean that the candidate is lucky, maybe even charmed? Or is it another term for a unicorn candidate – i.e. one that is so wonderful as to be nearly mythical? We explain.

Essentially, the four leaf clover candidate is akin to the unicorn candidate, only with slightly better odds. The odds of finding an actual four leafed clover, on your first try, are estimated to be about 1 in 10,000. While the odds of finding that perfect job candidate may be slightly better, the odds are still not in favour of finding the perfect candidate right off the bat. Or even off the 2nd, 3rd, or 10th bat.

Stephanie Jacobsen, who describes herself as a “Customer Success Manager with a passion for talent acquisition and employer branding” equates the 4-leaf clover candidate with “the perfect candidate”. In her article over on LinkedIn, How to Find Your Four-Leaf Clover of a Candidate, Jacobsen explains that “As recruiters utilizing LinkedIn Recruiter, we have many search features available to us to find candidates; however, many of us rely on only one or two of these out of habit. But what we don’t realize is that by limiting ourselves to only our familiar features, we could be missing out on finding those four-leaf clovers before our competitors do.”

(She then goes on to explain how to do a boolean search – which immediately endeared her to our geeky hearts – along with other search options to find better, and possibly even four leafed clover-like, candidates.)

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Curiously, it seems that Jacobsen is one of the first, if not the first, persons to use the term ‘4 leaf clover candidate’ on the Internet, but she certainly won’t be, and in fact isn’t, the last.

What sparked our research here, and prompted us to write this article, was an inquiry from a reporter for SparkHire HR, asking for ideas on “how to find four leaf clover candidates”.

We figured that if we were curious about what is a four leaf clover candidate, others would be too.

And now you know.

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