You’re Open to Hiring the Unemployed. But Is the Manager?

The lively discussion about favoring employed job candidates over unemployed job candidates sometimes includes a dichotomy: the recruiter’s open to people without jobs, but the manager not so much.

Ron Katz, of Penguin HR Consulting, and I talk for 10 minutes, below, about what recruiters can do in situations like that. We also get into what exactly’s behind the bias against the unemployed. And we touch on how the perception of HR/recruiting factors in all this.

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6 Comments on “You’re Open to Hiring the Unemployed. But Is the Manager?

  1. Todd, interesting interview.

    The practice of not hiring the unemployed is tantamount to admitting the employer doesn’t know how to identify future, long-term successful employees so they only want to hire other employers’ successful, long-term employees. This is known as hiring other employers good employees. Employers ought to know how to hire their own good employees.

    The practice of not hiring the unemployed puts the control of who gets hired into the hands of unknown, former managers/employers who may be incompetent.

    The practice of not hiring the unemployed is an easy way to reduce the number of resumes to review.

    The practice of not hiring the unemployed ensures that the employer hires employees who can be talked into jumping ship when approached by effective recruiters. This means that it is not only a poor business practice but also a stupid one at that.

    An unemployed qualified to be hired job applicant who has a good or better overall job match is a better person to hire than an employed qualified to be hired job applicant who has a marginal to poor overall job match.

  2. In the Federal contracting arena, we have a real challenge in trying to hire the unemployed who have good in-demand skills.

    Once we identify a good person, it takes the manager and the gov’t several weeks to approve the person and then often 2-3 weeks to do a background check. By the time the background check is completed, the unemployed person has often gotten another offer which they have taken. Then the gov’t is annoyed that the person is no longer available.

    I don’t like it BUT the reality is that we have a better chance of getting a person hired who is currently employed because they can wait for weeks while the gov’t takes weeks to check credit and criminal records.

  3. Todd/Ron- Great interview on a HOT topic… LOVE YOUR VIDEOS (future/innovative)!!!

    From my third party view, what have they accomplished in the past, that matches client needs, is what motivates me to work with someone working or not working..

    Influence/Leadership is the problem… Learn those skills, you inherit the earth friends…

  4. Nice format and interview Todd. Highly relevant topic.

    Where recruiters can help themselves is to make sure that the slate of candidates that are presented are a representation of the targeted marketplace. Even if you you were looking nationally for a sales position, there are over 85% of the sales people in the US who are working, so it would be a tough sale logically to show a slate of 5 unemployed candidates.

    Just as it would be to show a slate of all male candidates.
    Or all female candidates.
    This raises an eyebrow or two. Its not representative.

    So sticking to the basics of making sure that people have the skills, experiences, and talents associated is the best place to start. Have a strong slate of 4 or 5 candidates (passive, active, employed, unemployed, whatever) – that is “representative” and hits the mark. The bad move is showing a combination of 5 people that are not logical at all. They can’t all be stretch candidates 🙂

    If you are going to put forward ANY slate that is not logically representative of the marketplace – have those reasons ready. Rather than pushing that water uphill, one tactic is to show a smaller very representative slate (3 or 4 candidates) and then show ANOTHER slate that showcases other talent that would skew the logical representation.

    Do the “you HAVE to see this person” or “we are SO lucky…”. If you show the manager that you did your job – and then some, you can get into a conversation about candidates that may fall outside the manager’s box – and that includes the long term unemployed.

  5. Todd, I enjoyed your interview with Ron Katz regarding the dilemma of hiring the unemployed professional.

    What was alluded to but not mentioned is the overriding bias many employers have in the presumption that the majority of the unemployed are probably company rejects. Jack Welch made famous the formula of always be cutting your bottom 10%—thus that brush paints them all. So it’s not surprising to hear about some employers openly rejecting résumés or job applications from the unemployed. The arrogance is insulting to all working professionals between jobs.

    Unfortunately that bias is now compounded with the growing percentage of laid-off minorities. We may be witnessing the revival of institutional employment discrimination that existed before the EEOC was established in1965 under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. An acted designed to halt that kind of decision making.

    Hopefully your discussion on this subject in March, 2012 will address this festering problem in a meaningful way.

  6. I remind managers with unemployed candidate bias that 20% of their own EMPLOYEES have an annual perf rating of Does Not Meet Expectations. So why do they assume other companies have ONLY top performers?

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