The Excuses Don’t Excuse Them

Good morning Boomers.

This morning I read an interesting post on LinkedIn.  A recruiter weighed in on why employers might be taking the “unemployed need not apply” stance when filling open  positions.  While he wasn’t making excuses, he was trying to shine some light on why they might feel the way they do.  On further scrutiny, the excuses don’t excuse them. 

Excuse 1:  Expediency.  They do it to cut down on the avalanche of applicants they receive for every job posting.  By eliminating the unemployed, they can whittle down the numbers to more manageable levels so they can screen and interview in a more timely fashion.  What?

So by eliminating the unemployed and only looking at candidates who already have jobs, they get….. what?  More qualified applicants?  Better candidates?  Candidates whose qualifications, whose experiences, whose skills, whose achievements match what they are seeking? 

Gee, correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn’t you think some of those disqualified resumes/applications might have fit the bill too?  Here’s a novel approach.  Use   screening software to match applicants to job requirements.   Be ruthless if you want and only interview the very best matches.  But why eliminate the unemployed before even giving them a look?   

Excuse 2:  Perception

This is a two-part excuse.  Part one relates to performance.  According to the recruiter, “basic human nature is to view working candidates in a more favorable light than an unemployed candidate and no matter what the true facts are, there is always that irrational but nagging suspicion that someone is out of work for performance reasons.”  

Part two relates to star power.  According to our recruiter, “companies might also rationalize that a currently working person is the best in their field since they managed to avoid the layoffs that so many others experienced in their industry.”

Under usual circumstances both parts of this perception could be true.  But these are unusual circumstances.  Companies and whole industries have shed massive numbers of employees and the process continues.   

Can CEO’s, HR professionals, and recruiters really believe that those caught up in the present economic tsunami were all let go for poor performance and that none of them were the best in their fields, that none of them were “stars”?  

By the way, why is that passive candidate looking?  Are more layoffs on the horizon?  Another downsizing ready to hit?  Some other trigger to jump?  Better move fast.  Don’t tarry or your “perfect” candidate just might fall into the untouchable pool – you know, become one of the underperforming, non-star, non-viable unemployed. 

Excuse 3:  Skills

According to our recruiter, employers “may believe that those currently working passive candidates are more likely to be up to speed in their industry niche, and would therefore require less training than someone who has been out of work for a while … that they could more easily hit the ground running.”

This one could be true….BECAUSE YOU WON”T HIRE THE UNEMPLOYED!  The longer they sit on the sidelines, the more “rusty” they may become.  So employers have created this self-fulfilling prophecy that they now rationalize as a good reason to pass over anyone who is unemployed.

Here’s a novel approach.  As an employer with jobs to fill, why not eliminate employed candidates from your searches?  After all, your perception is that since they already have jobs they must be stars, they must have the best skills, their employers must love them, right?  My perception is that means they will be very expensive.  They’ll probably be very demanding.  You’ll probably have to jump very high to get them and you’ll likely have to keep on jumping high to keep them.   And it won’t be very expedient hiring them.  They’ll have to connive, perhaps lie to meet you for an interview, or two, or three.  They’ll likely play your offer against their current compensation to see if they can get a raise instead of joining your company. 

On the other hand, I perceive that the unemployed would be so grateful.  They would work hard.  They would kill themselves trying to make you money.  They wouldn’t try to negotiate a higher salary at the first signs of renewed economic life.  They wouldn’t jump ship the minute they got bored.  They wouldn’t whine or complain or ask for more of anything, at least for a while.  Can you say the same for the “stars” you currently prefer?     

But gee.  Eliminating the employed from consideration would be wrong wouldn’t it.  Eliminating a whole class of candidates based upon such prejudices, such biases, such perceptions would be wrong.  It would be unfair.  It would be shortsighted.  It would be mean.  It isn’t their fault that they still have jobs while so many others don’t so why should we punish them? Why indeed.

We don’t advocate making bad hires.  We understand that businesses need the best candidates to survive.  But we have a problem with employers who assume that the rolls of the unemployed couldn’t possibly harbor any of the best.  Because some of the very best are out there, looking, seeking, hoping.  Soon they will be begging.  Stop making excuses and give them a chance.


One Response to “The Excuses Don’t Excuse Them”

  1. Joyce Laura Says:

    This excuses are really mean, proving the manor in wich today hiring works: demoralizing.

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