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Hiring Candidates Who are Unemployed vs. Employed but Looking

August 5th, 2015

August 18th

Despite the increase in the unemployment rate in the USA, it’s still a challenge for hiring managers to find qualified candidates for skilled assignments. Today, most recruiters are faced with selecting candidates from a pool of either unemployed people or those who are employed but casually looking for better career opportunities. Unfortunately, there still exists a general stigma associated with being unemployed. As if somehow unemployed candidates are somehow “flawed” or less worthy of consideration, they oftentimes get ignored.

While it can be easy to fall into the trap of only choosing candidates who are currently employed over unemployed candidates, this is not a productive way to find the best candidates. Unemployed candidates can and should be considered equally with those who are currently employed and looking for work. In the future, due to changes in hiring laws, recruiters will have no choice but to disregard the employment status of candidates. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is backing a bill in Congress that will make it illegal for companies to willfully discriminate against candidates who are unemployed.

Here’s a breakdown of unemployed vs. employed but looking candidates, with the benefits and disadvantages of hiring each.

Unemployed Candidates make up more than half of the candidate pool, and are made up of professionals who have varying degrees of work experience, education and training. From entry level to advanced level candidates, you are likely to find unemployed candidates who are proactively seeking suitable employment. While you are going to have some candidates that have outdated or non-marketable skills, many are back in school trying to learn new trades. With some 48% of all unemployed candidates out of work for six months or more, you’ll most likely find those who are willing to accept less glamorous assignments than passive candidates will accept. In addition, unemployed candidates are usually ready to start work immediately, and also very trainable in new roles.

Employed but Looking Candidates have many appealing factors, such as up-to-date work skills, high levels of education and training, and stable employment histories. However, people who are employed and looking are only interested in one thing – finding a better job. If you don’t have a mid to upper level assignment available, you will basically waste your time with passive candidates. If you have an assignment that needs specialized skills, then an employed but looking candidate is going to be a great resource. When talking with passive candidates, also consider that you will need plenty of time to find a candidate because he or she will need to give a resignation notice to the current employer before being available to accept your assignment; a process that can require several weeks.

As you search for people to fill key assignments for your clients or your company, be sure to give unemployed candidates more than just a first glance. You’ll find seasoned professionals with great qualities, who are just “between jobs” looking for an opportunity to shine in a new role.

Want assistance with finding great candidates for assignments at your organization? Please be sure to contact The Concorde Group  for responsive staffing support!

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