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Diamonds in the Rough?

Conventional wisdom has it that the best candidates are found among those that are currently employed, that as recruiters we should avoid the unemployed. Well, with high unemployment, and a very slow jobs recovery (expected to last for a rather long time) there are some “diamonds in the rough” to be found. Sifting through the masses to identify them can be tricky.

Over the next several days I will provide some tips I’ve gathered for mining candidates from the unemployment rolls.

Monday’s Tip: Why is the Candidate Unemployed?

Over that past couple of years I have had many people in my office asking for my advice on their job search. One of the things I have tried to tell all of them is to be honest – put the reason for leaving every job on your resume. My rationale? Let the screener, HR Professional, hiring manager, whomever, know why you left a job or were laid off. Take the guess work out of the process for them. They are reviewing piles of resumes. Anything the candidate can do to move to the “consideration” pile, rather than the “no” pile will help.

Now – that only really works for good candidates. The one’s we’re after!

Lot’s of people have been laid off over the last couple of years. Some are out of work because their company closed, or their division was moved. If we can verify this, we may have uncovered a diamond in the rough. Good candidates, laid off for reasons beyond their control should be able to explain that, and remain positive and confident. Those candidates unemployed for reasons within their control will tend to explain their employment status in vague terms, or actually become defensive or speak negatively about their previous employer.

Look for candidates unafraid to say they are unemployed, and discuss the circumstances of their separation. Certainly then verify the information.

There are good candidates out there in the pool of unemployed workers, and I will continue to provide tips on attracting and identifying those candidates over the next couple of week.


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