Should You Hire a Job Candidate Who Has Been Unemployed for a Long Period?

JobApplicantAt first glance, it looks like you’ve found a great candidate. The candidate has the qualifications you’re looking for and the experience to back them up. There’s just one thing: They’ve also been out of work for a long stretch of time.

Should you take a chance, or pass?This question stumps many hiring managers because there is no clear answer.

Here are the top factors to consider when you’re looking at a candidate who has been unemployed for some time:

  1. How long has the candidate been unemployed – and why? Most hiring managers don’t worry about a two-week gap between jobs. A candidate who has been out of work for years, however, should raise some questions.  Why was the candidate out of work?  What did they do in the meantime?  Looking at things like childcare, personal projects, schooling, or volunteer work can help you determine if the person tried to keep their skills sharp.
  2. What is the candidate’s attitude toward this job and company? Vetting the candidate’s skills to ensure they are still up to date is essential. (Your recruiter can help). But once skills and certifications check out, focusing on the candidate’s attitude and approach can tell you much about whether this person is a valuable addition to your team.  How do they talk about their long unemployment?  Do they treat it as something to hide?  Or do they immediately discuss the opportunities it provided?  Their answer can tell you how they handle setbacks, challenges, and disappointment – a key part of maintaining morale and momentum on the job.
  3. What don’t I know about this candidate? Cover letters, resumes and interview answers are all designed by the candidate to convince you they are the right person for the job. Naturally, things you don’t want to hear get deleted.  Work with your staffing firm to find out what you don’t know about the candidate.  For instance, your recruiter can vet candidates to help determine why they have been out of work so long, and whether or not that reason is a deal breaker.

Evaluating candidates can be a tricky – and lengthy – task. If you are looking for support in finding, vetting and hiring candidates for you organization, consider partnering with a recruiting firm.

TERRA Staffing Group partners with businesses to help them meet their organization’s staffing needs. We strive to show our appreciation by connecting clients to the best talent available – every time.

Contact us today to learn more about our staffing services in Seattle, Portland and Phoenix.

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