Not Interested in the Unemployed? Stop the Madness, Please!


Imagine going through your daily routine of researching potential job opportunities and finding this posted in the recruiting section on a corporate web site:

“No unemployed candidates will be considered at all.”

Huh? What gives?

I thought recruiters and human resource professionals were in the business of placing the right people in the right jobs with the right companies. If that is true, isn’t it counter-intuitive to try to exclude those who are the most motivated and anxious to work from the job market?

Unfortunately, these ads are becoming all too common around the country as employers continue to shy away from displaced workers with the fear that they may be dealing with damaged goods.

The chips seemed to be stacked against even those qualified individuals, who have been displaced through no fault of their own. Interviews turn out to be sessions in futility, where employers look for excuses not to hire someone who is currently unemployed or underemployed.

A recent Huffington Post article profiled an unemployed professional, whose plight seems typical of many in this region:

As is the case with many long-term unemployed, Alexandra’s job search has encountered numerous obstacles. “A few places that seemed interested were no longer interested when they asked for my salary history.” She’s willing to work for substantially less than she has made in the past, but that presents its own challenges, “Once they see I have made a considerable amount of money in the past they are no longer interested. One company wouldn’t set up an interview until I gave them my past salaries and told them how much I wanted to earn. That puts you in a difficult position because you don’t know how they will perceive what you are asking for if it is so much less than you have earned previously. One person asked why I would be looking for a job in fast food when I held a substantial position in a corporation.”
Whether salary concessions, career changes or the need to update software skills, interacting with potential employers often seems hopeless to the long-term unemployed, including Alexandra,”There’s just no good way to appease them.”

There are many excuses being given by corporations and recruiters for this unsettling trend. Businesses are trying weed out what they call “passive job seekers”, those candidates who are looking for almost any type of employment due to their desperate circumstances. Recruitment experts say many companies are opting out of so-called passive job seekers. First, it could take longer to get them up to speed in professions that require constant training. They also say people who have not been laid off are believed to be the best in the fields, therefore more valuable.

Sounds like a load of bull to me.

The federal government seems to agree too. Congressman John Dingell (D-Mich.), was none too happy to hear about the ads:

“While I appreciate that many employers are facing unprecedented competition for job openings, to close the door on such a large population of potential employees is shortsighted… Being unemployed is not a choice many workers choose to make. I would hope that companies that are discriminating against the unemployed will take into consideration that this choice is only further contributing to long-term unemployment in our country.”

Testify Congressman, and let’s stop the madness.