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January 29, 2014 / Molly Moseley

Benefits to hiring an unemployed candidate

Benefits to hiring the unemployed

Unemployment benefits expired for 1.3 million people in December, meaning there are a lot of people ready to work. But there’s a certain negative stigma associated with candidates who are currently unemployed, particularly if it’s long-term. Should companies really be wary about hiring people with gaps in their resumes?

There are numerous reasons why unemployed candidates might actually be better hires than their employed counterparts.  Next time you are considering an unemployed candidate, consider the benefits too.  Below are reasons you should hire someone who is unemployed:

Eager to work

First off, candidates who are currently employed are often looking for a new job because they are dissatisfied with their current position for some reason – meaning they could be overworked and jaded about their career. On the other hand, unemployed candidates are often rested and eager to work.

“In many ways a prolonged period of unemployment is an advantage,” says John Francis, president of ACareerJob, The VideoResume App. “There is no burnout, they are refreshed and ready to work hard for the company, their creative juices are renewed and they are grateful for the chance.”

Extra training

As you analyze resumes, you might notice that unemployed candidates have current skills thanks to having extra time to brush up on classes, retraining and networking. “One potential benefit to hiring someone who is unemployed is that they’ve had the opportunity to learn skills that will be helpful to an employer,” says Leto Papadopoulos, director of Training and Development at King & Bishop. “Many people use this time to take computer courses or any course/certification that they were putting off while employed because of time constraints.”

Immediate start

Additionally, unemployed candidates are particularly attractive to companies that need someone to start right away. Papadopoulos notes, “The person does not have to offer two or more weeks of notice. In fact, they can probably start right away, once an offer is accepted.” Some employees accept an offer and start later that very same day, making for smooth onboarding.

Cheaper hire

There may be financial advantages to hiring an unemployed worker in addition to his or her enthusiasm and eagerness to work. For starters, you know when you make an offer, you won’t have to compete with a counter offer from the candidate’s current place of employment. Additionally, Lisa Brown Morton, CEO of Nonprofit HR, points out substantial tax breaks for companies that hire someone that has been long-term unemployed, so it’s important to learn if your business qualifies.

When evaluating candidates for an open position, you must remain unbiased. Keep in mind it is against the law to discriminate based on employment status. Your ultimate goal is to find the best candidate for the position, and whether that candidate is currently employed or not, that goal does not change. Remember, a person may be unemployed through no fault of their own – perhaps he was laid off, maybe she relocated with a military spouse or had to quit work to take care of a sick relative.

“Next time up, that jobless candidate could be you or me,” says Mary Westropp, vice president for communications, New Directions. “If you were out of work for 6-12 months, or even
longer, would you consider yourself unfit for hire? Of course not. We all recognize how tough the job market has been since the 2008 market crash. As long as a candidate is fully qualified for the job, anyone in a position to make hiring decisions has the opportunity to practice a bit of compassion and pay it forward.”

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