It’s unbelievable to me that some employers deliberately avoid hiring people who are unemployed.
Let me put this another way: Some employers won’t hire you if you actually need a job.
There’s an article running at AOL Jobs right now on this topic. I read it and it seems to me the employer they interviewed subscribes to every cruel stereotype about people who’ve lost their jobs.
I’ll show you. I’ll list each of the “reasons” the employer gave for not hiring the unemployed, along with my translation of each stereotype.
1. People who have a job are proven to be valuable.
Translation: If the unemployed were that good, they wouldn’t have lost their jobs.
2. You can't be sure why the unemployed lost their jobs.
Translation: There must be something wrong with them (e.g., poor performers or bad attitudes).
3. An employed candidate has fresher job skills.
Translation: The unemployed haven’t “kept up,” so their skills are out-of-date.
4. The employed will adjust quicker to a new job.
Translation: The unemployed are “rusty” and have forgotten how to function in the workplace.
5. I have to watch the bottom line.
Translation: The unemployed aren’t used to hard work and will take too long to get up-to-speed in a new job.
This list ticks me off! These negative perceptions of people who, in general, are jobless through no fault of our own are undeserved and inaccurate.
So I want to counter the employer’s excuses for not hiring the unemployed with my own list of five factual reasons why employers SHOULD hire the unemployed.
1. The unemployed are exceptionally motivated to work.
Unlike employed people who may take their jobs for granted, we don’t. We would cherish the opportunity to prove ourselves, work hard, be productive and earn money.
2. Offering a job to a person without one as opposed to a person with one is the right thing to do.
It’s obvious. The person without a job needs one. The one who already has one doesn’t. All other things being equal, the unemployed person should be given priority.
3. Many of us have utilized our time away from jobs to make ourselves even better employees.
Ironically, though we’re viewed as rusty, we’ve been busy getting more degrees, learning new software and doing temporary, contract or volunteer work to keep our skills sharp.
4. In this difficult economy, job hunters have proven that we possess very desirable characteristics such as persistence, patience, resilience, flexibility and creativity.
To keep up the hunt despite repeated rejection means the unemployed are balanced, stable and mentally healthy, all ideal traits for employees.
5. Our compensation expectations are realistic.
Despite our valuable experience, the longer-term unemployed are not prima donnas who demand what employers, also hurting financially, can’t afford to provide. We’re fair and respectful and ask only to be treated the same way.
I hope that the employer in the AOL Jobs article will reconsider his negative views of the unemployed. Don’t assume we can’t cut it: it’s not true. Give us the chance to prove ourselves!