Looking for work? Unemployed need not apply (What are your thoughts?) – Part II – The Comments are in!!

The article released by CNN and Money.com has stirred quite a bit of sentiment. As a follow up to this blog, we would like to provide actual feedback/comments provided by readers on this piece of journalism. The comments are candid. While some are well structured, others are driven by emotion but what is clear, is that this is a topic that affects many from coast to coast.

Thank you to all the readers that have followed this story and the blog and for providing such insightful commentary.

Actual reader comments:

“What are my thoughts, I think it’s a pathetic practice. The job market will never recover as long as this continues and a lot of lives are being destroyed because employers don’t want to even look at anyone unemployed. I just hope enough people know of this trend and if not, we need to make it known. And that tax break is doing no good.”

“The article hits the nail on the head. Arbitrarily eliminating the unemployed limits your potential at finding the best candidate for a position. There are plenty of downsizings that pay no heed to performance. People can be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. I recently got a call from a recruiter with an opportunity and he said they were looking for candidates with a job already. My response was I don’t believe that is a culture that I would want to work in.”

“If you were in good economic times and wanted to weed out potential low performers (with a small risk of also eliminating some good talent), then it would be an understandable strategy perhaps. However in the current economy, not all unemployed are low performers. It’s very sad and alarming to see that such practices are going on at this time. Even though most firms are not actively hiring, some smart firms never stop “scouting” for potential talent”

“Because I’m on LinkedIn, I’m regularly contacted by Recruiters/Staffing Services/Head Hunters who are looking for people who want to quit their current job and go to work for another company. This kind of annoys me. There are plenty of people who are unemployed who can benefit from their services, but they instead contact me while I’m at work. I think they should focus on people who really need their services and not the ones who only quit because they want more money or are dissatisfied with their current employment. If I ever decide to or need to look for different employment opportunities, I’ll look them up.”

“I am shocked that companies would be doing this in these times. They are only hurting themselves in the long run. By not hiring people who are unemployed they are keeping the unemployment rate high and leaving less consumers on the market to buy whatever product they are trying to sell.”

“Maybe the government should charge the companies that refuse to consider the unemployed, to pay for all the unemployment benefits extensions!”

“One of the commitments Hewitt Associates makes is to review each and every applicant. Our emphasis is on the skill set and domain fit. Having the right technical and soft skills will win over the hiring business, not whether you are working or not working. There are unique circumstances around all work place reductions.”

“Thanks for posting this and the link to the article. As an HR Professional, it makes me a little sad. This type of misguided effort to control applicant flow feeds the stereotype of the heartless and ‘Evil HR Director’”

“One thought. This very disconcerting. Hopefully the article is only a microcosm of the true marketplace as the media tends to do.”

“There is no bad team, just a bad leader. I found this out very early in my career when I worked at MCI. We possibly had almost every nation represented within our group and it was refreshing to work with individuals with different backgrounds and different cultures. To exclude an individual from employment because of stereotyping or profiling just goes to show how narrow minded we have become within our own culture of the US as a ‘melting pot’”

“This article isn’t stating anything new that hasn’t been said by hiring managers for many many years. I have heard it in the past and I am sure I will hear it in the future with the thought process being that the good people don’t get laid off. This is one more reason that simply submitting your resume and hoping for the best is the wrong approach. You have to push hard at networking, developing relationships, and educating the hiring public how and why you can be a valued added benefit to their organization. If you accept this article as truth and allow it to discourage you, then you have already lost the fight. As you all already know the job search is a difficult and challenging process, but if you don’t unquestionably believe in yourself then how can you expect anyone else to do so…..

“I found this to be true in some cases with out of state recruiters and some misguided hiring managers and companies. It’s alarming and yes can be discouraging.”

“Just from personal experience, I can tell you that the screening of individuals is more thorough for the simple fact that we are dealing with a competitors market. I have encountered disqualifications from jobs more times than I want to recall but I choose to believe that it is because another candidate was a better overall fit for the position. The unfortunate part of the process is that some times people see something on paper and they choose to stereotype the person and eliminate them from the process. It is easy to do (for some) because it reduces the time they have to commit to the screening.”

“I’ve seen myself eliminated not because of achievements, but because of dates on a resume.”

“A woman I know who is a ‘Brazen Marketer’ just landed her perfect fit job after eighteen months of being unemployed. And she did it by leveraging the Placement Agency hired to fill the position.
How it happened for her is a story you have to hear. But first, I want to add my input in response to this column that Mark posted on Friday.

Recruiters have a job to do and they probably believe that by placing only those currently employed candidates, they are fulfilling their role in the way the company/client wants to be serviced. Why shouldn’t the company/recruiter take the road well traveled and consider only those candidates who have value assigned to them from the mere circumstance that they are currently earning a paycheck?

Most of us get it that jobs from Main Street to Wall Street disappeared forever, and as the recession continues and as more and more companies cave in or have to pinch everything to survive, new people become unemployed every day.

The stigma that all who lose their jobs do so because they are considered second rate talent is becoming an urban myth, but not quick enough for the universal work place to get it. That many who do lose their jobs are in fact sub-par talents perpetuates the myth. Also, we have the ‘damaged goods’ stigma of the unemployed to consider: employers don’t want to deal with the psyche of someone who lost their job and has been out of work for any length of time, much less someone with a long gap in between jobs.

So what are we as individuals and community to do? Hold another job fair? Keep sending resumes to job board postings hoping that an invitation to the interview will follow?
If you are among the unemployed who read this article, put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter/hiring manager of the company. What would have to happen to change your thinking about this; that is, to view unemployed candidates as ‘ready’ and to open up the interview process to include them?

What if someone that had clout walked your resume into the hands of the recruiter/HR Manager/Hiring Manger and delivered the message that you were the best fit for this job and requested that you be invited in for the interview?

This is what it takes. I don’t know of another path that is as effective.
But the how-to is the gotcha. The work to get this kind of ACCESS is a process and it is hard work. It takes putting down the fear and committing to end the struggle, once and for all.

There are four ProNet peers who made the commitment to become choice seekers, not job seekers and who are experiencing unemployment differently and are landing their perfect fit jobs as a result. There are scores of other choice seekers who can share their successes with you. If you want to be in touch with these folks, especially to hear the story about the Brazen Marketer that I mentioned above, connect with me through LinkedIn and I will be happy to make the introductions. Unemployment at the rate we see in Charlotte is a community issue and it’s going to take community to solve it.

Raising awareness that you can overcome this external circumstance, is the first step. Believing that you can is the next right step.”

“With the large number of applicants for a position, this is one of many ways to winnow the field. Even if they eventually hire an employed person, that person’s former position will need to be filled. Best to ignore stories like this and focus on your own job search. And even if you’ve had this experience, do you really want to work for a company that short-sighted?”

“Over the last two and a half years, the employment market has changed dramatically–from Employee-driven to Employer-driven. When the unemployment rate was at 4% (considered full-employment by economists), a company could post a job on websites, advertise, and get few, if any, responses. No good recruiter would present someone whose resume he pulled off of a job board, because everyone knew the job boards were filled with the “unhappy, the unqualifed, and the unemployed” (for good reason). As Mark Hovind, of JobBait says, “All you had to do to get a job was fog a mirror.”

When the big picture changes, the smartest people recognize it first, while others keep doing what worked in yesterday’s market. As a partner of both a recruiting firm and a job search coaching firm, I witness this on all sides. The smart companies quickly realized that with the national unemployment rate at 10% (12% in Charlotte and much higher in some cities) they had the opportunity to hire some great people who were dislocated by structural unemployment. They started calling us to keep an eye out for those people, even though they had no posted job openings.

The best of the unemployed often saw the writing on the wall and started reaching out to their networks or getting job search coaching before they even lost their jobs. Others, lived on unemployment benefits and/or severance packages and waited for the economy to get better. Some took vacations before they started looking for new employment. They counted on a short, shallow recession and a quick bounceback in job growth.

HR people are now swamped with resumes, as many as 34,000 a month, in one instance. To make matters worse, HR people are often the first to lose their jobs in a recession, so many of them are doing the work of two or more people. Given these circumstances, using computers and untrained people to sort on simple criteria may not be the best choice, but it is really their only choice. I’m happy to say that I have never met a heartless or evil HR professional. Most of them entered the profession because they like people.

I would like to believe that few companies would be short-sighted enough to hire an unemployed person over a better candidate who is employed in order to save 6.2% of the employee’s wages for the rest of the year. If a company hires someone who is unemployed, they probably would have hired them anyway. If they hire someone who is already employed, they don’t get the tax break, but the employee’s old employer has to replace him, so there are the same number of jobs, with or without the tax break. In effect, this is a waste of taxpayer dollars that does nothing but increase the budget deficit.

If you would be an asset to a company, it’s your job to get face-to-face with someone and persuade them that you are one of the great opportunities this market has made available to them. Otherwise, your resume could sit in databases until we reach full employment once again. Right now, economists don’t see that happening in the foreseeable future.

If you don’t know how to sell yourself as an asset to a company, get help. If you can’t afford to hire a private coach, you should avail yourself of every service that ProNet offers. If you’re not part of one of their Job Search Teams, you’re missing a big opportunity, and you’re certainly not doing everything you could be doing to find a job. In 2009, employers hired 4 million people a month, 40,00 at $100,000 level or above. In 2010, hiring is down, but there’s still a great deal of hiring going on. There’s no reason why you can’t be part of it.”

“Employers doing this must think the world will continue to accept this type of thought. There are many more potential employees than companies. Hope they recognize this.”

“This is one of the craziest things I’ve heard lately – that somehow being unemployed makes you unemployable, especially in this sour economy. Fact is, the unemployed may be some of your best candidates for a job, as they are in the best position to appreciate employment. Also, many of us have gone for more training/schooling in this situation, so we are more prepared than ever to become great employees. Unemployed need not apply – what a bunch of BS.”

“I saw a snippet on CNN this evening about the subject. How many more obstacles can employers erect? If it weren’t so absurd, you might think it was a conspiracy.”

“Employers doing this must think the world will continue to accept this type of thought. There are many more potential employees than companies. Hope they recognize this.”

“Yes … Unfortunately, there is a bias that is attached to the unemployed. There may be many but one that comes to mind is the idea that if you are unemployed, then you were the least productive of the group and therefore were the most expendable. This social stigma can be at the other end of the scale for reasons of one’s release. Not fitting into company culture may be one that I believe many people go through and thusly are not a part of the “pack”. Point is, if someone is reviewing your resume and have not been unemployed themselves then they are going to have a hard time understanding your circumstance and are more likely to hiring someone that is already in the “mold”. Good luck to all those that are searching for the next step”

“Given that high-caliber candidates who have savings will hold out for a good job rather than scar their resume – my answer is this is unequivocally dumb!”

“All freshers are unemployed in one sense and will surely have a gap in their CVs because

1. Hard to get into companies at first place.
2. So called recession !
3. No company experience !
4. Multiple problems if you are outside of your country of origin and many more.

I do not know, which particular sector it is applicable for…

But now situations are making me to realize may be I am in wrong field and at wrong place.

I think sometime it is wise to compromise with your interest and chose the career which is on high demand and hardly get affected by these external factors (like medical doctor of something)”

“My question to these recruiters would be why would someone who is already employed be looking for employment somewhere else in this troubled economy?
Is this future employee about to get fired?
Does this future employee has an attitude issue and does not get along with superiors and/or coworkers?
Eventually the economy will turn around and people who are unemployed now due to no fault of their own will remember these companies. At the end of the day it will be their loss. Eventually recruiters like that will be laid off for doing such a bad job. What goes around comes around.”

“I find it interesting that the ones who write this stuff and many of those who respond are people who are currently employed. Anyone who has been continuously employed over the last two to three years has no concept of what is going on out there for those of us who are unemployed. The rules have radically changed from previous years and in other down times. Now, evidently, unemployed equals undesirable. In my particular case, I did not cause my last company to go out of business, yet I am being punished for it by being out of work right now. I cannot even get an interview, let alone a job offer. After twenty two months, my savings is gone, my 401K is history, and I am close to losing my house if nothing changes soon. Networking does not work, applying in person or online is a waste of time, and asking for help from recruiters gets no replies. Other than continuing to try and look for work and not show your personal bitterness and cynicism, there are not too many other options available right now.”

“Just another symptom of how deranged the job market is. If you’re unemployed, it must be YOUR fault because: 1) you’re not talented enough, 2) your resume doesn’t “pop”, 3) you don’t “market” yourself properly, 4) you don’t “network” correctly, and of course, 5) the company that laid you off is infallible and 6) the hiring manager who ignores you is never, ever wrong. So, if you don’t have a job already, we don’t want to talk to you.
Everyone is disposable. What a hideous paradigm. Well, as Bob Marley once sang, “A hungry man is an angry man.” Beware, big business.”

“I think we have to start publicizing companies and recruiters who do this and make sure it turns into a public relations disaster for them. It makes me sick to think that such a stupid mentality exists among employers.”

“Richard and Jack are right on it from my experience. The last job fair I was at, folks were presuming I was a 2010 grad, and when they realized from my talk and my resume that I graduated in 2008, (great timing, let me tell ya,) suddenly they had zero interest. Of COURSE only a totally dysfunctional human being who must have some really deep-seeded issues would still be unemployed. Friggin’ Wal-Mart won’t even hire me because I have a degree, but without actual experience, no one else will, either.”

“This situation is so totally true. I have read other articles about companies not wanting to hire the unemployed and I have been experiencing it personally. I think what a lot of companies are waiting for is for when the job market picks up, they will basically be trading employees from other companies because I also read that people that haven’t lost their jobs are just waiting for the opportunity to leave their current position. I think this mindset is disgraceful and I do believe that at least when people make this practice public in some way, they be brought to the attention of the public. I do also believe that what goes around, comes around, but hopefully for the millions of currently unemployed, it won’t be too late for us. I am just so disgusted and with good reason.
I try to convey that to people that I know, and they still come across with the reaction that I must be doing something wrong, it can’t be that bad. And I have had many recruiters tell me that unless every spec. of an employer’s requirements are met, you are out. Where are all these perfect people that fit every single requirement of job posts?”

O.K. I won’t. When an employer posts a job ad, this, like any other publication that they release is a reflection on them. Just because a company may have their reasons for not hiring unemployed workers(I would have no idea what that would be, I’ve met some top notch people that are unemployed right know) they should not show the whole world their mindset when it comes to this. Much like when we post something on Linked In or twitter, etc. it is available for anyone to read and is a reflection on you
I have made a list of target companies that I would like to spend a large part of my life with. I do not need to go after the ads that say ‘unemployed need not apply’. When you see an ad like that, does this company appeal to you?
Ignoring the unemployed comment, If the company in question does have qualities you like, why shouldn’t you go after the job! Rules are sometimes made to be broken, and in this economy if someone tells me don’t go after that job, but I want that job, I’m going to go for it! “

“I applied for a local job the other day, through the state listing that told me that I’m 100% qualified for the requirements. They gave a large earnings window & of course it was well below former earnings, but I selected the highest amount they offered. It would’ve satisfied my earning needs enough to keep a roof over my head, since it’s only 7 miles away. My cover letter was great, being enthusiastic about my experience & potential to help them & explained what I’ve been doing as a consultant by volunteering for business during my recent gap of unemployment. Got a response saying they’re impressed with my qualifications, but would prefer to keep looking at other candidates.

So, my guess is that there are lots of perfect candidates available & they’d like to hire the cheapest one they can find. I’m getting 2 to 4 interview-inquiry telephone calls a day, along with email responses to my posted resume, networking & applying to several new openings every day, including weekends. But when qualified, the offers are unrealistic & would cost me to build & contribute to the success of their business. Companies want to expand with sales growth, but don’t have the budgets required to do it without riding on the backs of employees that must pay their own way by having an existing book of business. Consider low salaries for salesmen & that many vehicle travel expense reimbursement programs are 1/4 of what it actually costs to do the job or completely non-existent…I’m ahead of the game just by declining their sorry offers.

You won’t see me in the unemployment line as Congress has abandoned everyone & done away with the Extension Tier Levels since May 28th. There is no such thing as up to 99 weeks or the $25 extra anymore, once your account’s depleted. This was due to pressure from anti-deficit folks that are outraged over government spending.

Now the media says things are improving with more jobs created, but that’s an outright lie, as those were only temporary summer jobs for parks & recreation or the Census Bureau. Folks haven’t given up looking, they’re just being smarter about it or more likely, limited by lack of resources. Many unemployed are not being counted as such & have fallen off the grid.

I like a good challenge, am grateful for what I have & really appreciate the folks that trust in my work. Know that I’m doing all that I can think of & have confidence in myself, trust in my future & truly believe that God hates a quitter. So I will keep on this crazy ride that only seems to build compassion in my heart for the millions of others that are experiencing it right along side me.

If I don’t get a job soon, then in all likelihood, my next employer is going to have to front me some money, just so I can function financially enough to do the job….That’s why they don’t want the unemployed.”

“I just got out of a 6 month job search, I can’t say that being unemployed was ever an impediment to any of the jobs I applied for.”

“I’m going to change my LinkedIn profile and update my resume when I complete this post. I recently returned to work but did not update my profile as I wanted to remain “available” if something better came along.”

“If this is becoming a trend, obviously they have not keep up the news regarding unemployment.
How many millions are unemployed due to plant closures, etc.( in my case the Owner replace the management team salaried and hourly with family) so everybody was a POOR PERFORMING EMPLOYEE I don’t think so.
Unemployed need not apply! This should be considered discrimination. What world are they living in? “

“This is definitely happening, and there is no way of knowing if it applies to any job you apply for because it can definitely remain behind the scenes within the talent acquisition department or with an external recruiter.

I think it’s a shame. I am one of those people, and I am also connected to, and know many people with outstanding backgrounds and experience, and references to boot, who did not ask to lose their job. Many were also high paid employees, which ultimately lends a significant financial credit to the balance sheet of the business. Anyone in business should know and understand that. When a business needs to substantially reduce expenses and add cash to its balance sheet, cuts are made from the top. Many were part of downsizing that happened when the economy took a dive and the business had to make some tough decisions to remain afloat.

What has truly happened to our society, personally and professionally? What happened to treating people like people? What happened to this nation in protecting the American dream; the desire of our forefathers to create one nation, one people, and to serve America with respect and dignity. This process is neither respectful nor dignified. It’s self-serving and self-absorbing to make any kind of assumptions of someone’s experience, dedication and commitment as a professional simply because they don’t have a job. Imagine if the tables were turned on some of those top executives or HR people who have this mindset? Imagine if they were given a pink slip, only to be tossed into the unemployed world with someone making assumptions.about their ability, or lack thereof, or that they must be failed performers if they no longer are working.

We need to get America back to work. We need to do this as a nation, as a society to bring about change that is good for all who live here. We need to start being human again and start looking at people as something other than a manufactured idealistic machine who is perfect to the core with no flaws or visible defects.

I am independently consulting today to stay active and focused. For someone to tell me that I can’t possibly be any good if I am out of work is a CROCK! For 30 years I have been one of the most committed and dedicated performers and I have enough references to back it up, not only from my last organization, but from many, many clients and professionals who know me well! It’s not about the job or job responsibilities. It’s about the person and who they are. I am what I am and will always be. Any company who wants to lay claim to what they don’t know about me is THEIR LOSS not mine, and I am sure that goes for millions of others in the same shoes. My parents always taught me: What goes around comes around. How you treat others is how you will be treated. I teach my children the same and hope it sinks in.

As organizations, people and professionals, it’s up to each of us to choose what we want to get based on what we are willing to give, and how we want to be treated will be a direct reflection of how we treat others.”

“I too read this article and frankly I was appalled that companies are engaging in such a practice. This practice may be legal for now but it will not surprise me to see it made illegal in the near future at the federal level because it is a form of discrimination in employment. Even if that doesn’t happen I think the word will quickly spread as to which companies are or even perceived to be engaging in this practice and that by itself will generate a lot of negative publicity for those companies as well as adversely affect their bottom lines.”

“I was appalled too, because I’m currently unemployed and having a lot of frustration concerning finding suitable employment. Any company that does this to any job candidate should have serious problems put upon them such as having their federal taxes tripled immediately, then I’m sure that practice would stop right away, and unemployed people wouldn’t be discriminated against like that. Something has to happen that hurts a company’s bottom line before some of them finally realize that ethics and integrity applies equally to them as it does to employees and job candidates. It would be a refreshing change”

“It is sad commentary, but in this economy, recruiters may be faced with thousands of responses to a posting for a single position. Most of us understand that time/workload dilemma. Sometimes, based on real or perceived constraints, recruiters might do a first sort to reduce that volume based on constructs (such as employed/unemployed) that are invalid predictors of future performance. While it sure seems like a poor practice, the unemployed are not a protected group, so it is not inherently illegal. Now, if some lawyer out there can make a disparate impact claim in a particular case”

“It should be illegal, it’s like we are back in the 40’s where “Irish need not apply” was very common.”

“I am a recent college grad; though I am not unemployed I am underemployed. No company that can offer a career path will hire a recent grad with only a few years of experience when there are people unemployed with a decade of experience that the company does not have to train. On the other hand lower end jobs that do not require much training will not hire recent grads because they feel that the grad will not stay with their company long-term. Thus, If you have no experience its hard to come by now.”

“It’s a shame that companies can’t see past their own self interest.”

“While exploring your career options, maybe it’s time to think about becoming self-employed. There are many business opportunities available, the key is finding the one that is right for you. Since building a legitimate business takes time, now I have the time to do that while I’m still looking for a job to pay my current bills. My hope and belief is that maybe I won’t have to go back to the 9 to 5 rat race, but even if I do find the perfect job I plan to continue building my Plan B because I don’t ever want to be put in this position again. After reading this article, I find an additional benefit – it helps fill the gap so that I can answer that I am “currently employed”

“The world is full of shallow, mediocre and totally without vision or core values individuals and entities. When an organization commitment to the world is to only look for steeling human capital from other firms or organization, then you have to wonder; what are their core values, do they respect their workforce or is it a mean to an end, a similar category to acquisition of raw materials and overhead. With that type of mind set, how long are they going to last and what type of people are running these organizations.
We all know that nothing last forever, as such; this current situation will also not last forever. Companies that give back to society and support human value and dignity will reap rewards of attracting loyalty and greatness from those they hire and support , others will lose talent and the ability to retain valuable workforce to these companies when the economy is stable. So the poor attitude, visionless and undignified message to society is a display of short term thinking, this, will have its repercussion soon enough. Remember the quote: what goes around comes around.”

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