This morning I read something that made me hold my, very hot, coffee, in my mouth, far longer than intended to process the Laura Bassett, Huffington Post Disturbing Job Ads: The Unemployed Will Not Be Considered article.
Ms. Bassett comments on a search for quality engineer on a job board that states: “Client will not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason”.
A further nugget in defense of screening out unemployed:
“It’s our preference that they currently be employed,” he [the HR representative] said. “We typically go after people that are happy where they are and then tell them about the opportunities here. We do get a lot of applications blindly from people who are currently unemployed — with the economy being what it is, we’ve had a lot of people contact us that don’t have the skill sets we want, so we try to minimize the amount of time we spent on that and try to rifle-shoot the folks we’re interested in.”
I then found an article from the Fistful of Talent site, a tagline of ‘Recruiters, HR, Consultants and Corporate Types on all things Talent…’, share’s an internal debate about from fistfuloftalent staff on the ramifications of not considering unemployed in job searches.
These two nuggets try to guess some logic behind the ‘unemployed screening’ policy:
“We’ve got nothing against the unemployed. That said, if you’re unemployed and applying for 300 things a day (270 of which you really aren’t qualified to do), chances are you’re part of a growing problem – raw volume of applicants for each open position that make it harder for us to give attention to candidates who are strongly qualified or on the periphery of being qualified. How can you help? Cut down the number of jobs you apply for each day to 5 at the most. Use some other tools to find out who you can call in your network to find a decision maker or influencer … “
and, the second:
“Look, if you’ve been unemployed for 12 months and haven’t done anything besides collecting unemployment and sending out resumes – please don’t apply.” Now, if they can show they’ve actually done some other things during that time to pick up their game – volunteer, start a blog, mentor someone, etc. – then you get your ticket back to apply at will.”
My take, is within the story(ies) there is desperation on both the HR side and the unemployed side.
On the Human Resources side: HR is overwhelmed with the amount of resumes and need a new screening criteria.
This speaks to a too-frequent trend that puts HR in the gatekeeper role and task is to create a short-list of candidates for hiring managers. Therefore they need a safe, low-risk, low return human resources filter. Unemployed is a nice new filter that takes even more responsibility away from HR.
Also, in this task-oriented organization role, HR is a transaction-based department, not a strategic business partner and I might better convey this view when I replace HR with gatekeeper.
Gatekeepers are not business drivers and through transaction-only hand offs of down-select candidates they hand off a reduced stack to the true hiring manager – like a fast food order…next!
Last week I wrote about the distinct risks to reasons human resources hurt your organization.
On the unemployed side: this seems to reveal a state of desperation many unemployed are in: as unemployment lingers, more applications/resumes/cover letters are thrown at all spectrum of job opening.
Many of these are not good-fit jobs, from any number of competency, experience, or skill requirement evaluation. However, in an attempt to find something, finding anything begins to become appealing.
Both sides, the HR and the unemployed, find themselves in poor strategic situations, and therefore without leverage. This lack of leverage drive tactical, reactive efforts to manage their resources (time/money) and expectations; all in the name of motivation.
From the HR side there is a risk to miss a great candidate. A diverse candidate. Of strategic hiring risk when you recruit only employed people, you can’t expect they, in turn, will not punch their free-agent ticket out of your company when the first attractive offer comes their way again.
From the unemployed side, the goal to avoid the gatekeeper is to network, network, volunteer, network, and NETWORK.
Avoid the gatekeepers who are not asked to bring forward great candidates, but asked to perform a transaction, not to think or evaluate. A staff function is not a strategic function.
Where it goes from here? No one knows. But stay on your strategic path and you won’t waste time and money. You can always make money, but you can never make time.