Unemployed? Move Along...Nothing To See Here.

This recent trend has me perplexed -the trend towards including exclusionary wording on job postings which state in various forms: “The unemployed need not apply.”

Laura Bassett reported this recently on Huffington Post in her post titled: Disturbing Job Ads: The UnemployedWill Not Be Considered. She outs a few of the companies who are guilty of this practice and some politicians’reactions.

Hey Recruiters! What gives? What ever happened to “Let’s help America by putting her back to work one job at a time.”? Isn’t this prolonging the job crisis and unemployment by further dividing the “haves” and “have nots”?

After my initial reaction, I proceeded to take a closer look at this approach. I am always looking for ways to increase personal productivity and quality of candidates. Is the benefit worth the risk? Here are the pros and cons from the as I see them from the recruiting side:

· First, let me state, there is no law against discriminating against the unemployed, but statements like the above can get your organization into trouble. It can lead to disparate impact. Disparate or adverse impact is defined by the adverse treatment of one group over another by four-fifths. With the unemployment rate for Black Males at 18% in April 2010, and double the national average – this is a very real danger. (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics) Even if the disparate impact is unintentional, it is still illegal and the burden of proof lies with the employer.

· It reflects poorly on the organization. With a net loss of 8.2 million jobs since the start of 2008, the economic crisis has touched just about everyone in some way, shape or form. It reads as insensitive and elitist. By tacking statements such as “MUST be currently employed to be considered” at the bottom of job postings, the organization is cast in a negative light.

· It makes Recruiting appear lazy and whiny. The only benefit I can see with this approach from the organization’s point of view is that it might save the Recruiter a little bit of time screening resumes. But the negatives far outweigh the positives in my opinion. Corporate HR is constantly fighting to improve our reputation with employees, management and the community, so why would they approve such a statement when it coveys such an uncaring sentiment? Time over people? Not in the world where I want to live.

· It is counter-productive. With mass lay-offs and reductions in force becoming commonplace, there are bound to be talented people who got caught up in the misfortunes of company downsizing. Why exclude them if they were let go through no fault of their own? You might find a gem just waiting to be discovered.

· It won’t work. Many people are technically classified as “unemployed” but do some sort of work and could conceivably be an “independent contractor” depending on their definition, not Recruiting’s. And, of course, no one will lie on their resume – that never happens.

· Who would want to work in an environment where callousness is advertised to prospective employees? Probably not the best and brightest.

Chances are the professionals on the front lines of Human Resources and/or Recruiting
in these organizations had little or nothing to do with the final approval of this verbiage. In this climate of cost-cutting, these companies might not even have a dedicated recruiting
professional. It doesn’t matter who said it, approved it, or thought it up. It is still out there and reflecting poorly on the organization, and ultimately it could be decreasing the quality of applicants.

Maybe the author or the approver thought they were saving the unemployed some time by stating that their resumes would not make the cut, up front. But even the best intentions can result in negative consequences and statements like these in job ads should warrant a
second look.

Views: 193

Comment by Dave Hitchman on June 9, 2010 at 12:26pm
"Eva - I am not in the business of doing battle with my clients. Requiring someone to be "employed" is very rare. This is the first time I have personally been involved (that I know of) in something like this."
A number of Hitlers generals tried that one at Nurnberg, 'we are only following orders' - you can choose your clients, and you can educate them, you dont have to follow orders.

"This place (RecruitingBlogs) is a good spot to get some exposure. I looked at your profile and there is no hint whatsoever of who you are, where you are or what type of work you are looking for. Rather than be pissed off - why not try filling in the blanks a little and perhaps someone here (reading that you are looking for work) might take notice? "
Actually I didn't read the original comment as Eva being upset at all, she was putting a very valid view point through. The fact that my own business has serious problems finding contracts is because there are very very few around and a huge number of competitors, theres nothing 'wrong' with what we deliver, how we deliver it or even the price, but with many many more competitors looking for work we obviously have a much harder time, we don't win as many contracts, we have even to consider laying staff off, it won't be the fault of anyone we are forced to let go that they are on the list.
Comment by Jerry Albright on June 9, 2010 at 12:43pm
Well - I had hoped to politely remove myself from the discussion - but I feel obligated to defend myself when being compared to Hitler's generals.

Perhaps in the UK pulling that kind of stuff is OK - but I take offense to it. You are clearly missing my point - and obviously are not interested in it. Perhaps you've been in a situation where you were out of work and could not find traction. Why you've chosen me as a target is beyond me.

Moving on now.......
Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 9, 2010 at 12:49pm
Your Hitler analogy is over the top in my opinion. I think that is a cheap shot, unfounded and reflects your own bitternes and frustration with what appears to be your own struggle with failure. That is just crap and reflects badly on you.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 9, 2010 at 1:22pm
Now here is what i think is almost funny about this whole discussion. I am continually bored silly by all the high blown recruiters who beat the drum that they only recruit passive candidates in order to be the "best in the West".

Now someone puts a dumb requirement in a job posting and the same recruiters go bug nuts talking about how unethical, shameful, discriminatory, evil, immoral and fattening it is to put that requirement in an ad.

I have a flash for you folks. The unemployed are ACTIVE candidates. You know, the ones you don't recruit and beat your chest about not recruiting cause that makes you a better recruiter. So the next time you use the term PASSIVE candidate hang your hat on the same nail as the company who doesn't want to look at unemployed (ACTIVE) candidates.

And don't tell me that you do that because your client can find the active ones so don't need you to do that. That my friends is some of the same stuff. You think passive candidates are somehow better yourself because they aren't looking because they are busy doing a good job.

I don't agree with putting that in a job ad nor do i agree with only working passive candidates but i do think it's the same thing by a different name.

So if you sometimes only want to find the "passive" candidate you might understand what Jerry is talking about here and give it some thought.
Comment by Ali Webster on June 10, 2010 at 11:10am
Nikole, have you seen this? This is music video by Ryan Star who's making an effort to get some people back to work. He provides an uplifting approach to the unemployed versus the organizations you describe above who are only discriminating. http://www.breathe4jobs.com/


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