Why HR Needs to Stop Passing Over the Long-Term Unemployed

Peter Cappelli notes an interesting yet concerning phenomenon in his recent article about hiring the unemployed. The recession hit hard, and more so it seems for those already on the bottom of the economic scale. To make matters works, many job requirements last year mandated that applicants already be employed – making finding work nearly impossible for those left without.

A study using 3,000 fake candidates, some unemployed (over various amounts of time) and some employed, set out to discover the extent of hiring discrimination. Only 4.5% of unemployed applicants received callbacks. Anyone who had been without work for over a month saw their chances of being hired fall sharply. That sharp fall continued as time went on.

Another study examined the true depth of the problem. Recently unemployed candidates with no relevant experience had a greater chance of finding employment than those with relevant experience but had been unemployed for six months or more.

Although the above results may seem puzzling, hiring managers are simply attempting to make sensible decisions. Perhaps they wonder that if the applicants were good, why had no one else hired them? However, questions like these are unnecessarily keeping the long term unemployed out of the work force.

People at the top of organizations must recognize that excluding candidates like these could be costing them money by overlooking perfectly good applicants- those who may be more grateful to have the job, cheaper, and easier to hire. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it could also benefit your business.

Imagine how much more you could accomplish in your business with the right staff. What would you want to have accomplished in the next 90 days if you had exactly the right team in place? Please add to the discussion using the comment fields below.