The Unemployed Candidate

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The Unemployed Candidate

Why is there a stigma attached to the unemployed executive who is actively seeking employment? The more I interact with the recruiting field, the more confused I become.  An unemployed candidate is less likely to be considered for a role simply based on the fact that he or she is actively seeking employment. Many of the conventional recruiting firms dealing with the executive, professional and skilled workforce will openly tell you that they much prefer passive candidates (people who are not actively seeking employment) over those actively seeking.  To be perfectly honest, they say that their clients feel that someone who is unemployed must have a problem, thus rendering them  “undesirable” even though they may have the perfect profile for the job.   Inevitably, this drops them to the bottom of the list or, worse still, disqualifies them from consideration.

I challenge this thinking.  There are multiple reasons why a “great” candidate may be presently unemployed. Perhaps this 20th century approach needs to shift into the reality of the 21st century… With social media, networking and communication at Mach speed, the active vs. passive status is quickly losing its distinction.  The next gen workforce constantly scans the social sites for opportunity.  Would they be classified as active or passive?  In my opinion, the workforce today is seeking opportunity that offers “job fit” and “culture fit”, not simply a match to a job description. They are selective about where and with whom they spend their working hours.

Think of a tree that stands without leaves in winter.  It is possible that the tree is weak and has nothing more to offer, but it is more likely that the tree is simply waiting for the climate to be right so it can bud, spring to life and grow! So…the next time a resume crosses your desk and before you toss it aside because the candidate has been looking for a job for a while, consider that he/she might be the perfect fit for your company and culture and is worthy of an interview.   Your culture may be the perfect climate for that particular candidate to blossom and show you what he/she can really contribute.