Home Invites Members Groups Events Careers News Blogs Chat
Home > Blogs > Post Content

Discrimination Against Unemployed Candidates - Today in HR (1297 hits)

This survey asks HR professionals about discrimination against unemployed candidates, and whether unemployment matters in the hiring decision:


This is a particularly touchy issue, since we have a highly competitive job market, lots of displaced workers that could be considered “overqualified” squeezing out entry-level candidates, and positions that are being consolidated or eliminated in the wake of the recession.

Even with a labor surplus, long periods of unemployment can suggest that a candidate is underqualified, or for some reason simply not competitive for the position(s) he/she is applying for. To further complicate the decision we must also consider that recruiters may not be making a conscious effort to exclude otherwise-qualified candidates, but that wide availability of candidates allows the recruiter to be much more selective, causing candidates without recent experience to be naturally filtered out.

I agree that long periods of unemployment can be an indicator of performance issues, but given the fact that there are many qualified, unemployed candidates actively seeking work, this isn’t necessarily an excluding factor. The common sense approach would be to evaluate based upon past performance, skills, and responsibilities, and weighing the reasons for which the candidate is unemployed into the decision. The candidate should demonstrate his/her productivity during the job search process, such as obtaining education or taking other steps to keep his/her skills current. Finally, being honest and open about the circumstances of unemployment matters – it’s highly unlikely that during a down economy a candidate suddenly decided to take a six-month sabbatical and is now applying for a lower level position than the one she left.

I’m curious to see the position the EEOC will take – even without federal legislation protecting unemployed candidates, the potential for an adverse-action discrimination case exists since this type of exclusion disproportionately affects ethnic minorities and could also be considered a form of age discrimination. There is also legislation protecting unemployed candidates which has been proposed at the state and local levels.


About Jonathan Carter

Jonathan Carter is a human resources professional specializing in health and welfare benefits plan administration in both public and private sector organizations. As a HR subject matter expert, his publications focus on emerging issues in employee benefits such as health plan design, cost containment, benefits compliance, and healthcare industry trends. Jonathan also offers expertise in a wide range of topics in human capital management, including recruitment and retention, employment law, employee relations, SAP & PeopleSoft HRIS administration, and HR project management.
Posted By:
Wednesday, December 7th 2011 at 11:23AM
You can also click here to view all posts by this author...

Report obscenity | post comment
Share |
Please Login To Post Comments...

Forward This Blog Entry!
Blogs Home

(Advertise Here)