Should You Hire Someone that is Currently Unemployed?

Recent research by Northeastern University suggests that candidates who lack the right skills are likely to be hired over a more qualified candidate that has been out of work longer than six months.  Hiring managers fall to the bias that if the unemployed candidate was good, someone would have already hired them.  However, this is more than often not the case.  Finding the best talent for you organization means expanding your talent pool to include employed candidates, unemployed candidates, and independent consultants.

Here are just a few of the many reasons you may want to think twice before you disregard an unemployed applicant.

  1. You could be overlooking strong candidates.
    Especially in today’s economy, you can’t automatically blame someone for his or her unemployment status.  The conventional wisdom—that unemployed workers were let go for being the least effective or least productive—goes out the window when companies go through multiple rounds of layoffs or have to shut down entire departments because of economic downtown.  The job candidate that’s been unemployed for the last year may have been a very successful executive or the president of a company in a relevant area.  There are many reasons someone could be unemployed due to no fault of their own.  Or, the candidate may have decided to take a year sabbatical to further their cultural knowledge by traveling or work on their own projects.  You could be passing up on some of the best candidates if you don’t take the time to interview them just because they’ve been unemployed.
  1. Your turnover rate will decline.
    Employed candidates looking for a new job are often doing so because they are unhappy with their current job.  In other words, they could be overworked and worn-out with their career.  On the other hand, unemployed candidates are often well rested and eager to get to work.  Someone who’s been out of work for a while won’t be in any hurry to move to another job.  They’ll be highly motivated to keep their job and are very loyal workers, thus reducing your overall churn rate. 
  1. Immediate start date.
    Unemployed candidates are very attractive to companies that need to fill a position right away.  The person doesn’t have to give a two to three week notice like an employed candidate would.  In fact, most applicants without a current job would be more than happy to start the job right away once the offer is accepted.
  1. Cheaper hires.
    There can also be financial advantages to hiring an unemployed worker.  For example, you know that when you make an offer, you won’t be competing against a counter offer from their current employer.  In addition to that, there could qualify for substantial tax breaks by hiring someone that’s been long-term unemployed.  In 2010, the IRS offered two tax breaks to employers who hired people who had been without jobs for long period of time as part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act.  Another law offers incentives to companies that hire unemployed veterans.
  1. Good Public Relations.
    You can become a hero in your community by letting job seekers know that you’re looking for the best candidates for the job, regardless of their employment status.  This will not only benefit your company’s image, it’ll draw better talent to your organization and inspire a stronger culture among your staff.


Most importantly, when considering applicants for an open job, you should remain unbiased.   You want to find the best candidate for your organization whether they are currently employed or unemployed.

Having trouble attracting the top talent in your industry?  Whether you’re looking for qualified temporary workers, temp-to-hire, or direct hire employees, Area Temps can meet your requirements. Our exclusive applicant network features over 86,000 skilled candidates from the Greater Cleveland and Akron areas.  Contact our team of experienced recruiters today to see how we can offer customized staffing solutions for your organization.

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