Are there any differences in standard practices related to the potential hiring of a currently unemployed and employed job candidate?

  • 2
    In areas like the U.K. where 3 months notice is common for technical positions, finding a candidate who's last contract or position has already completed can be a real boon. It means they can start straight away if you need them to and that can significantly speed up the hiring process.
    – Mark Booth
    May 21 '12 at 11:56
  • 1
    Trust, but verify.
    – aroth
    Jul 31 '12 at 0:31

Here are several criteria you think of when you hire - and comment on which one that needs special care when hiring someone currently unemployed.

1. Fitment to job - NO difference
However, you can note that currently unemployed guy might be a bit more desperate and try to stretch himself to fit. Just ensure he/she can genuinely fits.

2. Past performance and Talent - To some extent
However, Person with a relatively longer gap, even if he has done good work in past - might be out of touch. This means there must be indeed good potential, yet the recruiter must set expectations regarding how long will it take for the person to start being very productive again.

3. Number of years of experience - To some extent
If the current job is drastically different, then the person might take significant turn around and person is more like a fresh person. The mutual expectations must be very clear. Hiring the person might not be wrong decision but defining role might be very crucial.

4. Personal factors vs. assignments - very critical
Quite often, personal factors play a significant impact on performance. Sometimes new job brings fresh new energy in people and they are really want to make a mark; on the other hand if the reason has been off from work due to serious family personal issues and still not out from it, and if job puts him under immense pressure he/she might only end up compounding the problems.

5. How would one have a drive in the job? - the key concern.
When people are meeting target after target, there is a reason to believe that the person will keep excelling; when there are gaps we are not sure. There would be some who wants to come back where as when it is not for genuine reasons, this would be a key concern to ensure that people will have the drive to rush through the finish line or putting the quality in the assignments.

  • 11
    5. is a totally unsupported concern. People are often not unemployed because they were poor employees or didn't meet targets. People who have been unemployed for while might be very grateful to be hired and thus better potential employees.
    – HLGEM
    Jul 30 '12 at 21:53
  • 4
    @HLGEM - +1, especially in this economy, where a lot of people were left unemployed through no fault of their own, and not due to performance reasons.
    – Shauna
    Jul 30 '12 at 22:49
  • 5. Seems like a stretch to me because it seems to depend on something you as an interviewer can't know with certainty. Is the person unemployed because they were fired for cause or where they laid off for reasons unrelated to them and outside of their control. You can ask the person you are interviewing but they could lie. You could ask their previous employer but are unlikely to get much there (at least in the US). I was in the middle of getting promoted when I got laid off at my last job. Certainly being laid off and unemployed wasn't related to my performance on the job. Aug 11 '16 at 18:40

Not really, no.

If you're offering the position, you'd probably expect that the employed candidate would have to give two weeks notice after accepting the position while the unemployed candidate would likely be able to start immediately. And you'd expect that the candidate might get a counteroffer from their existing employer. But that doesn't really change the hiring process.


There are a few differences.

If someone is currently out of work, and does not have other job offer, the employer does not know if they truly want to take the job, or if they are just taking it due to having no other options, or to keep their unemployment benefit advisor happy.

In the UK anyone on benefits has to prove they have put in enough job applications and list all interviews have had, often the benefit advisor will phone up an employer to check how some ones interview went. Therefore don’t expect them to tell you they don’t want to job, or know that they can’t do the job. Likewise it is required that someone takes the first job, even if they know they have another job starting in a few weeks time.

On the other hand, no employer likes “letting someone go” within the probation period, but if a person is out of work, the employer can over then a few weeks extended trail, without feeling bad if things don’t work out.

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