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We Do Not Hire Unemployed Candidates

We Do Not Hire Unemployed Candidates

We don’t hire unemployed candidates. Have you heard recruiters espouse this hiring policy?

This idea is based on the premise only low performers are laid-off or fired. This can be a misguided recruiting philosophy.

When companies are acquired, entire departments or divisions can be eliminated. Would it be accurate to presume all of these people are low performers?

Mergers can displace workers and cause unemployment.

Sometimes the best performers can be laid-off because they are not afraid to rock the boat.

There are employees who keep to themselves and don’t make waves so they don’t stand out or take risks. Are they the best in talent?

If your company follows the policy of not recruiting unemployed people, reconsider this misguided philosophy. You could be missing some great talent.

(By the way, the following states have laws against this policy: New Jersey and Oregon. The District of Columbia and New York City also have laws preventing the discrimination against unemployed workers. It could also be said the policy has a disproportionately negative impact on protected applicants — both race and age.)

What are your thoughts on the do-not-hire-the-unemployed policy?

Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees' desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.


  1. Scott MacDonald 2 years ago

    Nearly everyone has been unemployed, especially if you live in a boom/bust state like Oklahoma. It gets back to hiring for skills. The current process of listing every place you have worked along with begin and end dates does nothing to identify skilled workers and I can argue is age discrimination.

    • Author
      Kevin Kennemer 2 years ago

      Scott, thank you for your comments. You’re right. For people who have been employed long enough, they likely have been subjected to a layoff. This does not mean they are a poor performer. The policy of hiring only employed applicants could very well adversely impact older workers. Again, thanks for following my blog and your comments. Kevin

  2. I am one of those in that situation. I have been underemployed after our facility was closed and I used severance and grants to further my education with a Master’s and PhD, not to mention a long string of initials behind my name. I do not work a forty hour week. Sometimes I choose not to work or there is no work or I do “free,” like speak at my professional national conference.

    I will either be self-employed, contract, gig, or prn until I hang it up. But, you know, I am not concerned. I am making an impact in my community and one day, I am hired or retired.

    • Author
      Kevin Kennemer 2 years ago

      Hi Dr. Berry, thank you for your comments. Although the government is reporting record low unemployment numbers, it does not include the underemployed or those who have dropped out of the labor market after unsuccessfully finding meaningful employment. You have done what experts recommend; increasing your marketability with additional education. Also, the free agent nation, which you are a part of, is a growing percentage of today’s workforce. Thanks again for following my blog. Kevin

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