“No Unemployed Need Apply.”

by Little Miss Attila on March 4, 2011

Ed looks at the current HR tagline that “no layoff candidates need apply” and compares it with discrimination against the long-term unemployed.

I’m not sure that’s 100% fair, since the companies now who don’t want to even talk to a laid-off or unemployed person are not necessarily dealing with “long-term” unemployed: they don’t care if the layoff took place last year–or last month.

It’s a foolish approach, since people who have to give notice to existing employers aren’t available to start as soon, and may get counter-offers from existing companies who don’t want to lose them–there are real logistical problems with the “no layoff candidates” attitude that don’t exist with someone who’s ready to come to work at your convenience.

Of course, the “no unemployed people” could also be a way of discriminating against those who got laid off and didn’t have the sense to immediately hang out their shingles as freelancers or “consultants.” In some cases it could be a way of weeding out people who can’t or won’t think on their feet.

It’s a grim, stupid trend, though. And particularly in these times, it’s easy to look “long-term unemployed” (that is, like someone who might have behavioral problems or difficulty in dealing with others) when one has simply been a victim of bad luck. After all, the real unemployment rate right now is higher than it’s been in decades.

UPDATE: Moe has mo‘.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Foxfier March 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I think the long term unemployed/laid off thing may have more to do with trying to weed out those who have been on unemployment right up until it ran out– avoid the people who will do the absolute least work possible.


Roxeanne de Luca March 5, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I’ve seen that before and can’t help but think it’s a bit ridiculous. While a company might prefer someone who immediately becomes a consultant and makes money, or gets a job as a barista at Starbuck’s to help make ends meet, the reality is that any income you receive can put your unemployment check in jeopardy. It is foolish to lose $1,500 a month in benefits (that would continue for a year) to earn $600 in a month. Those are the perverse incentives we deal with, and it’s not sensible to fail to distinguish between those who create the incentives and those who operate within them.

Furthermore, whom do they expect would be looking for a job – someone who has been with a company as a valued employee for 15 years and is looking to throw that all away to start somewhere else? Really? Or maybe it’s that when people lose one job (often with almost no notice), they look for another?

I certainly do understand why companies would be leery of hiring someone who hasn’t worked at all in the last two or three years, but this doesn’t seem to be a rational way of going about it.


Roxeanne de Luca March 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm

That is to say – everything comes out in a job interview anyway, so why fail to consider tens of millions of potential candidates because you are trying to avoid a few slouches?


Foxfier March 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm

The best professional slackers I know are very good at stealing credit, puffing up their resumes and talking a good fight.

It’s only a few years later, when you look at a destroyed department and realize that as soon as they didn’t have anyone to mooch off of, their productivity stopped, that you realize what you have on your hands.

Some people will work ten hours a day to avoid doing an eight hour job.


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