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Job Applicants: Must Be Employed?

Job Applicants: Must Be Employed?

July 20, 2010

Is current employment status important when deciding whether to hire someone? During good economic times, it may make sense. After all, if jobs are available, why aren't you employed?

But now, with unemployment continuing to hover just below 10 percent (9.5 percent in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), does it really make sense for employers to discriminate based on employment status? Hundreds of thousands of people who want to work can't find work. They've lost jobs as companies have eliminated entire shifts or closed altogether. They may have been star workers, but at some point, employers have had to let some of the best go.

It's a question we asked in the latest MDM/Baird Distribution Survey, and it's a question MDM Editor Lindsay Konzak posed to members of our LinkedIn group – the MDM Independent Distributor Network  – last week.

In the survey, 15 percent of respondents indicated employment status was one of the top two factors in making a hiring decision. And on LinkedIn, several people offered their own insight into why employment status may be a factor.

"Today employers are looking for reasons why they should NOT hire people, using the old Ben Franklin method of making a list with two columns," Tony Serino, managing director of Serino Channel Services, wrote on LinkedIn. "In 'Ben's day,' the idea was to see which column was longer. Today employers are looking if there are ANY entries in the bad column."

And the stigma attached to unemployment still persists, according to Prudence Thompson, a recruiter with Egret Consulting. "I hear time after time, 'Why would I hire someone that my competitor got rid of?' It's not pretty, but it's happening all over."

What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments below or by joining the discussion in Modern Distribution Management's Independent Distributor Network on LinkedIn.

 

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