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Home > Blog: In the Workplace > If Job Seekers Can Be Flexible, Why Can't Employers?

If Job Seekers Can Be Flexible, Why Can't Employers?

Here's a good discussion launcher: If workers need to be flexible in their jobs and when they get laid off and look for new jobs, why can't employers show similar flexibility when they need to fill a position or hang onto someone who might look for something better after, say, a year?

FlexibilityI pondered that question after I read a recent article about job postings that say unemployed applicants would not be considered.

Yes, when you're jobless and sending dozens of resumes, most of which fail to land interviews, it sometimes seems as if no one will cut you a break. And then you see this tactless statement in a job posting that drives home the point rather bluntly. That's like saying: "So, your old company kicked you into the gutter? Tsk! Tsk! Here's another kick! Stay in that gutter and like it!"

What are some of the lame excuses companies hide behind in rejecting the jobless? The article cites these two gems:

  • "If you're unemployed, there must have been something wrong with your performance."

    I can hear the chorus of "What?!?!?" among those who were pink-slipped because of their company's performance problems, not their own.
  • In this economy, employers get too many applications, so they have to find some shortcuts to end up with a more manageable list.

    Hmmm, how about eliminating resumes from anyone with the letter K, L, M, N, or O in their last names? That makes about as much sense.

But here's another reason, which was not cited in the article, that we hear a lot today:

The job would be a lateral move or a step down, so if they hire an unemployed candidate, he or she will bolt after the economy improves and something better comes along.

Some will find that logical, but I believe it signals a company's inflexibility. If an employer winds up with a star performer who has taken a step down after being laid off from a previous job, wouldn't it make sense to find a way to keep that person? Or, if a highly experienced person applies for a lower-level job, and the company knows it can benefit from the job seeker's experience, why not tinker with the job requirements to move them closer to that level of expertise?

That's how an employer can be more flexible, and more of them should be in this economy.

Are companies less flexible in their hiring practices today? Is it fair that some reject job applicants just because they're unemployed? Share your views with us below.


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