We hear many stories that companies shy away from hiring someone who is unemployed, especially if they have been unemployed longer than 6 months. Some companies may only consider candidates that are actively working or at best unemployed for 1-2 months. A recent newspaper article said the average duration for those unemployed is 9 months. Bypassing these candidates is often eliminating those who will most likely be your best performers
The belief has been if someone is unemployed for a long time that there might be something wrong with them or their inability to network, job search, or they are lacking other skills. There is also the mindset that a company wants someone with immediate relevant experience to their industry or the open position and someone unemployed does not meet that requirement.
There is no doubt that the best person to help any business is someone who is unemployed, especially if they have been unemployed more than 6 months. I am not referring to a job seeker who barely has a resume, comes unprepared to an interview and demonstrates all of the other classic mistakes job seekers can make. Those job seekers are at best a tiny percentage of all job seekers. To the contrary most job seekers that have previously been employed more than 10 years are extremely talented people who have sharpened their skills while unemployed.
Here are 6 reasons why someone who is unemployed that you hire will end up being one of your top performers:
1. Ability to face adversity: Why is a job seeker who has been unemployed for many months the best person to come in and make a powerful impact on your company and business? Because someone unemployed has obtained the ability to face adversity, get up every day to sell themselves again, deal with the emotional, mental and physical stress of the unknown, and take another step toward their goal each day. And isn’t adversity, constant change, the biggest challenge businesses face every day? Job seekers possess the capacity to remain balanced and keep moving forward with a clear and even mindset to deal with ever changing market conditions, threats to the business, setbacks of projects and turnover within a company. Someone unemployed develops the capability to remain emotionally balanced while under stress.
2. Motivated to learn: Companies today are often looking for someone with industry or specific technical skills that match the company’s needs and can consider job seekers as lacking these vital skills. Whatever a job seeker may be lacking in technical skills or industry knowledge is more than compensated by their over whelming desire to perform at their highest ability for the company and desire to learn in a new job. Most managers will agree that the key to building a great team is to hire someone who is motivated as you can teach them about the business along the way. This is often in direct contrast to hiring someone with the necessary skills, but lacking the desire to be the best they can be.
3. Tenacity: These dedicated job seekers rapidly acquire the skills of perseverance, patience, persistence and tenacity. They have learned to face rejection and continue on toward their goal. They have acquired this major skill because of the tenacity required when in a job search, waiting on the phone to ring, not being called back with no reason given, dealing with rejection, and getting back up on their feet easily 30,40 or even 100 times in their job search. And they do so with a smile, faith, confidence and belief they will succeed.
Job seekers face rejection and setback on a daily basis. There is no better teacher in life than rejection and failure. From each experience, job seekers evaluate what worked, what didn’t work, remix the formula and try again. Job seekers have the resilience to get back up and potentially face rejection again, yet keep adjusting their sails, their mindset, their approach and their skills all to be the best employee a company will ever have.
4. Presentation skills: Job seekers aren’t just polishing their resume, tweaking their LinkedIn profile, and rehearsing an elevator speech with other unemployed people. In reality, they are continually growing and learning, taking courses, attending seminars, and especially receiving feedback on their speaking, writing and presentation skills. Most important they are improving their skill on how to sell an idea, a concept and approach – selling a hiring manager that they have the ability, passion and desire to make an impact on that company. It is said that the number one fear of all people is public speaking, yet these people learn to excel at presenting every day, and selling one of the most difficult things to sell – themselves. Given the opportunity, job seekers are some of the best at selling to anyone.
5. Been there, done that: Technology has changed business to some degree, but challenges companies face remain the same. Standing in the way of achieving goals and growing the business, companies and managers continually face not having enough resources, time constraints, tight budgets, an ever-changing economic and political environment, supply chain logistics and providing excellent customer service. Unemployed candidates with more than 20 year’s experience have battled through all of these challenges. They didn’t just save the company money, they did it with limited resources or with deadlines and little budget. This valuable experience will quickly provide your ROI.
6. Staying current: A hiring manager may require current experience which is understandable. Yet, some people in her/his department are not current on technical skills such certifications, degrees or instructive seminars. Quite simply, they often just do not have the time nor the budget. At the same time many job seekers are expanding their skill set automatically. They have taken courses, obtained a degree, added new certifications, CPA credits or learned the latest in social media. They come to the interview and a company armed with the skills, mindset and business perspective ready to make an immediate impact.
You may ask if these job seekers are this talented why have then not been hired? They can be quickly overlooked when submitting a resume as too old, over-qualified or not having current experience. And yet they have extremely valuable experience, the knowledge of having been there before, knowing the problems companies will face, and the emotional and mental fortitude to get the job done.
And, most job seekers will have researched your company, contacted people who worked or work at your company, and learned about the company culture, all to determine if they are a great fit for your company AND that the company is a great fit for them. They are looking for the best opportunity as well.
I have met hundreds of job seekers at networking meetings and a host of other venues and they all have one thing in common: a burning desire to be the best they can be, motivation to never stop learning and growing, and determination to prove once again that they can and will add massive value to another company.