5 Ways to Spot an Unemployed Candidate You Should Hire

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As companies have undergone downsizing and restructuring in the past few years, many talented professionals have been laid off for reasons unrelated to their work performances. Unfortunately, the reality is that it is often easier for recruiters to hire a candidate who is currently employed than it is to risk hiring someone who has been out of the workforce.

However, this approach does not always ensure you have chosen the best candidate for the job! Below are a few tips on how to spot unemployed candidates you should consider hiring:

Understand what precipitated the layoff.  Don’t dismiss an unemployed candidate before taking the time to review his or her resume and really understand why he or she left their last job. Maybe the candidate’s firm shut down unexpectedly, and you happen to be one of the first to know he or she is looking for work!

Look for transparency. Ambiguity on a resume never serves a candidate well.  Candidates who make a concerted effort to be clear and honest with their potential employers are worth a second look.

Find out how they’ve spent their time out of work.  Some unemployed candidates will pursue other professional development activities as a way to fill in their work experience gaps. Candidates who have taken the initiative to independently consult, volunteer in their field of work, or even take classes are certainly worth considering.

Look for an easily identifiable track record in prior roles.  Strong candidates usually have something to show for it in their previous roles.  A demonstrated history of success suggests that a candidate is employable, even if he or she does not currently hold a job.  For example, if you’re looking to hire a sales professional, look for some level of achievement, such as revenue brought in or promotions received.

Get references. The most employable unemployed professionals often provide excellent references from their previous employers.  If a former senior-level colleague speaks highly of the candidate, it can go a long way.  These references may even be more relevant than those of an employed candidate, because an employed candidate’s references are often from earlier roles in his or her career—sometimes five or ten years prior.

Just because a candidate is unemployed doesn’t mean he or she wouldn’t be the best hire. Need help finding the perfect fit? Search our candidate community of over 500K finance, accounting, and technology professionals.

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