4 Questions for Hiring a Job Candidate with an Employment Gap
In today’s recovering economy, many companies view an unemployed candidate as a bad hire. To take this one step further, people with significant resume gaps are also not considered for open positions. But is this really true? Is the quality of their experience really lacking because they’ve experienced periods of unemployment. When you’re considering a resume, don’t focus on what they haven’t done. Rather, consider what they have done with the same regard as any other candidate. Here are some things to discuss with a candidate who has a job gap.
- Don’t assume, ask. Before you make a judgement that could impact the decision, learn why they’ve been out of work. Ask if they were laid off or if they were terminated. If they were fired, why? Or maybe they elected to leave the position. You can find out their reasons for that decision. Once you learn the backstory and motivation, you can see whether or not they will be a good fit for your organization and the company culture.
- Ask what they’ve been doing. Since they left their last position, or during that gap in their resume, what were they doing? But, don’t accept “looking for a job,” as the complete answer. Dig deeper. Maybe they were spending time volunteering in their community, something they felt like they couldn’t do while they were working. Or maybe they were caring for a family member. Or maybe they decided to start a personal project, like a novel or a small crafting business.
- Gauge the effect on your reputation. If you make the decision not to hire this person, how will that reflect on your company? It depends on how you approached the problem. Word of mouth is important for a business, and it doesn’t just come from customers. You have to ask the question the other way, too. What if you do hire them? Will it impact your business positively or negatively?
- Know the benefits. While there are some good reasons not to hire someone who has been out of work, there are also plenty of benefits to hiring them. They will be eager to work and prove themselves. They possess skills and may need little training. They have insider knowledge from their former employers that can be used positively. They also may be willing to consider a temporary to hire situation or slightly lower salary while demonstrate their skills as you evaluate their performance.