by Liz Ryan
I got laid off in June and I was confident enough about my job-search chances that I took June and July off. I started job-hunting in August and it’s pretty slow going but I’ve had a few interviews (no offers yet).
I was shocked that an HR Manager at a healthcare facility near my home called me in for an interview but then told me “I’m sorry, I thought from your resume that you were still working at your old company. We only hire people who are currently employed.”
How can companies discriminate against unemployed people? That doesn’t seem fair. It’s not my fault I got laid off. Why should I miss out on a job opportunity I’m qualified for just because I’m not currently working?
Thanks for your thoughts Liz.
I’m sorry that you had that experience, but very happy that you will not be working for those people! Here is an update from the legal site Nolo on laws that prohibit discrimination in hiring on the basis of employment status.
There is zero business logic behind the bone-headed decision to exclude anyone from your hiring pool merely because they aren’t working. At any given time, some of the smartest and most capable people in the labor force aren’t working!
There are many reasons for tremendously talented folks to be out of work. Companies downsize and they don’t necessarily retain their best people. Some of their most capable employees have been put on new projects that become easy to cut when sales are down. Those folks are out the door!
Their competence has nothing to do with the decision to lay them off.
Bright and outspoken people can be among the first employees to leave during a downturn, because they shake up the status quo and aren’t as malleable as more docile employees are.
Employers make a big mistake when they unilaterally and without a shred of evidence conclude that employed job-seekers are somehow superior to unemployed job-seekers. Do they think that everyone who is employed is a terrific employee and a great catch for their company? If so, they are not paying attention!
You deserve a new job in an organization where the leaders are smart and have their eyes open. That healthcare facility is not such a workplace, and it’s good that you didn’t waste one second more with those folks. If any more employers spurn you as a candidate because you aren’t working right now, they did not deserve you in the first place and you will have dodged a bullet.
Anybody who could conclude that your current employment status is more important than your brains, heart and experience is a fool. You don’t have time to waste with fools. You’ve got a brilliant career to manage!
All the best,