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How can I convince a manager to hire a candidate who has been unemployed?

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in Human Resources,The HR Specialist Forum

We’re trying to fill a technical position and have found someone who I think is extremely well qualified. The hiring manager isn’t nearly as enthusiastic because the man has been unemployed for 18 months after being laid off. The manager says if the guy was any good, he would have found work long ago. What can I do to persuade him to take a chance on this candidate (who, by the way, is willing to relocate his family at his own expense from more than a thousand miles away)?—Jim, Dallas


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unknown August 10, 2010 at 2:45 pm

The first argument is that good jobs are hard to find in today’s economy. Unfortunately, for many high earners the reality is that their unemployment checks may be higher than the income they would get by accepting a lower paid job. If the man has a family to support I am sure income was a huge factor in deciding to work or not. After 18 months his unemployment may have already stopped or is nearly running out. Therefore, he is probably more desperate to work and you may be able to negotiate the pay. With someone that has a job, they always want to negotiate higher. You may have more leverage in negotiating pay with someone that is unemployed. Also, the person that is unemployed can usually start right way, versus someone that has to give notice to their prior employer. Also, if he has been unemployed for a long time he may be more eager to produce and give a good impression. Lastly, if your agency qualifies you may get a tax incentive http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=208572,00.html. During the interview, it is important to ask questions related to their last employment and look further for any more gaps in employment as a trend. If there are more gaps in employment and red flags from last employer that would give good reasons not to hire. Otherwise, it is not a good practice to not hire simply because he is unemployed. You may lose out on a great employee if your agency makes this a practice. In this case, I would probably conduct a reference check on his previous employment and ask specific questions to address the managers concerns. The feedback from the reference check can be valuable information that could help you support your reasons to hire or not.

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