06/22/2010 11:02 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Jobless Job-Seekers Need Not Apply?

A spate of recent news stories says that some employers are adopting the policy
that only currently-employed job seekers are invited to interviews. It's heinous and it's idiotic, but if you believe the newspapers, it's also true.

Spare me!

How callous do you have to be to conclude that anyone who's not working is automatically damaged goods, unsuitable for employment? God forbid someone decided to quit a job, taking time off work to care for a child or an ailing relative. Some adventuresome types quit corporate jobs to go into entrepreneurial ventures. If the economy happens to tank a month before the product launch and they're on the street as a result, are they tainted by the experience somehow?

It's bad enough that hard-working people have been let go with little or no notice, often with no severance, and dumped into a difficult job market. Now, some employers are deeming them unsuitable candidates as well? Excuse me for a moment while I lose my breakfast.

I urge job-seekers to boycott any company that shuns jobless candidates as a matter of policy. I don't mean "boycott" as in "Don't apply for a job with that company" - that's just the tip of the iceberg. Those misinformed and prejudiced employers don't deserve our talents, and they don't deserve our dollars. We get to choose where to spend our money, and if we know (via a job ad that makes the policy clear) that a given employer is discriminating against job-seekers because they had the bad fortune to be downsized from another company, we can choose not to do business with the organization now or in the future.

Nearly everyone I know has friends and neighbors - qualified, brilliant people - who are job-hunting right now. If there was ever any shame in having been let go, that shame has long since evaporated. I'm sorry to see so many people displaced, but happy that working people are realizing no employer will look after their long-term professional welfare again. We're on our own, these days. If certain employers are too bone-headed to see our power, they don't deserve us. Any employer that would say "no thanks" to a candidate based on employment status is one that no job-seeker should trust with his or her future.