A recent article in one of The Huffington Post's parent company's online publications, AOL Jobs, titled "Employer Explains Why He Won't Hire The Unemployed," the author interviews a business owner who provides reasons why he will not consider hiring an unemployed individual. I read his reasons with considerable interest because like many, I find generalizations such as the ones provided by this business owner to be lacking in thought and as I stated in the readers' comments section, his reasoning is both faulty and foolish.
An excerpt of his reasons (in italics) and my responses are as follows:
- People who have a job are proven to be valuable. No. People who have a job are proven to know how to keep it. Often, that means not rocking the boat and showing the boss just enough to make them happy with what they see with little regard for going the "extra mile" because it's not necessary.
- You can't be sure why the unemployed lost their jobs. Sure you can! You follow this process called "the interview."
- The employed will adjust quicker to a new job. The employed have no time to learn new aspects of a new job (and their always, always are) until they are in it -- as opposed to someone who is unemployed and has the time to study and learn the latest information and newest methods to successfully do the new job.
- An employed candidate has fresher job skills. See 3 above.
- I have to watch the bottom line. And this one is the most absurd of all. Does it not occur to these individuals, someone who is unemployed will work harder, stay longer and demonstrate more efficiency -- not to mention greater delight (thus, less errors) -- all leading to a more cost effective bottom line, than someone who has been working and just brings the same routine?
As business owners and/or top-level executives, it is a duty to ourselves and our organizations to formulate decisions that advance our business. We do this by making choices which encompass strategy, a vision for growth and importantly, hiring the people who possess the right set of skills that can pick-up where we are at now and can take us where we want to go. Unfortunately for the subject in the article, he doesn't seem to subscribe to this philosophy. But then it seems, neither do many executives who are entrusted with the future of the companies that employ them or sadder still as in this case, the owner of the company that sustains him. Their view is not on "What can you do for me?" as it should be, but instead obsesses on "What can't you do for someone else?" Is this thought process prevalent in every company and in every sector? Chances are it's probably held by many who are in a decision-making hiring capacity. But hiring the right people should be paramount in the minds of the folks who run these companies -- especially given the highly competitive globally connected business environment we live in today.
As a poor excuse, too many business leaders are using the state of our current global economy as a reason to double down thus creating an overworked, often underpaid but always highly stressed work environment. This attitude will in the long term, affect productivity which in turn negatively affects the bottom line. Unfortunately, short term high profit margins due to reduced labor costs tend to place dark blinders over those who have a great deal to lose namely: the stockholder, the customer, the employee, the still employed - in other words, everyone. So instead of holding back, isn't it a smarter move to hire someone who will produce the results you seek regardless of their current employment status?
Hiring should be an easy process. The company has a need and the candidate is able to fulfill it. It doesn't require deep thought or arbitrary, unsubstantiated pop-psychology to arrive at such a clear conclusion. It just requires common sense. Maybe it's time hiring managers should just start using some.