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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hiring practices gone bad

It’s been quite some time since I’ve witnessed such poor advice on hiring practices as cited in a recent CNNMoney article on Out-of-work job applicants told unemployed need not apply. Let’s revisit the fundamentals: Most unemployed people do not lose jobs for performance-related issues!

The reality, based on our own research and some 30 years of experience in helping the unemployed, is that more than one-in-two people lose their jobs because they are impacted by a downsizing. Mergers, restructures, divestitures and plant closings frequently result in the need for organizations to let people go. According to the article, the myth is being perpetuated that most employees get laid off for performance issues. This is simply untrue.

If you’re sensing I’m a little cranky, it’s because I am. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 in 10 (6.1 million people) have been jobless for 27 weeks or more – by far the highest proportion of long-term unemployment on record, with data back to 1948. Most of these out-of-work people were laid off for the reasons cited above. It is naïve to exclude the unemployed when trying to fill positions for needed talent. If some employers are dumbing down the unemployed to this level, you can only imagine the negative values with which they treat their own employees. Most will likely want to jump ship at the first opportunity.

The reality is that unemployed people do get jobs. And frequently, they are even rehired by their past employers. We also know that most source their new opportunities through networking (and, thankfully, not from the narrowly focused so-called staffing “experts” quoted in the above-referenced article). And the real kicker is that most of the outplaced job seekers we work with land new jobs at the same or higher salary as they held in their previous positions.

In an environment where there is a fundamental disconnect between the skills companies require and the skills employees offer is widening, can you really afford to discount half of the available talent out there to fill your open positions?

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