Recruiters on Denying Employment to the Unemployed

Whether or not the unemployed should be considered for open jobs in this country has been a topic of much debate during the past year or so.  There are a few reasons for this:

  1. The unemployment rate is above 9% and has been for quite some time.
  2. Companies are not that willing at the present time to hire new employees.
  3. When companies do want to hire, many have made it a point NOT to consider any applicants who are currently unemployed.

It’s that final point that’s caused the most “ruckus,” so to speak.  That’s because up until recently, some companies have made blatant attempts to exclude unemployed candidates from consideration for their open positions.  In fact, some even put “the unemployed need not apply” verbiage in their job board postings and notices.

Since then, the practice has come under attack, so much so that New Jersey made job advertisements banning unemployed candidates illegal.  Then there’s the proposed Fair Employment Act of 2011, which President Obama included in his jobs bill.  That act would make it unlawful for an employer or employment agency to discriminate against individuals based upon their unemployment status or history of unemployment.

But here’s the really important question: what do recruiters think about this issue?

Well, we decided to find out.  We polled recruiters from all across the country by posing the question below:

Should it be illegal for companies to deny employment based solely on a person’s unemployed status?

The choice of answers that we provided is listed below, along with the percentage of recruiters who selected each one:

  • Yes—49.3%
  • No—33.3%
  • Indifferent—17.3%

As you can see, almost half of the recruiters who participated in the poll think that the practice should be illegal, while a third of them take the opposite stance.  In addition, over 17% of respondents are simply indifferent to the issue, which is not that surprising.

After all, the job of recruiters is to find the candidates their clients are seeking, currently employed or not.  In fact, even if a recruiter believes that it should be illegal for companies to deny employment based solely upon a person’s unemployed status, they’ll probably continue to present and query their recruiting software for employed candidates only . . . if that’s what their client wants to see.

What’s YOUR take on this hot-button issue?  Should it be illegal?  Should it not?  Are you indifferent to the debate?  Is the whole thing overblown?