To keep your staffing business going strong, you need to find the best possible members of two groups: clients and candidates. Clients, you often have to track down, but candidates tend to come to you, especially in these high-unemployment times. But how do you find the strongest candidates?
This is the third post in a seven-part series over the next few weeks sharing tips for finding the diamonds in the rough of your waiting rooms.
With high unemployment lingering around like an unwanted visiting relative, you’re bound to interview lots of candidates who have been unemployed for some time. Some candidates might also have large gaps in their employment history that can’t be explained by caring for family members or attending school. So learning how candidates handle unemployment will tell you a lot about them.
Understanding the cause of the unemployment is the first step: were they laid off or fired, or did they resign? In this economy, being laid off is no longer a source of stigma. Many companies have shed thousands of workers, whole divisions, entire branches. However, a layoff in a strong economic year such as 2005 or 1999 might be another story.
As the candidate tells you about the circumstances for their unemployment, listen to see if there are recurring themes. If a candidate seems resentful over a layoff, or if they admit to resigning repeatedly but insist that it was the company’s fault, that can indicate some issues.
Also, find out what they’re doing or what they have done during their times of unemployment. Keeping their skills sharp, taking classes, volunteering—all of these are great answers. Even if they’re sticking close to home, that doesn’t have to be a negative. Someone who finished, painted and organized the garage while unemployed has shown a lot more initiative than someone who went to Starbucks every day… and played Angry Birds.
What else can you learn about a candidate based on their unemployment history (as well as their employment history)? Let us know in the comments!