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There is a good article on Yahoo! News that reports on the growing pratice we blogged on several months ago about companies requiring candidates to be currently employed, a trend the article calls a “growing form of hiring discrimination,” but one that is not currently prohibited by any laws.

As a recruiter, employers’ bias against unemployed candidates is probably nothing new to you. Some employers have an “unemployed mindset,” assuming that an unemployed candidate must be out of work for a reason and not be a very good worker. But according to numerous news reports over the past year, that bias has morphed into a full-fledged ban on unemployed candidates by some employers who went as far as to list current employment as a requirement on their job postings.

Yahoo! News interviewed Matt Deutsch, Communications Coordinator for our sister company, FoxHire, for the article. He said that many of the recruiters FoxHire works with have encountered clients who will not consider unemployed candidates. For many, this technique is an easy way to speed up the hiring process.

“If you’ve got a huge stack of submissions, and you want to get through them quickly, [you can say] ‘OK, all the people who are not currently employed, forget them,’” said Deutsch, who has blogged about employers requiring candidates to be currently employed.

At the same time, the recession has left 6.2 million Americans jobless for six or more months, and each job opening has 4.7 unemployed candidates vying for it, according to the article. Many could be stellar candidates who simply fell victim to the rash of layoffs during the recession, and overlooking those candidates simply because of gaps in their resumes could cost companies quality workers.

So how can a candidate avoid being overlooked? Most experts recommend trying to fill those gaps with some sort of work-related activity, whether it be getting additional education in their fields or even volunteering to gain experience relevant to the type of work they did or would like to do. One of the best ways to prevent resume gaps is to pick up contract positions, which provide candidates with additional experience and keep them in the workforce. And best of all, unlike going to school or volunteering, they are paid while they are a contractor!

You may also want to offer contracting as an option to clients who are reluctant to hire the unemployed. By bringing on a workers as a contractor, they can evaluate their skills and work ethic before extending the direct-hire offer.

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