So what's it mean when an interviewee says that she/he is on unemployment; what does that say about the person? Is the person honest or does it mean that at first sign of trouble she will run.

In our company we deal with a lot of lower-end employees like caregivers that literally wait once their probation period is up so they can quit and get their unemployment checks while not working.

I recruit for administrative corporate staff and supervisors so i don't deal with caregivers; but still when we hear unemployment we literally get a sour taste in our mouths. Because of all the trouble it causes with loosing someone you just got up to speed and having to find fill-ins until the right person takes over that job completely. oh and of course the part where we get billed by the agency. Our Supervisors try to do everything in their power for those quitting and going on unemployment but they don't want to work; seems like its just a lifestyle for them.

So I really need some guidance on this one. Sometimes I see through the b.s. "great answers" but like in today's case; the person seems great but then they said "I'm on unemployment" and "My previous position didn't workout because sales wasn't for me".. 

Tags: Corporate Recruiting, Recruiting Tools / Sourcing, help, interview, questions, unemployment

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Interesting question, but not one that is easily answered.

First, if someone is on unemployment, how are you finding this out?  Are you asking the question directly?

My thoughts, and I've dealt with the issue you're having, are this:  first, they have worked/earned enough to obtain unemployment, good for them.  How long were they at their last job?  Was it a year?  5 years?  3 months?  

I would look at their history and not their source of income right now.  I'd look at how long they were in their previous positions and why they left.  Listen to their answers, it should paint a picture for you of the 'real' person inside the candidate's body.

Unemployment is a means to an end, I think is how they say it.  It's to help get by between positions.  Even for the lower level people.  They aren't making as much on unemployment as they would be working, so you should see those candidates who are driven to do more vs. those who are comfortable on unemployment.

Dig into their background, their work history, why they left, the different companies they've worked for (you probably know some of the back stories around the companies they've worked for if it's a similar industry).  Whether someone is collecting unemployment or not shouldn't be the focus.  If it is, you may want to redirect your efforts to where they could actually benefit the client.  Stronger caliber of employee = less likely to leave.

Good luck,and hope this helps some!

I think there's something wrong with a system where people can quit for no valid reason and actually receive unemployment. I worked for WA State Employment Security Dept and there are ways for companies to fight a claim - it's still up to the state but I've seen plenty of employers win. But I digress. :)

The bigger question is not necessarily that they're on unemployment, it's why are they NOT EMPLOYED. I agree with Linda - have they worked consistently up to a point? Are they finding themselves unemployed every 3 months or so? These are the real questions we should be asking and making judgment calls from there - regardless of whether or not they're receiving UI benefits.

My mom has been unemployed and collecting benefits for a year now - but prior to that she was employed by a small manufacturing company for over 10 years. She was laid off because the business has slowed down so much and very nearly went under. She would make a GREAT employee for someone, and shame on a recruiter who would not consider her simply because she's collecting a weekly check. Look deeper.

It is not that easy in Texas for someone who quits a job or gets fired for cause to draw unemployment. Employers protest almost all claims unless someone was laid off for no fault. Sometimes an employer will terminate someone because they were trying but couldn't cut it and will not protest as the employer feels it was partially a hiring mistake on their part.

That being said, the reason we pay into and employers pay into unemployment insurance is so people can get a little help if they lose their job. Nobody is going to live well or long on a grand a month before tax but if it enables them to pay their house payment that is what it's for.

My attitude, I don't care if somebody is on unemployment or not and there should be no disgrace or bias against anyone who is drawing it. There is a limit unlike people who live on welfare, food stamps and make a living having babies. There is a lot more of that going on than people who work a while then get fired draw unemployment and do it again.

I noticed Mendoza's post on Facebook yesterday that there are now more people on food stamps in the US than the entire population of Spain.

If somebody is talking to me, it means to me they want to work. That's all I need to know.

Wow. Great advice here. Thanks Linda. That really helped with seeing a different perspective than the one we generally are in here at our company.  :-)

Linda Ferrante LoCicero said:

Interesting question, but not one that is easily answered.

First, if someone is on unemployment, how are you finding this out?  Are you asking the question directly?

My thoughts, and I've dealt with the issue you're having, are this:  first, they have worked/earned enough to obtain unemployment, good for them.  How long were they at their last job?  Was it a year?  5 years?  3 months?  

I would look at their history and not their source of income right now.  I'd look at how long they were in their previous positions and why they left.  Listen to their answers, it should paint a picture for you of the 'real' person inside the candidate's body.

Unemployment is a means to an end, I think is how they say it.  It's to help get by between positions.  Even for the lower level people.  They aren't making as much on unemployment as they would be working, so you should see those candidates who are driven to do more vs. those who are comfortable on unemployment.

Dig into their background, their work history, why they left, the different companies they've worked for (you probably know some of the back stories around the companies they've worked for if it's a similar industry).  Whether someone is collecting unemployment or not shouldn't be the focus.  If it is, you may want to redirect your efforts to where they could actually benefit the client.  Stronger caliber of employee = less likely to leave.

Good luck,and hope this helps some!

Thanks Amy. I appreciate the example you brought up here about your mom. It really is just a bit more digging I have to do to get me understanding whats in front of me. Thanks.

Amy Ala said:

I think there's something wrong with a system where people can quit for no valid reason and actually receive unemployment. I worked for WA State Employment Security Dept and there are ways for companies to fight a claim - it's still up to the state but I've seen plenty of employers win. But I digress. :)

The bigger question is not necessarily that they're on unemployment, it's why are they NOT EMPLOYED. I agree with Linda - have they worked consistently up to a point? Are they finding themselves unemployed every 3 months or so? These are the real questions we should be asking and making judgment calls from there - regardless of whether or not they're receiving UI benefits.

My mom has been unemployed and collecting benefits for a year now - but prior to that she was employed by a small manufacturing company for over 10 years. She was laid off because the business has slowed down so much and very nearly went under. She would make a GREAT employee for someone, and shame on a recruiter who would not consider her simply because she's collecting a weekly check. Look deeper.

If someone is talking to me, that means they want to work. Good words here! and that is just crazy about the food stamps; absolutely insane. 

Sandra McCartt said:

It is not that easy in Texas for someone who quits a job or gets fired for cause to draw unemployment. Employers protest almost all claims unless someone was laid off for no fault. Sometimes an employer will terminate someone because they were trying but couldn't cut it and will not protest as the employer feels it was partially a hiring mistake on their part.

That being said, the reason we pay into and employers pay into unemployment insurance is so people can get a little help if they lose their job. Nobody is going to live well or long on a grand a month before tax but if it enables them to pay their house payment that is what it's for.

My attitude, I don't care if somebody is on unemployment or not and there should be no disgrace or bias against anyone who is drawing it. There is a limit unlike people who live on welfare, food stamps and make a living having babies. There is a lot more of that going on than people who work a while then get fired draw unemployment and do it again.

I noticed Mendoza's post on Facebook yesterday that there are now more people on food stamps in the US than the entire population of Spain.

If somebody is talking to me, it means to me they want to work. That's all I need to know.

Thanks everyone. these reply's have been helping me a ton. 

Glad to hear it Dmitiri! I'll admit when I worked in "the system" I saw plenty of people taking advantage of their unemployment benefits. They would turn down decent opportunities, refuse low wage or volunteer positions that could help keep their skills sharp, so I totally understand the potential for negative reactions when you hear someone is collecting benefits. We just have to be open minded and probe every situation individually. Glad the comments here helped.

Well, it the person is unemployed, they may very well be collecting unemployment. People of all levels can be laid off and collect unemployment. I'm not sure why that is being held against a candidate. It seems like it is more important for you to find out WHY the person is currently unemployed rather than worry about if they are or aren't collecting unemployment. Do they have a stable or choppy work history?  Also, are you asking them if they collect unemployment? If so, why?

Some candidates are BLUNT honest in interviews. (I had someone say to me "I really don't care who I work for, I just want to work!") 

@Amy, it is hard for someone who quit or was fired to collect unemployment. Unless the employer is slow in responding to claims OR they feel guilty as to why a person left and let the claim "slide" it isn't easy for someone to just get unemployment beenfits.

 

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