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Home » Unemployment, Workplace Finance

Unemployed? Many Hiring Employers Won’t Even Give you a Look

Last updated by on 25 Comments

The Huffington Post highlighted a disturbing trend that I feared might happen where employers are completely overlooking applicants who are currently unemployed. Disturbingly, they are notifying potential job applicants that they ‘Need Not Apply’ right within the job posting itself! This one hits close to home because my wife was laid off for non-performance reasons early last year (she has since found a job, but it wasn’t easy).

Before we go into the reasons why this is ethically disgusting, it’s worth pointing out that these employers at least have the hubris (or stupidity, not sure which it is) to announce it externally. I’d imagine for every hiring employer that it announcing this policy, there are 20 who are smart enough not to. But that doesn’t make it any less excusable from an ethical standpoint.

Why this Employment Policy is Ethically Inexcusable for an Employer

hiring unemployed1. Based on Wrong Generalized Assumptions

It’s wrong to think that an employee who is unemployed is unemployed because of their performance (which I’m guessing is why these companies are doing this). Entire divisions in companies have been cut, cuts are often based on seniority, and extenuating circumstances that otherwise has nothing to do with an employees performance are all legit non-performance reasons for being unemployed.

2. It’s Evil

Those who have been unlucky enough to lose their jobs are down on their luck already. If they are otherwise qualified, there is no reason why anyone should be kicking dirt in their eyes while they’re down.

3. It Promotes Disloyalty

If you are only hiring someone who is currently employed and looking to move jobs in this volatile economy, aren’t you hiring a ‘job hopper’ to some extent?

4. It’s Close to Being Illegal (and Probably should be) – Unemployment by Race

There are borderline Equal Employment Opportunity violations at play here. In new unemployment data released by the U.S. Labor Department last Friday, the unemployment rates by race are as follows:

  • whites – 8.8%
  • asians – 7.5%
  • hispanics – 12.6%
  • blacks – 16.5%

That means that an African American is twice as likely to be unemployed vs. a white or asian.

What to Do if you See an Ad That Highlights this Policy

If you are employed and actively looking to find a new job, do me and every unemployed person a favor – send the employer your kick-ass resume along with a note that says “I was interested in this job until I read your ‘No Hiring the Unemployed’ policy. I don’t want to work for an employer with this type of unethical hiring policy.”

Discussion:

  • What do you think of this policy?
  • Would you feel comfortable working for an employer with this type of policy?

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


25 Comments »
  • philip says:

    That is scary actually. I have been to the point that I was unsure if I would have a job after a certain point simply because a project ended and no other spots were opening at the company. Based on this I should very much look for a job before the axe is dropped otherwise I am screwed!

    It does seem wrong but there is a slight amount of sense but not enough to implement it in my opinion.

  • Aury (Thunderdrake) says:

    It’s bad enough to be an employee in this particular economy today. I’ve pretty much given up on job hunting myself and opted to chase some side gigs instead. I got into the gold and silver business, and it’s been a very handsome hobby, leaving me with time to pursue things in writing and blogging, too!

  • FF says:

    Great piece, I agree with much of what you said. One quibble: your statement that “an unemployed is twice as likely to be black versus white or asian” is not supported by the data you give. That’s not how percentages work. Sure white unemployment is ~9% and black unemployment is almost double that, but what matters is the total population of unemployed people in each ethnic group.

    To clarify: say there are 100 white people and 10 black people in a population. Now if 25 white people are unemployed and 5 blacks are unemployed, unemployment will be 25% for whites and 50% for blacks. That DOES NOT mean that an unemployed person is twice as likely to be black. There are 30 unemployed people overall, the chances that any random one of them is black is only 5/30, or 1/6. Only about 16.7% of total unemployed people are black.

    I don’t have time to go check what the actual numbers are. For sure, unemployment is a huge problem for african americans so your point is valid, but your math is not.

  • G.E. Miller says:

    @ FF – you’re right, changed the language in the article. Semantics.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    This is definitely scary. It’s insult to injury to be unemployed and to suffer further discrimination.

  • Brandy says:

    Firstly, in general, people who are laid off are the weakest links at companies. That may seem harsh and you will have a story or two of people who aren’t that way. Those special stories are the exception, not the rule! Secondly, if an employer wants to discriminate, they should be allowed to. They own the business; they should get to choose who works for them. If they idiotically believe that they should only hire people with attached earlobes, then it is their right. The business is their property and they can do with it what they want. The business will either prosper because they were right to only hire people with attached earlobes, fail because that was a really dumb decision, or change thier hiring practices to allow people with detached earlobes to work for them.

    • Dee says:

      Brandy – given this jobs economy do you really think the unemployed are the weakest links ? Wrong, companies are taking advantage of this & letting go their longer tenured ie: most experienced & highest paid in trade for lower paid workers. I just came out of a Fortune 50 cellular company that is doing this. Let go everyone over 12 yrs tenure. We were their SMARTEST & BRIGHTEST employees, not the dumbest. We built that company to the monster it is today and it wasnt easy. Slackers simply dont make it at this comapny. I have been in my field for over 20 yrs. I am highly skilled & certainly did not go into a coma and forget everything while I was unemployed. I am currently working on starting my own business. I am way over qualified for most jobs I see out there and unfortunately unemployment pays more than most of the paltry salary offerings I see being offered but I would take one anyway. Please do not follow the garbage trail beliefs that you hear & use your common sense. Compared to the ‘workers’ I’ve had the chance to encounter, these companies are passing over the cream of the crop for people who can barely communicate & have the brain skills of a monkey in most cases…sorry but true. But alas, these are the preferential picks. Why ?? Because they’re cheaper. ALL employees go once they hit certain threshholds withing a company. And companies are in business to make profits at any cost. Now is a great time to pick up some excellent cheap help, but my mind befuddles me as to why more companies are not taking advantage of this.

    • Deborah says:

      Brandy, you are a bitch. I have a disability I was born with (Aspergers), and employers won’t give me the time of day. I didn’t ask to be born with any disability. For those of us who are most often discriminated against, you might as well tell us to go shoot ourselves because we should never be gainfully employed because employers “own the place” so they should decide who works for them. What if an applicant is over the age of 50? That group is having a hard time getting jobs. I am sure that if you were an employer,which you may very well be with your attitude, you would tell that over 50 group to “go shoot yourself because you are useless and expensive to insure, and besides that, it will free up social security money for those like Romney who would just pocket it and put it in overseas accounts. Where were you when God was handing out ethics and morals? With your attitude of thinking it is OK to allow open discrimination, you deserve to be shot.

      • Deborah says:

        Paul, there are few enough people left in the employment ranks in this economy that they are the boss’s pets, so other employers are not likely to get people who have things the way they want in the current job politics situation.

        Employers need to realize this before they go off on unemployed people, thinking that ALL of them are unemployed because they are “losers” or “non-performers.” They are not thinking that the eocnomy has caused a lot of people to lose their jobs through no fault of their own, and yes, I think there is some job stealing. My former boss forced someone else out of the position she is in now. She actually threatened someone who was her boss and sent them out the door. The director did NOTHING about it. After all the so-callled disability agency is only a front agency for his government freebies, so all the drama that took place was really nothing off his back.

  • Jeff Walden says:

    There’s a slight bit of laziness about ignoring based on past history of unemployment, but it doesn’t seem to me to be horribly off-base, and it might even be smart. (I received dozens of letters from colleges during the summer before I graduated high school. The first step I took was to eliminate every letter from a college in “the South” or in climates that I deemed too warm, just to filter the number I had to consider and weigh to a reasonable number. I could have spent a lot of time going through every one meticulously, but since I would only ever choose one college, it inarguably would have entailed a large amount of extra effort.) A long period of unemployment can correlate with lack of initiative or drive to succeed, among other desirable characteristics for a potential employee. Better would be if employers considered how that time was put to use — self-enrichment and job-searching, or aimless inaction — but they’re only hurting themselves by not considering everyone for the job. Also, since they’re choosing to hire the number of people they hire, they aren’t affecting unemployment overall — merely causing it to be distributed differently.

    That a policy happens to affect one class of persons more than another does not mean it is discriminatory. The more common explanation from what I’ve seen is that policies reflect the society in which they’re promulgated. This graph suggests that unemployment disparities are a long-standing phenomenon exogenous to the hiring practices of employers in general. Given that, it seems unfair to “punish” employers in general for something they did nothing to bring about. As for problems with society…there are unfortunately no silver bullets but hard work toward improving childhoods to set the right path, then giving it time.

    • Deborah says:

      Jeff, a long period of unemployment also indicates a person is probably in one of the categories of workers employers just do not want to hire, and that is those of us over the age of 50. We are expected to just go die somewhere.

      I was let go from my most recent job by a bully boss who hated my guts just because I had a disability she didn’t like, and that was at a disability rights agency, so don’t tell me that discrimination is OK, or those of us with long periods of unemployment are lacking in drive to succeed. I have a strong drive to just survive since I am a widow, and I have always supported myself. If worse comes to worst for me, I will be living outside in this cold weather, homeless and starving. Due to the attitudes you have already expressed, I am sure you believe in eugenics by unemployment. Those of us who can no longer even afford housing SHOULD die of the elements and starvation you and your type would say. Just like the Republicans in a debate saying that if a person can’t afford health insurance, they SHOULD die.

      When employers will only hire people who are currently employed in this economy, they are only willing to employ other peoples’ boss’s pets. That is all that is left at most companies-those the boss favors the most, and not always because they are the best, most competent workers, because they most OFTEN ARE NOT. The last place I worked the boss’s pets were the worst ass-liking, LAZY, STUPID individuals in the agency. They didn’t even come to work half the time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Joe says:

    I agree with most things in your article except one: why does sending in your resume with a note about how you no longer will consider employment with this company because of their hiring practices do anything to resolve this situation?

    • G.E. Miller says:

      @ Joe – Well, if you’re qualified for the job, it makes the statement that they lost out on a potential good hire because you don’t approve of their unethical hiring practices. Until what they are doing becomes illegal, I can’t think of a better way to make a statement than that. If you work for a company that is doing this, you should protest it as well.

  • siestagator says:

    Brandy and Jeff I sure hope you are in the same business I am in because you both are totally clueless. Many industries and companies have collapsed entirely meaning everyone in the company is a weak link-how moronic… I have handled successfully more responsibility than most people ever will despite the strains of an economy that first pushed our resources to the brink for years all the while creating PROFITS for the company that exceed $5 MILLION IN ONE YEAR FOR MY COMPLETED PROJECTS. P. S. I have a bachelors of business management completed and paid for by myself and despite nearly 3 years of quite a bit of unemployment I AM A MUCH BETTER HIRE FOR ANY COMPANY THAN EITHER OF YOU TWO LOSERS.IT’S CALLED THE “GREAT RECESSION” FOR A REASON.

    • Lis says:

      Thanks for clarifying! There are a lot of people out of work due to the fact that the company they worked for was experience the effects of the economy and it had nothing to do with their performance. I watched my former employer go through the difficult task of scaling back the staff and she never wanted to let one of them go, but had no choice in the matter – it was what was needed to keep the business alive.

  • Rachel says:

    Brandy- SHAME on you. How can you be such an idiot? I happen to be in one of those industries that “siestagator” refers to, which has essentially collapsed. I am an unemployed civil engineer. Guess what we do? We design roads, housing developments, commercial centers, etc. And in time of recession, building comes to a complete standstill. Are you really implying that this is my fault? That I, and the other 13.7% of the people in my state are the weakest links? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! I have found that, in fact, it has almost NOTHING to do with performance. It has to do with the bottomline and needing to cut a certain dollar amount and picking people that fit into that budget. Favoritism and tenure also play a big role. Hey if your BFF with the boss and play poker with him on the weekends, guess what? You are safe. UGH, people like you make me FURIOUS. Good for you that you aren’t affected by this recession, but its pretty low to make the rest of us feel like crap because we have been.

  • Laurie Tam says:

    I do feel bad for unemploy people because in my opinion, do not deserve it. The only people that deserve to get booted off of being an employee is if they do unethical practice for a company. For example, someone who stole millions of dollars of merchandise from a company that they work for or someone who mismanage their customers or clients funds like one lady did where she ended up getting caught. Unfortunately, she was a ING Direct rep in Kirkland, WA.

    Siestagator and Rachel, thank god there are more people like you. Forget morons like Jeff and Rachel. They obviously do not have any brain cells to know why companies lay people off. I guess with all of the partying that they both do, their brain cells dwindle down to nothing. We always have pessimistic folks who are in essence, are dissatisfied with themselves.

  • David says:

    These companies are dumb. It’s going to force people to lie on their resumes. Now they and recruiters will have to hire people to sift through a new layer bureaucracy; because they called to talk to someone’s previous employer but it was actually one of the job applicant’s friends!!!!!! LOL what a bunch of idiots. This is definitely un American.

  • Jeff Walden says:

    The graciousness of your comments do your arguments no credit (or perhaps it does them exactly the right amount of credit).

    As for knowing “who you really are”, I am quite confused that you seem to think I have an ex-wife, or indeed that I have ever been married — I’m exactly who I claim to be here.

  • sara says:

    @Brandy, please don’t say that the “weakest links” are eliminated. That’s STUPID and NOT TRUE! My mom’s boyfriend (he is african-american by the way) is an engineer, and for YEARS they used this man’s ideas, thoughts..he was the first one in the door and the last one to leave out….he came up with ALL the company’s projects and designed all of their projects…they USED him, and tossed him to the side without even as much as pay…he could only file for unemployment, which was a little of nothing. Then, they REHIRED a kid fresh out of college who was willing to work for less. So please, don’t tell me that companies fire the ‘weak link’. It is also noted that most minorities (in particular blacks) get the Axe FIRST!

    and there are some violations being broken here by these companies. Just look at the damn numbers will you!16% of unemployed blacks??!! That is ridiculous!!!!! That alone should be illegal. I for one have been looking for a job for over 2 years before finally giving up and starting my own business…I also have a CNA certificate, and they wouldn’t even hire me for THAT, mind you, i live in Texas (one of the most racist states on the planet)……when did it become that a CNA doesn’t find work??!!!

    There is a DIRECT attack on minorities…any person can see that by just looking at the numbers. Statistics also show that employers are more willing to hire a white person with a CRIMINAL RECORD before hiring a black without a criminal record…the USA SUCKS! I’m moving to Italy.

  • Alex says:

    That kind of policy is totally unfair. Employers can’t just turn unemployed applicants away without even giving them a chance. ALL qualified applicants deserve the exact same amount of consideration for the job they’re applying for. For all employers know, an unemployed person could be the best employee out there, which can’t be known for sure if said person doesn’t even get one chance. Being unemployed doesn’t keep talented people from becoming famous, so why should it keep them from getting noticed in any other way?!

  • Mrs. Johnson says:

    SUBJECT: I Apologize for typo (going to *be* achieved)

    I am so utterly sick of the crappy, low class, asinine way companies are thinking nowadays. do us all a favor and stop sticking your head so far up your butt you can’t see straight; oh yeah, and GET OVER YOURSELF!!!! Our founding fathers are turning in their graves! They would’ve NEVER approved of such unethical behavior. I thought the U.S. as well as all other countries experiencing the economic financial crisis wanted to improve the lives of their citizens; so how in the world is that going to be achieved if companies continue to disregard unemployed individuals? Don’t they ever stop and think that hiring someone already employed as opposed to someone who isn’t doesn’t always guarantee a job well done in the end? IDIOTS!!!!

    • Dee says:

      Given this jobs economy I find ir mind boggling that people really believe the unemployed are the weakest links in companies. I find it almost treasonist that companies would treat their fellow Americans this way. I’d like to see a list so I can boycott them all. Companies are taking advantage of the economy by letting go their longer tenured ie: most experienced & highest paid in trade for lower paid workers. I just came out of a Fortune 50 cellular company that is doing exactly this. They let go everyone over 12 yrs tenure. We were their SMARTEST & BRIGHTEST employees, not the dumbest. We built that company to the monster it is today and it wasnt easy. Slackers simply dont make it at this company & I pray for those poor ( cheap) souls that are taking our places. Thye will be eaten alive! I have been in my field for over 20 yrs. I am highly skilled & certainly did not go into a coma and forget everything while I was unemployed. I am currently working on starting my own business. I am way over qualified for most jobs I see out there and unfortunately unemployment pays more than most of the paltry salary offerings I see being offered but I would take one anyway. And based on most of the ‘workers’ I’ve had the chance to encounter, these companies are passing over the cream of the crop for people who can barely communicate & have the brain skills of a monkey in most cases…sorry but true. But alas, these are the preferential picks. Why ?? Because they’re cheaper. ALL employees go once they hit certain threshholds withing a company. That includes everybody. Now is a great time to pick up some excellent cheap help, but my mind befuddles me as to why more companies are not taking advantage of the huge pool of experienced & talented help that is in abundance out there. I certainly would be if I were an employer ! But does anything make sense in this world anymore ? It’s proving to be run by a pack of idiots lately !

  • Paul says:

    Vermont needs job experince.I have been unemployed too long
    and want to get back to work.Are employers hiring the right people
    or are they hiring people they want to hang out with?
    I sure need help at this time.
    It seems like people are so desperate for job they are applying for them write behind my back.
    If you are applying at the unemployement office if you share the job you are appliying for at the front desk ,they could be steeling that job for someone els write under your nose.

  • marla lyons says:

    This is alive and well in today’s market. This ignorance is robbing people of much needed opportunities and employers of talent.

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