Friday, June 11, 2010

"Unemployed People Need Not Apply"

The Huffington Post recently published an article reporting about job advertisements that explicitly state, "The Unemployed Will Not Be Considered."

Still waiting for a response to the 300 resumés you sent out last month? Bad news: Some companies are ignoring all unemployed applicants.

In a current job posting on The People Place, a job recruiting website for the telecommunications, aerospace/defense and engineering industries, an anonymous electronics company in Angleton, Texas, advertises for a "Quality Engineer." Qualifications for the job are the usual: computer skills, oral and written communication skills, light to moderate lifting. But red print at the bottom of the ad says, "Client will not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason."
Obviously, I find this absolutely outrageous even though this policy is probably nothing new other than its being mentioned explicitly. The only good thing about these types of ads is that they provide yet more evidence that our current free market system does not work. It reeks of class stratification and immobility whereas a free market is supposed to be about opportunity and meritocracy. It also suggests that having a college education is not a guarantor of vocational success because if you have a college degree and you are unemployed you are automatically disqualified from consideration for these types of jobs.

This form of "classism" almost reminds me of racial discrimination--a person could not possibly be qualified for a job simply because they are unemployed and thus necessarily lack the ability to perform the job. It seems almost Orwellian. Applicants will not be considered for a job because they need a job.

If the hiring personnel who decided that being unemployed should automatically disqualify one from a job lose their heads to the guillotine I won't feel badly for them. I'll say, "Good riddance to bad rubbish."

Edit--the company that placed the ad at The People Place is allegedly Benchmark Electronics. According to the HuffPo article, Sony Ericsson is also supposed to have placed a similar ad but later retracted it and claimed that that is not their policy. (Wanna bet that it actually is for the position that was advertised?)
Sony Ericsson, a global phone manufacturer that recently announced that it would be bringing 180 new jobs to the Buckhead, Ga. area, also recently posted an ad for a marketing position on The People Place. The add specified: "NO UNEMPLOYED CANDIDATES WILL BE CONSIDERED AT ALL." When asked about the ad, a spokeswoman said, "This was a mistake, and once it was noticed it was removed."


JL said...

And if you're already employed, they want to know why the hell you'd want to leave your job. You can't really say anything negative either, or you are disqualified, but you can't say nothing.

Most grads are going to be unemployed, so I guess this is also another way of saying "only the experienced need apply" which is pretty common too I guess. Nobody wants to train anybody except the people that have family connections, even in a good economy this is true but in a bad one it's almost a rule.

You generally have two choices, three if you are an entrepreneur with funding: 1) Use your family connections to get you a job, 2) Join the military and get your experience there if at all possible and 3) start your own business.

The first one is obviously the best but if everyone had that we wouldn't have blogs such as this. The second one also really only works if you are in perfect health and can handle the rigors of the military, they are also rather selective for their officer programs or anything above grunt level, plus you are of course risking your life. And finally, that third one, well, that's just stupid. If everyone could do that successfully they would, but most of the time people fail even if they can manage to try it.

I think we've already races ourselves to the bottom. Now we are digging ourselves further.

Locke said...

The same rule applies to laid off attorneys, as well. Even though firms used the economy as an excuse to clean house, they probably would have gotten rid of many of these people a few years later by way of their up-or-out policies.

But the stigma of being laid off remains, and the longer you go without work, the less likely it will be that you will be able to lateral into another position, or even get into shitlaw.

Diana Schneidman said...

When you are a self-employed freelancer or consultant, you are employed the moment you decide to be. Sure, you’re not making money, but you are employed. At the beginning, marketing is your full-time job and it really is work!

I think it is totally honest to proclaim yourself employed and then apply.

The problem is that these hiring managers are probably unpleasant people (to say it politely). Even if you can get in the door for an interview, what evil places to work at.

Diana Schneidman : How to take control of your life and make great money quickly as a solopro

JL said...


I was self employed too, but most employers are unimpressed with that. You can try and get references from your clients, but outside of that possibly being unethical, I don't think even that impresses them.

They want references from supervisors, which you won't have if you are your own boss. So essentially, you'll have to make your practice work and not really think about becoming an employee again, at least in law.

The caveat may be that if you pull in a few million dollar verdicts, the firms you've been winning against may reconsider, and the government may reconsider as well. But it still will be difficult and you'll need to have some way to prove your track record.

I no longer list my time as a solo practitioner on my resume. Instead, I leave a gap there and just list law offices that I've done per diem work for, which I am able to get pretty easily but I can't live off of.

If a place wants a salary history, I just won't deal with them. It's rough out there right now, I've seen plenty of solo practitioners post up on craigslist looking for employment. I don't know if any get hired though.

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