By Neil Patrick
She was a highly successful recruitment director for many years and knows exactly how and why employers hire the people they do. But more than that, she has seen how social media and the internet has revolutionised the skills people need to find jobs in this tough job market. Despite the recession, jobs are still out there, but we need a whole new skill set to find them and get hired.
I completely share Abby’s opinion that the old ways of finding jobs just don’t work anymore. And if the last time you had to find a job was more than two or three years ago, the methods you used then won’t work now.
Like it or not, social media has transformed the processes used by recruiters and hiring organisations and this means we need a whole new set of skills and strategies to get hired.
Abby has presented to over 200 groups and was recently interviewed on Fox News Live, ABC's Good Morning Connecticut, WKTU-FM, WOR-AM, WDVR-FM, and the Joe Franklin show on Bloomberg Radio. Abby was selected as one of the top 100 influential people online according to Fast Company Magazine and was named as one of "The Monster 11 for 2011: Career Experts Who Can Help Your Job Search".
Here’s a recent radio interview in which Abby shares some valuable tips and advice on how you can make best use of social media to help your job search.
I hooked up with Abby several weeks back now and we agreed that since our beliefs were so aligned we should collaborate in our shared mission to help job seekers.
And today, this is my first guest post from Abby. Abby’s post contains some wise words about how we can (and absolutely should) confront the widespread practice of recruiters of excluding job applicants who are currently unemployed. It’s more than simply unfair, it’s a counterproductive practice by employers and damaging to their organisations' reputations in my view.
Moreover, if you are a hiring organisation and you only hire people who are currently employed, I hope this post makes you reconsider if it really makes sense to deliberately exclude candidates just because they happen to be currently unemployed?
By Abby Kohut
Anyone who is currently searching for a job has probably read at least one article about a company who is unwilling to hire "the unemployed." Even more interesting is the article that I recently came across about the backlash from critics against job boards like Monster saying that ads of this kind should be banned from being posted.
As much as it would seem that encouraging job boards to remove these ads might seem like a solution, the better solution is to educate these companies from the top down on why "unemployed" candidates must be evaluated in the same pool as employed candidates. After all, even if all the job boards ban these ads, these companies can still make their own poor decisions during the hiring process.
First, let’s review some of the common reasons why people become unemployed in the first place, shall we?
Stay at home parents or caregivers returning to work – these are typically people who have made a conscious effort to be unemployed. Anyone who has ever fallen into this category realizes that their apparent "unemployment" gap was potentially more challenging than any previous job.
Those who were laid off – these are people whose departments were completely eliminated, whose companies were acquired or simply whose companies were poorly funded. Their lay off had nothing to with their performance and they come equipped with references to prove that. Some of these people were fortunate enough to receive a severance package and decided to enjoy life for a while and live off their severance. Life is precious and sometimes it’s hard to really enjoy it while you are tethered to a demanding job. Can you really blame them?
The terminated – these people are the ones who were let go for poor performance or for personality conflicts and have the most difficult time finding work. Even the unemployed in this group deserve to have an opportunity to contribute, especially if the termination was due to a poor fit between an individual and the job or corporate culture, or clashing management styles.
You – if you currently have a job, imagine for a moment that tomorrow you are informed that your job has been eliminated. Aren’t you a good performer today? A viable member of the work force who deserves to find another opportunity to contribute to society? Does that fact change tomorrow when you get your pick slip?
It is absurd to simply eliminate "unemployed" candidates without understanding why they are unemployed. Unemployment is simply a state that people pass through from one job to another. It is a natural part of life as is "unmarriage." When people get divorced, they don't simply get remarried the next day. They are "unmarried" until they are remarried. Similarly, people who are unemployed are simply between opportunities. For example, how can we as a country possibly expect people at the VP level to find a job within a week, especially if their company’s closing came as a complete shock to them? Most people "forget" to keep networking once they are happily employed so when their company closes, they truly are starting from scratch. Besides, how many VP jobs in their specific industry are out there, not to mention vacant?
Job Seekers In-Transition: If you come across a job ad for a company who is disqualifying the "unemployed", and you actually still want to work for them, here’s what you can do... First, don’t be discouraged - most things that show up in ads and seem like "requirements" have wiggle room for exceptions. In fact, you’ve experienced this many times before. How many times have you seen a requirement on the job posting that you do not have? Has that ever stopped you? OF COURSE NOT!!! Your job is to find the hiring manager or the Department VP or the CEO and to settle the score on why you are the best person for the job. Consider this strategy:
Dear President of RudeRUs, Inc.
I recently discovered an ad for your open "WorkAlot" position on Monster and wanted to introduce myself to you as an ideal candidate. For the past 10 years I was a "WorkAlot" in a similar company who received outstanding performance reviews from all of my supervisors. I have attached a list of references on the following page which I invite you to call. They will tell you that I was a top performer who received recognition year after year for saving the company billions of dollars. My position was eliminated when my employer was acquired. Our doors closed about a year ago today.
You may wonder why I am writing to you instead of applying to your HR department. It's simply because the ad posted by your hiring manager or HR department states that the "unemployed need not apply". Based on my research about your company and your successful career history, it seems like the decision to include this hiring stereotype in your company’s ad could not have been yours, so I wanted to be sure that you could personally make the decision on whether my background would be suitable for your company.
I look forward to having the opportunity to learn more about the position and to eventually joining your company as a "WorkAlot."
John DoesntTakeNoForAnAnswer Doe
For much more about Abby and her amazing work, please visit her website here: