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EP 1068 When people are out of work for a while.  It sends a message that’s hard not to listen to.

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Why do employers avoid hiring job-seekers who have been out of work for a while? There is a logic to it that you as a job seeker may not like but, it is there logic.

The assumption is that a lot of firms have already interviewed you and a lot of firms have rejected you. What is wrong with them? Why is it that this person cannot get a job if they have spoken to so many companies, so many firms for comparable opportunities… What is wrong with them? That, "What's wrong with them," is a big part of it.

I remember when I was a rookie recruiter back in The Stone Ages (no computers, we would mail resumes or have a messenger on staff to deliver them to clients, no fax machines--. You worked with index cards. That's how long ago this was), I remember talking to the 1st or 2nd person I personally interviewed and I have been trained to ask, "so where have you been on interview so far?" He listed 19 places to me.

I waited to talk to the more senior recruiter with all my notes because I had had a stack of questions to ask and I was sweating bullets because this is a beginning interview for me. He looked at this list of firms that this person had interviewed with and been turned down at and their reaction was, "He's a bum. He's no good." Following up on the guy, he did find a job for year after I met him and he was out of work for close to 2 years before finding a job. The job he found was with a company that wasn't perceived in the market as being particularly good, that was not on our radar and that we had chosen not to work with. Thus, I was taught the lesson of how employers look at them.

You may say that this is a recruiter saying that he's no good. However, it was the behavior of the employers that told us that they didn't value what he had to offer. As a result, we learned from them how they evaluated and assessed him. After all, 19 INTERVIEWS! He was interviewed 19 times and was turned down at the point that I met him. Thus, employers avoid interviewing people who have been out of work for a long time for fear that they are bringing on someone who has something wrong with them professionally.

We aren't talking about references. We are just talking about not being competent in what they claim to have proficiency in.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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