Are You Overlooking Long-​Term Unemployed Candidates?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Too many hiring managers are overlooking long-​term unemployed candidates as they search for their next rock star sales rep. One ugly outcome from our pandemic, which started nearly one year ago, is that several million people who lost their jobs are still not back to work. These long-​term unemployed job seekers face a Catch-​22. The longer they stay unemployed, the harder it is for them to secure a job offer. The truth is some of these people would make perfectly good employees for your organization.

Both hiring organizations and job candidates are still adjusting to a new recruiting process that is far different than it was before March 2020. Back then, employers battled each other to lure top talent in our humming economy. Now, employers have slowed their hiring processes. The latest Robert Half poll indicates that 33% of employers are taking longer when it comes to figuring out who they want to hire. That development increases the difficult situation for the long-​term unemployed job seekers.

The slowdown also impacts your productivity. In sales, the longer you take to hire a good rep, the more expensive it gets for your department. Remember that by the time most managers hire a rep and get them fully trained, nine months have elapsed. Delaying that process only adds to your financial pain.

What’s Your Hiring Mindset?

When you’re reviewing the applications you received for an open position, don’t let the usual negative mindsets rule your selection process. Too many hiring managers automatically reject candidates who don’t have a four-​year college degree, despite years of applicable service. Hiring managers also shy away from candidates who aren’t the right age. They worry that an individual right out of college will be too expensive to train and may not be hardworking. And they think older candidates will want too much money and haven’t kept their skills fresh. Then there’s the stigma that comes from having been unemployed for six months or longer. Hiring managers worry that there must be something wrong with those people. Otherwise, they would have picked up a job by now.

In her Inc. magazine article, Suzanne Lucas reminds hiring managers of the advantages of hiring the long-​term unemployed. These individuals don’t have to give notice at their old company before joining you. They will likely be more flexible about the type of position they’re willing to accept. And because they’ll be grateful for the opportunity to prove themselves; they’ll come into your organization with a positive mindset.

Assessments and the Long-​Term Unemployed Candidates

For every hiring decision, you want to reduce the chances of a bad outcome. You can achieve this goal by asking your top candidates to take a sales competency assessment. The results can inform your decision in multiple ways. You’ll know which candidates possess hustle, resilience and courage. These personal characteristics rule when it comes to selling and sales skills. Study the assessment results to determine whether your top candidate will be a good fit for your organization. When you have hard data available to review, you won’t need to obsess about whether it’s a bad idea to hire a rep who has been out of work for nine months.