How is the Unemployed Candidate Viewed?

I am unemployed and believe that is making it harder for me to land a new job Do recruiters hold it against you if you’re unemployed?

Ann-Z-newRather than worrying about being currently employed, I think it is much more important to create the feeling that the candidate is in demand. We recently were working with an executive level candidate  who was just coming back to the work force after taking a two year sabbatical to care for her gravely ill husband. Because we were able to share the feeling with the hiring manager that this was an exceptionally skilled candidate whose talents were in high demand, that would undoubtedly have a short shelf life once others were made aware of her availability,  there was a strong sense of urgency  to create a package that would entice her to accept their role as quickly as possible. She ultimately ended up with two strong offers, and was in the enviable position of choosing between them. That particular candidate is currently enjoying one last big vacation with her fully recovered husband prior to starting her new role,  so that was a fun one to work on!

Barring life circumstances that cause people to make a decision to temporarily leave the work force, in cases where someone is terminated or the situation is simply unbearable, and they leave prior to securing their next role, there is always concern that they have lessened their negotiating position. Once again, I think focusing on enhancing a candidate’s skill set to create the impression that the candidate is in demand is the key to success, as opposed to worrying about their current status of employment.

If a hiring manager asks why you left before securing your next job, I  think a good way to overcome that objection is to simply say that you have chosen to focus 100% of your attention on your job search because ethically you were not comfortable staying in your previous role while also looking for your next position, once it became clear that you could no longer work there for whatever reason.


Ask Ann,

Have a question you’d like a recruiter to answer? Write to me at AskAnn@execunet.com



William Flamme

William Flamme

William Flamme is ExecuNet's Marketing Content Manager, where he is responsible for developing engaging career, job search, and leadership insight and delivering executive-level content across the various properties under the ExecuNet brand. Prior to joining ExecuNet in 2008, Will earned a master's degree in education and taught fifth grade and sixth grade. As a teacher, he deepened his appreciation for the written word and mastered skills necessary for managing writers who sometimes view deadlines as homework.

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