Written by Guest Author | January 28, 2016
Employment gaps. Periods of absence from the workforce. Times when the candidate didn’t have a job. Whatever one calls them, they are real bugbears of organisations, which – when faced with an overwhelming number of applicants for a position – often use them as an instant excuse to ditch a CV. This, of course, is if their online recruitment software hasn’t done that already.
But could that applicant with that supposedly worrying employment gap actually be your dream candidate that you are overlooking, a true “diamond in the rough”?
An understandable – but perhaps overstated – concern
First of all, let’s not treat you like an idiot: we know there are perfectly good reasons to fret over a black hole in a candidate’s career history.
It’s a worry that every hiring manager has had on seeing such a CV: did the candidate do something serious to blacklist themselves from employment? Maybe they were a disruptive influence or were guilty of highly unethical behaviour that resulted in their sacking?
However, it’s also possible that the applicant in question was a relative victim of circumstances, such as…
Sure, the late 2000s economic slowdown may be a mere memory for many of us, but others – both organisations and workers – are still feeling the after-effects. The employee may have been a very good one, but their difficulties in holding down a role for a sustained period of time may have been attributable to what was going on in their sector or the wider economy at that time.
If you spend any time reading our blog posts here at Webrecruit, you will know just how much we emphasise the importance of ‘cultural fit’. It might therefore be obvious to you that a new hire needs to fit into your workforce well, but not every organisation takes the time to think about such things, often taking on and then spitting out staffers who they really shouldn’t have employed in the first place.
Related to the above circumstance, sometimes, workers – especially those with less experience in a certain position – just never quite perform when they are landed into an already-toxic work environment not of their own making. Sometimes, the candidate really is a victim of external circumstances.
What we are basically trying to say, is this: don’t automatically dismiss a candidate on the basis of an employment gap or two. At the very least, ask questions of the candidate to establish exactly what led to those blanks on their CV.
By establishing as much truth as you can about a candidate’s background, you can make a much more informed decision on their suitability for your role – whether or not their CV is marked by one or two gaps in their work history.