Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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Unemployed need not apply

There’s disturbing news for unemployed jobseekers out there (federal or otherwise).

Apparently there is a trend among employers to consider for their job vacancies only people who are currently employed.

It’s enough of an issue that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held a hearing on it yesterday.

One witness at the hearing, Helen Norton, an associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Law, said that employers and staffing agencies are publicly advertising jobs—ranging from electronic engineers to restaurant and grocery managers to mortgage underwriters—with the restriction that only currently employed candidates will be considered.

Norton said some employers figure current employment is “signal of quality job performance.” She called that correlation “decidedly weak.”

Another witness said the practice could “act as a negative counterweight” to government efforts to get people back to work. And women and minorities may be disproportionately affected by the trend.

Of course, not everyone at the hearing was convinced the practice is widespread. For example, a witness representing the Society of Human Resource Professionals said his group was not aware of employers regularly using the practice. At the same time, he agreed that automatically excluding unemployed people from consideration was not a particularly effective way of practicing “due diligence” in screening applicants.

We’re wondering how many of our readers have run into the practice.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Feb 17, 2011 at 4:02 PM


Reader comments

Thu, May 19, 2011 UK PA

It still happens. This announcement just posted. Job Title: Information Technology Specialist(Application Software)
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
Job Announcement Number: KL-11-AFr-474100-RIT-MP
SALARY RANGE: $68,809.00 - $89,450.00 /year
OPEN PERIOD: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 to Monday, May 23, 2011 SERIES & GRADE: GS-2210-12
POSITION INFORMATION: Full Time Career/Career Conditional
PROMOTION POTENTIAL: 12
DUTY LOCATIONS: 5 vacancies - Philadelphia, PA
WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: Status Candidates (Merit Promotion Eligibles)

Mon, Mar 7, 2011 Wow Virginia

This is in response to the unsigned rant poster. I'm going to make an assumption here and point out that you probably don't have a degree. Maybe you should concentrate less on writing rants about how education is overrated, and concentrate more on getting an education. It may help in your job search.

Tue, Feb 22, 2011

CONT: We have a problem in this country with “greed”! Too many business owners and others out there care about how rich they can get verses keeping this country strong and producing a good product in our “own” country that we can brag about. Go through your house and write down how many things have “made in USA” on them and you will see what I am talking about. Putting a person in a job just because they are better looking or any other deception is wrong. Look at our deficit, how long have we been told, “I will cut the deficit” if you vote for me? Has anyone run for Office saying they could pay off the deficit, yes and they were made fun of by other politicians because those politicians were afraid of that person getting into Office and revealing some truths and taking the government dependency away? There are “self made Billionaires” in this country because they are “business people” and not Attorneys. We need business minded people running some things for this country and not “attorney’s”. You are naive and or ignorant if you voted for someone because they said they could do something and they have no experience doing that something. I think we are being laughed at from all sides, like the people in other countries that have our jobs, and those who keep getting elected because they can sell the general public on just about anything because we are naive. The general public needs to wake up and smell what we are getting burnt on! Have you ever seen a person driving down the road and never looking around? I have seen some do this and even at stop lights, they never look anywhere but at the light. There is a lot of that going on with many other issues and that is called living with blinders on! I have met people who only know what is going on in their little world and couldn’t tell me the capital of the State in which they reside. I would say we “have a problem Houston”, and what is it going to take to get people to wake up, hello, Amen!

Tue, Feb 22, 2011

Just because a Department Head is not "aware" of something doesn't mean it is "not" happening. There are too many naive people out there in supervisory positions. Ye whom placed an ad to say if you are unemployed don't apply, is an idiot but there are others. What happen to "morals", "honesty", and "respect"? I would want someone qualified, "that doesn't mean they have to have a degree", who is mature "mentally" and can handle the job. There are many teenagers out there with more intelligence and hirer IQ’s than some college grads. This country puts too much into a degree! I know college grads that could NOT pass a military entry test! A college degree means a person "should" have studied a subject matter longer than those who do not have that particular degree, but it doesn’t' mean they are more intelligent than a person without that degree, and employers need to keep that in their note to self book! I wouldn’t hire someone just because they have a degree over someone who doesn’t have a degree. Those with actual experience and some college or no college are equally capable of doing the job. Being unemployed doesn’t matter and yes, something should be done about an employer who screens that way. Let’s not forget about the “good oh boy” deal which is never going away and the “lets do this because we have to” and once the ad has run its course we will hire our buddy or the pre-selected individual. The biggest issue is, why don’t we have more jobs available and the answer is our business owners gave them away when they hired other countries to do the work because in most cases it’s cheaper for the business owner.

Sat, Feb 19, 2011 Sunshine Florida

There is definitely a problem hiring the unemployed and the problem is worse if you are also a recent college graduate, a 30 year college graduate, a U S Citizen, a former federal employee not service connected and over the age of 40. If you are the latter and do not know anyone already working at the place you applied, FORGOT IT!!!! I agree that HIRING THE UNEMPLOYED should get you points as a hiring manager. God help us all!!!!

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