Friday, June 4, 2010

The Unemployed Need Not Apply

Every weekday morning, I get up to peruse the doings and goings on of my fellow human beings as reported by the various sites I make a point to check on a daily basis.  I never know what will strike me as humorous or interesting or odious enough to want to share and comment on, but I do know something will.  Call it a faith I have in humanity.  Well, humanity produced a humdinger for today's post.

And you can file this under odious.

Laura Bassett at HuffPo writes to inform us that the newest craze in job postings is to announce that unemployed applicants will not be considered.  Check out this ad for an engineer in Texas via the friendly- and inclusive-sounding recruiting website The People Place which includes this little nugget:  Client will not consider/review anyone not currently employed regardless of the reason.

Morality aside, how is this even remotely legal?  At a time when everyone is looking to arguably the most employed person in America -- President Obama -- to bring down the unemployment numbers, you have got these people in Texas making an a priori decision not to even consider someone who might be the best candidate just because they had the bad taste to currently be out of a job.  Reminds me of this WPA-era image:

Hmmm, should we then suppose that the nice folks advertising through The People Place are simply trying to take care of their own first?  That would be sad, certainly...even misguided, but understandable, right?  Let's see what the human resource representative had to say to HuffPo:

"It's our preference that they currently be employed," he said. "We typically go after people that are happy where they are and then tell them about the opportunities here. We do get a lot of applications blindly from people who are currently unemployed -- with the economy being what it is, we've had a lot of people contact us that don't have the skill sets we want, so we try to minimize the amount of time we spent on that and try to rifle-shoot the folks we're interested in."

OK, first, if someone is "happy" where they are, why would they want to switch teams to a) now have the least seniority [read: the first to be laid-off] and b) work for a company that wouldn't hire them back should new lay-offs ever be necessary?  Do HR people really think the rest of us are this stupid or have swallowed the kool-aid...or is it that they are simply this stupid or have swallowed the kool-aid?  Or is it that they want us to know they're lazy and don't appreciate having to, you know, do their jobs by checking out the resumes they receive?  Perhaps they could get on with the "rifle-shoot[ing]" if they simply set absolute minimum requirements -- like actually being an engineer -- instead of potentially shooting themselves in the foot by missing a perfect fit who was unemployed. Just a thought.

There's a reason why the phrase gorgons at the gate still exists.

The real problem here, however, is not that some dumb company in Texas is shooting themselves in the foot; they're shooting our economy in the foot as well.  Continued unemployment means continued lack of income, which means continued lack of purchasing power, which means continued sluggish sales, etc., etc.  Instead of haughtily passing over those deemed unworthy or perceived as damaged goods, it should be the (if not moral) patriotic duty of every American with a job to offer to give extra consideration to someone who needs a job, assuming they are qualified.

Whoever thought it would be necessary to add "current employment status" to the still growing list of thou-shalt-nots when it comes to hiring practices?  We are truly a nation of loopholes -- and here is yet another hole that needs to be plugged.  Fast.