May 30, 2024

Employed Candidates Aren’t Automatically ‘Better’


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Stop with this already

If you believe that “Quiet Quitting” exists, then you can’t also believe that employed candidates are automatically better.

(That could be the entire post, but I’ll continue.)

One of the biggest biases we see in recruiting – and this has been true for decades – is favoring employed candidates over unemployed candidates.

This will sound callous: when everyone puts their hiring manager hat on, there’s a tendency to think people who aren’t working got let go because of performance.

And that does happen. A lot. Everyone reading this knows someone who got let go because they couldn’t hack it. (And probably others who should.)

Yet everyone also knows someone who lost their job despite being an A+ player. For reasons totally out of their control. Sure, layoffs can be determined by performance, but some happen when entire divisions or products are cut. Or when very best people get too ‘expensive’ for a struggling company to keep. (Or covid.)

But there’s a natural tendency for humans to mix “I hope they get a job” with “just not on my team” because of classic risk aversion.

So I came here to say: stop being stupid.

Beyond the bias being silly, there’s also lack of understanding that employed candidates have higher expectations and must be wowed. With money, purpose, or some other factor.

Literally no one takes a lateral move unless you’re doing something truly special. Unless it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. (Or their current environment is garbage.)

If you’re only looking at employed candidates, you will have to pony up for every hire. At scale, it’s not practical.

Thinking every unemployed candidate is bad is as dumb as thinking every employed candidate is good.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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