November 21, 2022

The Hirewell Hot Corner: Gaps In Employment

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Episode Highlights

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In this week’s episode, Dan and Louie dive into the topic of “Gaps in Employment.” Highlighting what candidates and hiring managers can do to combat those gaps and short stints and keep an open mind as to not miss out on great talent. They segway the topic by bringing up athletes, such as Geno Smith, who are thrown into big roles after not playing for a period of time.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to the Hirewell Hot Corner, where sports and recruitment meet. I am your host Dan Spittel, joined us always by the great Louis Morici. Louis, always good to see you buddy. Let’s jump right in. What’s going on in your world and the world of sports today? Another busy week on my end. We’re recording on Tuesday afternoon, and it’s been a tough week thus far, but as far as the sports world, we’re smack dabbed in the middle of the NLF season.

We’re seeing a lot of teams make a splash that we did not expect at all, like the Giants and the Jets, all the way down to some players that are taking on huge roles that we thought again, they’d be bottom dwellers as well. Yeah, I think the most surprising one thus far is the six and three Seattle Seahawks.

The team that everyone labeled as tanking once they traded Russell Wilson away, led by who else then Geno Smith. Man, he hasn’t been a starter since what 2015 with the Jets? Was bouncing around, bouncing around as a backup for a long time. Everyone thought his career was over and he comes out, wins the starting job outta camp and look at him.

He’s like a top five quarterback right now. Yeah, it’s impressive. I mean, it’s got DK Metcalf there, I know that they’re backfield took a big hit. The top of my frame, who it is that went down for the year? Rashad Penny went out for the year with, I believe a neck injury or someone else was out with that.

But it’s tough and he’s making due with whoever’s up the next man up mentality. So it’s pretty impressive. Yeah. We like to talk about sports and recruiting. I don’t really see as much of a world in our side of the business where you see a Geno Smith story where, he takes a step back in a lot of ways, kind of bounces around team to team for a lot of years and has just now returned to prominence so many years later.

You got a way for us to late it this week, buddy? I do. We’re going to kinda segway this with the gaps in employment. We’re seeing people take time off or they’ve maybe bounced around a bit, with the climate that we just went through and are still considering with layoffs

and Covid. There’s no number of reasons for these gaps and we want to talk about the importance and things to look into when kind of assessing each individual situation. Yeah, for sure. For those who just aren’t familiar with the term, when we say gap in employment we mean just any prolonged period that you’re not actively working in the workforce, an area, or a gap on your resume in terms of dates that you might not have been working in your field or with a major company.

And there’s a lot of different reasons why someone would have a gap in their employment. We see it all the time in a lot of different areas. We’ve seen it a lot recently in the last couple years because of Covid. We had layoffs, one reason or the other from a safety standpoint.

A lot of people weren’t necessarily working. We had some furloughs existing through there. Otherwise, just in day to day normal life we see people taking time off to have and raise children, have a family, take care of some elder members of their family, maybe even going back to school, getting an extra degree, some professional development.

So gaps in employment have never been uncommon. It’s always something that we’ve seen in our world, but a lot of the times we talk to managers or we talk to people who might not be as well versed in the recruitment side. They say, “Well, I’m not looking for someone who has a long gap in their employment.”

Why is that? Why does this exist? Louie, should this be a red flag when we’re looking at candidates? In some cases, yes. And a lot of it comes down to the reasoning. And I think keeping an open mind is huge. I’ve spoken with a number of candidates who have gone through layoffs, for instance, after starting at a company for three, four months

and they get laid off. Usually it’s last one in, first one out mentality. So that kind of speaks more to maybe job hopping compared to a whole gap in employment because let’s face it, looking for a job is not easy and it can take some time. So in between jobs and it happens pretty frequently, there’s got to be a good reason. Performance,

red flag. If you’re not holding up your end of the bargain, by all means that’s, that could be a red flag and in the reason for your gaps or your job hopping. But if it’s Covid, if it’s layoffs, if it’s funding from a company, that’s a story. And you have to be able to let candidates tell it, because you could be missing out on good talent if all you see is a resume and you see a few different things that maybe don’t add up well in your brain. From a personal standpoint, we review all resumes that come in for any positions that we’re recruiting for. Two very distinct differences in whether you’re seeing a gap of employment versus that job hopping mentality, that short work performance in multiple roles.

If I see that break for a couple years, that’s not an instant red flag for me. I want to know what’s going on. You can even potentially sometimes match it up if it’s that professional development, the educational side, it’ll show further in their resume on that section. If they’re in a spot for two, three months here, two, three months there, less than a year in a number of roles, that’s a lot more of a red flag for me.

The real question is, once it gets past us, how do we get these managers to look past these potential gaps in their employment? Well one, I think it falls on the responsibility of us as recruiters because we are the voice for them. It’s not like every candidate we find, we get them to talk to our client.

So we kind of have to put it in our writeups where we’re explaining why they have those gaps instead of just sending a resume and letting the hiring manager make up their own stories on why. Providing that context is huge for us. And just kind of urging our managers to keep an open mind.

I mean, in hindsight, it is their decision. The market is at a point where I think clients feel comfortable maybe waiting more for the “perfect candidate”, one that doesn’t have those. But again, to reiterate, you could be missing out on some very, very good talent. It just they’ve had an unlucky go of it.

And there’s no reason to look past some of the reasoning. It just needs a deeper dive, I guess. Yeah. I mean, you definitely hit it on the head earlier. Let them tell the story, whether it be to us, to a manager. Paint the picture for me. Be willing and able to own it,

to talk about it, to talk to it. If it was a personal thing, maybe it could have been from a Covid thing, from a family perspective, in what world is someone going to knock you for having and taking care of a family? I mean, we talk so much about work life balance at this point, being on the forefront of everyone’s mind in terms of choosing that right fit for a role.

Who in their right mind could possibly say no to something like that? Educational professional development, you had a goal of maybe switching careers and you needed to get a certification in order to do that. You spent six months in a program or a certification course in order to do that.

That’s an easy talking point. It’s really up to the candidate to talk to us, paint the picture for us. Then we can advocate on our end to the manager and give them the floor to do so in an interview as well. A hundred percent. And mentioning just being able to own it, it’s huge.

Instead of tiptoeing around it, kind of address the elephant in the room because let’s face it, we see it, our clients see it, it’s on their resume, it’s on their LinkedIn. There’s no way of hiding it. So you might as well be up front and just explain you know, “My mother got sick. I had to relocate back to wherever she is from to take care of them.”

” Covid, there was Covid layoffs. They wanted us to go back in office after Covid, and I wasn’t even in the right state.” There’s any number of reasons, but being upfront with us and then allowing us to be upfront with the client, I think puts a lot of that to bed, if you will. I’ve seen a number of candidates, probably seen most if not all these reasons, in full effect.

Someone who had to leave their corporate job to help with the family business- there’s that one. Someone who took 10 years off to raise a family, decided to come back to their career later on. In these examples, they’re usually rockstar candidates. But now, we can’t just assume that. But we can’t take ’em for granted either.

So I think that’s important. Agreed. Agreed. It’s about allowing them to tell their story and just advocating for them. I mean, there is going to be the occasion where people are constantly moving because of performance, as I mentioned earlier. Then there’s going to be those people that have just had an unlucky go of it- Covid, family reasons. And it’s just about deciphering which ones are worth pushing and which ones maybe are just not great employees.

Absolutely. All right. Two minute drill time will take us home. Louis, what do you got for our Geno Smiths and Dashaun Jackson’s out there? Keep working. I know it’s sometimes tough to navigate the job market frequently or rejoin the job market after a bit of a stint, but tell your story, own it and really let that personality shine and be able to speak to your experiences that you do have-

metrics, numbers, track record to success to make the gamble “a little bit less of a gamble” from an employers standpoint. If you have a gap in employment, don’t be afraid to bring it head on. Like you said, address the elephant of the room. You’re better off taking those shots and if a manager or a company can’t get past that, it’s their loss.

Keep on moving because you know what someone will. And when you do find that right fit on both ends, it’s going to work out beautifully for you. Yeah. And just to chime in, those people who have had a rough go of it, they tend to be more, more hungry, more out to prove. I think we’ve seen that a lot in sports is people who are given that chance,

people who are 7th round draft picks that are on the practice squad that get brought up. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So they go out and play, give it their 110% and try and make their name to stick. I think that mentality is something that’s very valuable. I work in sales, especially in a sales realm of things. So it’s finding the people worth taking the chance on because the upside could be astronomical.

Everyone’s got a story, just need an opportunity to tell it. Louie, appreciate your time as always. On behalf of Louis and myself, thank you again for tuning into the Hirewell Hot Corner. Please join us again in two weeks for our next installment. And as always, stay classy LinkedIn!

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