Criminals welcome, but not long-term unemployed

by Caitlin Nobes23 Oct 2012

Two candidates apply, both with a two-year employment gap. The former, it turns out, spent some of that time in prison, while the latter has just had bad luck. So who would you hire?

All things being equal, it seems more managers would take the ex-con over the unpopular.

A new Bullhorn survey revealed US recruiters found it was “easier for recruiters to place someone with a criminal record in a new job than it is to place someone who has been unemployed for two years.”

The recruiting-software company’s survey of 1,500 hiring managers and recruiters indicated that more than a third of recruiters believe “the single biggest obstacle for an unemployed candidate in regaining employment is having a history of ‘hopping jobs,’ or leaving a company before one year of tenure.”

The next biggest group (31%) said those who had been out of work for more than a year cause the most difficulties, while gaps in employment history was the third highest with 28% saying it was their top headache.

Other top findings include that respondents in their 30s are most sought after, getting fired is “severely damaging” to future employment prospects and having out of date skills make it hard to find placement.


  • by Dan 23/10/2012 3:27:23 PM

    If your process allows the employment of a candidate who has spent time in jail, it typically indicates that the candidate's convicted fellony would not impact their ability to perform the role for which they are applying, thus likely are a potential successful worker

    However, if your process allows those who have not been able to secure work for 2 years for no other reason than 'bad luck' then its likely they do not have the ability to perform the role, and you're making the correct decision.

    Although this is almost using inductive logic, it still takes the sheen off the otherwise attractive title of the article =P

  • by Max 23/10/2012 4:23:32 PM

    Having been unemployed myself more than once over the lifetime of my career I'd like to think I'd be more inclined to hire someone with two years of unemployment.

  • by QLDHR 18/04/2013 5:11:28 PM

    It would come down to their merits in performing the inherent requirements of the role and of course, ensuring that the candidate who has spent time in jail doesn't have a conviction that would impact on their ability to perform in the role i.e. convicted of fraud, applying for a Finance position?

    The two factors should not come up as a determining factor in whether or not they can perform the role other than as stated above.

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