I’ve previously written about the untapped gold in an employer’s resume database, but now, there’s even more evidence to support my contention. Resume databases are often discounted because they are viewed as a repository of the long-term unemployed. Well, now there’s a study which demonstrates that those who have been out of work for a lengthy period of time are just as productive on-the-job as those who are quickly rehired.
An employer’s resume database is typically the place where job seeker credentials go to die. According to countless surveys, many recruiters ignore the database altogether or give its contents only the briefest consideration. As a result, once a person’s record is consigned to the database, their odds of being selected for an interview, let alone hired for an open position are slim and none.
Employers shouldn’t overlook candidates in their resume databases, including those who’ve been out of work for a while.
Research shows no correlation between length of time out of the workforce and productivity on the new job.
An employer’s resume database, when utilized correctly, is a huge asset that saves recruiters time and money.
We now know that’s a mistake for two reasons.
First, those whose resumes have been consigned to the ignominious underworld of the applicant tracking system database often include both the runner up for the position to which they applied and the person who turned it down because the timing or some other factor wasn’t right for them. In other words, the resumes in that database can and often do identify people the employer itself has recognized as competent and worthy of consideration.
Second, those resumes may also identify people who have been unemployed or only able to work part time for an extended period, yet are just as likely to perform at an acceptable level as those who found work without a long break in employment. Bloomberg News recently conducted a study of six employers in almost 90 locations in the U.S., and found no statistical difference in the caliber of work delivered by the two groups of workers.
Moreover, the resume database isn’t the only place where unemployed but capable workers are overlooked. According to an experiment run by researchers at the University of Toronto, the University of Chicago and McGill University, there is also a bias against first-time applicants with lengthy periods of unemployment. Researchers at the three schools submitted 12,000 fake resumes for about 3,000 jobs, and found that those with eight months of unemployment were 45 percent less likely to be called for an interview as those with just one month out of work.
Managing Metrics of Success
These days, the performance of recruiters is often carefully measured and evaluated. Employers use a range of metrics for their assessment, but the two most common are time-to-fill and cost-per-hire. Assuming adequate quality – which is defined differently in each organization – employers want recruiters to fill openings as quickly as possible and with the least expense.
If that’s the definition of victory in the War for Talent, tapping an employer’s resume database is the perfect strategy for achieving it. There is no outlay of money for posting jobs, searching profiles on social media or engaging a staffing firm. And no less important, there is no time lost to using such resources. The resumes are right there at your fingertips.
So, what’s the downside to tapping a resume database? First, of course, recruiters have to get past any bias they may have about the long term unemployed. If the Bloomberg study isn’t enough reason, they should take a look at the people they know – former colleagues or coworkers who have been unable to find a permanent position in today’s job market – and consider the talent that’s been wasted as a result.
Then, recruiters have to invest the time and effort to change the perceptions of their customers. Hiring managers also view the long term unemployed as substandard applicants so they too will have to have their misperception corrected. And the best way to accomplish that is by bringing such candidates into the zone of consideration. Put them on the interview list and give them a chance to prove themselves to the hiring manager. The research indicates they may well prove they have the right stuff.
Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream, The Career Fitness Workbook: How to Find, Win & Hang Onto the Job of Your Dreams, The Career Activist Republic, The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired & Not Be Fired, and WEDDLE’s Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Get them at Amazon.com and at the all new Weddles.com today.