5 Reasons Recruiters Should Not Discriminate Against Employment Gaps and Short Tenure

Once Upon A Time

When I did Recruitment for the very first time, I was keen on looking for lengthy tenure with no employment gaps. Back then, lengthy tenure would mean about 5 years or more.

There are more qualifications, of course, on top of these two, but these were filters.

I had my reasons. I wanted to hire for keeps. This would of course mean minimized attrition and no backfill hiring.

Don’t get me wrong. It has worked! The folks I sourced and endorsed have been with the same Company for about 4 years now. All 40+ of them, save but 1 who went back to a job in another country.

But, what about those whom I screened out? Was it fair for them?

Then It Struck Me

I had to experience a short tenure + employment gap myself to realize that it’s not all so bad. It also wasn’t a reflection of bad attitude and not always about poor performance. No. Not always.

I started to be fair, I realized. The more I spoke with individuals who have these gaps and short tenure or both, my perspective widened. I am sharing my learnings with you.

For starters, there are certain factors beyond an individual’s control. Then, there are decisions that you make because of stronghold to your principles and values.

Here’s Why

It is a possible indicator of inner strength and stronghold to values.

My friend from college left a multi-national Company (hence an employment gap) because of Company practices that went against her principles and sense of integrity. Indeed, this Company was in the news in the past due to involvement in a huge public health scam.

Now, in comparison, I interviewed someone who has been with the same Company, a local brand, for the past 10 years. She said, she’s now exploring because she got tired of all the errands, both work related and personal requests from her boss. Up to this point, it’s understandable. As we went on in the interview, she said that she has been asked many times to re-write their books to lower their tax obligations. Which she did. This was not even the reason this lady was exploring. No employment gap and not clear sense of integrity.

S/He is Certain about his/her priorities in life.

Some life changing events may entail leaving the workforce momentarily to focus on ones health or baby or family. For example, some women may opt to leave a job to take care of her baby when no one else could. She might then later re-enter the workforce when the the circumstances are more favorable.

Of course, my dear Recruiters, be very discerning because this is also a popular excure. Just cross check when this is real vs. a publicity reason.

A rested mind make a stronger comeback.

It’s been a year since I started drafting this article (and I do hope to publish this tomorrow) and I have started hiring, regardless of the gaps in employment. And boy, what gusto, life and energy they brought to the table! They are just so excited to be back, so willing to learn and absolutely fired up to not only meet but also exceed expectations.

There are Managers who aren’t good (to say the least) at managing nor leading. Let’s face it.

Culture is a popular concept nowadays. However, while culture might be a broad concept, it can be simplified into one person – the immediate lead! To the employee, this lead is the Company culture’s ambassador, a representative. So if they experienced poor leadership, they leave, and they say it is because of Company culture. When in fact, they are leaving because of their Manager or Supervisor.

I have a coachee who opted to leave a rather good Company, with good benefits with clear prospect of career growth and awesome colleagues. This coachee was and still is an A-player, a performer, a key contributor. So, the stakeholders are taking good care of him/her. Yes, his/her own Manager wasn’t. His/her Manager have been a micromanager and credit grabber, let’s just put it that way.

If indeed something went wrong in the previous work, next Company benefits from all the learnings.

Now, let’s say, something indeed went wrong and the employee was either terminated or is at the brink of being terminated, do you think this employee would want to repeat this experience? No. This employee would want to redeem himself. This is a natural tendency of the human being.

In Certificates of Employment, rarely would you see “terminated” or “had disciplinary issues.” This is true. Why? Because we all want a second chance for the employee to have a good life, a chance at redemption.

So, should you go about hiring people who’s been let go by other organizations? This is not what I’m saying. But you may choose to. The key is honesty. To start a good relationship, you need full transparency.

One high ranking Director was let go owing to a harassment case. He was a performer but values are strong and there’s just no room for such behavior. You might think, what will become of him after what he’s done?! Now, he is now a Vice President, still a top performer, and a lay minister in church. Now, talk about a total turn around!

Events in our lives teach us lessons and how we grow from them is what defines us as individuals, not the events themselves.

Do you have an employment gap? Would you like to share how it came about?

For Recruiters, what’s your principle around this matter?

Would love to hear your thoughts.
Thank you for visiting.
For Strengths Coaching and HR Consulting, please send an email to emiletherese@yahoo.com. As a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, I am happy to join your personal, family and team development journey.
For more HR, Employee and Leadership related topics, follow me on Engagement Imperative, LinkedIn and Facebook.


Featured image by makyzz at freepik.com

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