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, follows me on Engagement Imperative, LinkedIn and  Facebook.

Featured image by makyzz at freepik.com

Mental Health Awareness: Keep On Rolling with Vic Flauta (Part 2)

Q&A with special guest Vic Flauta

Yesterday, we published part 1 of Mental Health Awareness: Keep on Rolling with Vic Flauta.

As promised, here’s the Question and Answer and part 2 of the blog post.

Emile (E): How can we tell if the person beside us, or in your team, is in need of help?

Vic (V): “I was only 15 when I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression (and later on with another mental illness). I did not actually know what hit me at the time. I was always an outgoing person who loved to mingle with friends. But one day, I just found myself withdrawing from everyone even if that meant not attending my classes anymore.

“I went to Pisay [Philippine Science] Davao for highschool and as a Regional Scholar (meaning a student who hailed from outside of Davao City), I stayed in the dormitory inside our school campus. What I can remember is I would skip classes to go back to my room in our dormitory to hide inside my cabinet.

“You see, there were many things I could not understand which was happening to me back then. Maybe because I was young then (only a Sophomore). Plus there was no internet at that time, and therefore there was limited access to information about what I was going through. I lost interest in a lot of things all of a sudden just like that, and my insecurities were all blown out of proportion in my mind.

“I was doing very well in school prior to having this illness. I had good grades, was joining a few competitions, was president of our class, and had very good relationship with my friends and my teachers. But these all changed when I had depression. It did not even bother me anymore that I was failing my subjects. I just lived each day, trying to hurdle through and enduring all the difficult emotions (mood swings included) and thoughts which I could not understand. Looking back, it still brings me to tears remembering what I had to go through at such a young age.

“So, among the things to look out for is a drastic change in behavior or performance, and mood swings, specially if there was a prior crisis that took place. Please note, however, that depression is not your usual sad day because your crush did not say hi to you or did not like your status on Facebook. Neither is it a sign of weakness nor inability to cope with life’s problems. Depression is an illness. Just like Diabetes, there is a biological cause behind it. But be careful though, as not all changes in behavior or performance is due to depression. Also, it’s not all the time that you’re gonna see obvious “symptoms.” Sometimes, knowing if someone is clinically depressed takes a process. Try to reach out to the person, or if the person is not very vocal, try to be observant.”

[Reach out to your supervisor, HR or Health and Wellness professionals to seek help.]

E: How can we, officemates, better support people who are going through mental health issues?

V: “You know, Emile, if my mom gave up on me, I would not be here in this world anymore. I would have already crossed over to the other world. Loss of hope and suicide thoughts are not uncommon for someone undergoing depression.

“I was very lucky to have very supportive friends, and teachers and professors, while I was in high school and college, and they all still hold a special place in my heart up until now because they each played an important role towards my wellness.

“Don’t give up on your teammate, friend or family member who is undergoing depression. But instead, be their undying source of hope and strength.

“It’s not easy to be a friend to someone who has depression. It takes a lot of genuine love, care, patience, and understanding for that person.

“Sometimes, just being there (your mere presence) means a lot. Most of the time, it’s when the mental health sufferer is alone that the negative thoughts start to play in his mind. Always let the person feel (and know) that he is not alone, and that there is hope. Always be ready with your listening ears and compassionate heart, and be approachable all the time. Just by listening and letting the person talk and unburden is enough help already.

“Learn what things to say or not say. Don’t make someone undergoing depression feel like it’s his fault, nor tell him to just brush it off. Sometimes, saying the wrong things could push a person to end his life. So, be very careful. If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything at all.

“I believe there are different approaches to professionally treating depression. There are medications, psychotherapy, neurotherapy, etc. And these can all be very costly. There was a time my mom was spending 10k monthly on my medicines alone. Add to that the doctor’s weekly consultation fees of more or less 2k per hour, plus the fees for lab tests that had to be done regularly to make sure my blood chemistry was okay and not affected by the medicines I was taking. Remember, I am talking about some 15-20 years ago. These could even be more expensive now. I don’t know how you can help on the financial aspect but it pays to be aware of this as well. When I said my mom did not give up on me, I meant it seriously.

“I had been out of depression since I was 25, and that was when I was able to finish college, got my license in Nutrition and Dietetics, and started working in the corporate world. Luckily, I have not had any more symptoms nor had any relapse since. Yes, I still get sad, lonely, and disappointed every now and then, but have not experienced being depressed the way I did while I was still studying. While My depression happened during my school years, the needs of a person undergoing depression is the same be it in school or in the workplace, even at home. It’s the same.”

E: If one has current mental health concerns, how does one ask for help?

V: “Mental health sufferers are so much luckier now in the sense that there are more mental health awareness campaigns and campaigns against stigma happening in the recent years. Due to these, help is more accessible and there is less stigma associated with mental health illnesses.

“When I had my depression, I read a lot of books in our library in Pisay [Philippine Science Highschool] before I found that one particular book about depression, and that’s how I came to know that I can be helped. I was actually the one who reached out to our school’s guidance counselor at that time to ask her to find me a psychiatrist. You see, if there’s something happening to you or in you that you do not understand, please know that there is help if you seek for it.

“If you are working in a private company and you think that you are undergoing depression, or having any mental illness at that, try to seek help through your [Supervisor or] HR. If you are worried about discrimination, then maybe seek for professional help outside of your office [see more notes below]. If you lack the funds, then seek out support groups who don’t charge fees. If you are not sure at all if what you are experiencing is a mental health illness, then go to facilities that provide psychological tests to know your real condition. Bottomline is, there is help. And if you find out through tests that you have it, please know that it is not the end of the world. I was only 15 when I was diagnosed with depression, and I suffered for 10 long years. But look at me now. Life is beautiful.

“Lastly, get enough sleep, eat on time, talk it out with someone you trust (don’t keep it to yourself), PRAY, and never lose hope.”

We at the Engagement Imperative, are very thankful to Vic, for his selflessness in sharing what he went through. It was not easy to look back and recount those 10 years but he did. He did to help out the silent sufferers and shed light that amidst and after all this, life is beautiful.

Personally, I hope that as we become more aware, we also become more understanding and helpful, as Vic said earlier, this is not something they wanted nor is it something to just brush off.

If you are in the Philippines, here are contact numbers that might help.

Thanks to Edwin Cachuela, R.N. at the Philippine Mental Health Facility, for the information below.

Natasha Goulbourn Foundation aim to make these individuals feel that someone is ready to listen to them.

These are their hotline numbers:

Information and Crisis Intervention Center
(02) 804-HOPE (4673)
0917-558-HOPE (4673) or (632) 211-4550
0917-852-HOPE (4673) or (632) 964-6876
0917-842-HOPE (4673) or (632) 964-4084

In Touch Crisis Lines:
0917-572-HOPE or (632) 211-1305
(02) 893-7606 (24/7)
(02) 893-7603 (Mon-Fri, 9 am-5 pm)
Globe (63917) 800.1123 or (632) 506.7314
Sun (63922) 893.8944 or (632) 346.8776

If you are in India, you can reach out to the Vandrevala Foundation.

If you are in the USA, the biggest organization for mental health is the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Europe took the lead in digital mental health care thru their Mental Health Foundation.

Do you have a story to share? Please comment in the box below.

I hope this helped. If you liked this post, feel free to share and please click the ‘Follow’ button and visiting us again at the Engagement Imperative.

Working parent? Please visit Purposeful Parenting Journey where we explore and discuss anything and everything parenting.

Mental Health Awareness: Keep On Rolling with Vic Flauta (Part 1)

With special guest Vic Flauta

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Vic was my officemate. I found him very inquisitive, profound and insightful. We worked in the same work area and at times we also seated beside each other. I supported them as a Human Performance Specialist and frequently engaged in 1-1 and focused group discussions. Despite that, I did not know of Vic’s mental health state (past nor present). Truthfully, people with mental heath conditions are just like you and me. Only, our needs, perspectives and strengths may vary. It’s a continuum, if you asked me. I also fell into mental health problems some years ago, so I know how difficult it can be and I know, too, that many people are willing to support, if they know when and how. You may also stumble upon it at some point in your life.

Please read on and be inspired by Vic’s life perspective and understand three important matters around mental health.

1. How can we tell if the person beside us, or in your team, is in need of help?

2. How can we, officemates or friends, better support people who have mental health concerns?

3. If you have mental health concerns, how do you ask for help?

When I was fifteen, there were many things my doctor said I couldn’t do. She said I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t operate machines, etc, etc. I even went through high school and college failing some of my subjects because I had a hard time focusing on and understanding the lessons my teachers taught in class.

In fact, when I took the Licensure Exam for Nutrition and Dietetics more than 10 years ago, I worried the whole Food Science and Nutrition department of UP Diliman big time for possibly failing the exam and making a mark in the department’s history by ruining our 100% yearly passing rate. Good Lord, I passed. You can contact my former college professors for the miraculous novenas they may have used.

My illness may have brought me many limitations, but no one said I can’t turn my hopes and aspirations into reality. So, I made a decision to always move forward no matter how slow I go. One baby step at a time.

Vic in Disney Sea, Japan, on his first solo travel.

I am 37 today, on my first solo travel, in one of the happiest places on earth (Disney Sea – with Japan-based friend Rachell; glad she made time to accompany me), and ticking one item off my bucket list.

A lot of you may have travelled farther when you were much younger than me, but this is definitely a milestone for one who thought this was impossible years ago.

Yes, I did it! And you, too, can do the things you were told you can’t. And always remember, no one is too old to do things for the first time. Believe me, I had been to hell and back. So, you, too, can do it no matter what situation you are in.

I have stumbled many times, but would always choose to get up and move forward. And every time life brings me to my knees, I take it as an opportunity to pray. Also, failing many times has instilled humility in me and made me realize that I can’t succeed without my God, my family, and my friends.

No, I did not make it to where I am now alone. Truth is, I got help from a lot of people. I am forever thankful to the Lord (and my Mama Mary), my family, my teachers and professors, my doctors, and my friends who never left me because I am that perfect example of “an egg that’s slightly cracked.” *Lol* I am weak, and I am still afraid of failing. But I never run out of hope because I have a loving and merciful God who surrounds me with good people.

I may not have achieved much compared to other people my age, but I have definitely gone far from where I was 22 years ago. I am exactly where I should be.

P.S. The best gift you can give me is your prayer.

Vic has that strength of character to keep rolling despite and in spite of life’s challenges. More so, he got the support necessary for him to succeed and he has a strong faith in God.

I asked his perspective on the three questions we posted above. Find his answers in part 2 of this blog post.

Do you know anyone who has mental health concerns (depression, anxiety, trauma, etc.)? How did you find out? How are you helping him/her?

I hope this helped. If you liked this post, feel free to share and please click the ‘Follow’ button and visiting us again at the Engagement Imperative.

Working parent? Please visit Purposeful Parenting Journey where we explore and discuss anything and everything parenting.