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Questions to Ask Candidates With an Unemployment Gap on their Resume

All kinds of employees, from executives to assistants, take extended work leave for a variety of reasons.  Some need the flexibility to handle other responsibilities, such as family or education, while others fall victim to a weak economy.  Whatever the reasons, hiring managers and business owners should take these gaps seriously, but avoid making assumptions.  Here are several probing questions you can ask to get to the bottom of these unemployment spans.

Questions to Ask About Employment Gaps

  • Why did you leave your last job?  Maybe a company downsized or eliminated a department. Perhaps the candidate’s position was outsourced. Understanding why an applicant left their last job can reveal the true nature of the employment gap.
  • Do you do volunteer work?  Though a candidate may have been unemployed, that doesn’t mean they were idle.  Prompt them to discuss any other ways they used their time or projects they completed during this hiatus.  This answer shows that, though a candidate may not have been gainfully employed, they were still committed to growing.  Managers and business owners know that this employee is self-motivated, dedicated and hardworking.
  • How did you keep up with the changing trends and techniques during your unemployment?  Technology has changed all workplaces.  With such easy access to technology, it’s a little disheartening if a candidate came to you without even basic computer skills.  Qualities that used to be exceptions are now expectations.  An employee who kept up with professional development during an unemployment break is one who, whether a contract worker or a direct hire, will adapt best to changes in the workplace.
  • What could you tell us that might assuage any concerns?  This is the moment for the candidate to be honest and open.  This open-ended question will get all kinds of different answers, many of which will show you the candidate’s perception of the employment gap.  Knowing how he or she feels during this unstable time will show you how they handle challenges and stress levels.

Ultimately, you want to determine if these employment gaps make this candidate a risky hire. One way to combat the employment gap is to partner with a staffing firm. Job seekers who partner with High Profile Staffing can eliminate the awkward breaks in employment by gaining experience and earning a paycheck through contract and temporary work. Our pre-screened talent has been working hard in their fields, and our reputation reflects this.

At High Profile Staffing, we understand that you only want the best, most qualified candidate for the job. Our mission is to match you with workers ready for contract, contract-to-hire and direct hire placements. Looking for a new opportunity? Ready to diversify your workforce? Give us a call.

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