Hiring managers and recruiters say that employment gaps in a resume doesn’t look good for candidates, especially if they lack related experience. But is an employment gap really a justified indicator for qualification?
The answer is, No. Every candidate has a viable reason for being unemployed for a time. Just ask, or you’ll risks screening out those with amazing talent.
Here are valid reasons why some candidates might have employment gaps, and why you shouldn’t have second thoughts about interviewing them:
1. The economy
We’d like to imagine that companies always finds a way to retain top talents—even when they’re pressed under economic conditions. The fact is that many factors come to play when deciding who stays and who goes. Thousands of highly qualified individuals have seen their roles erased through no fault of their own.
Take a look at the dates on their resume if it falls on a timeframe where the economy was really bad. As professionals in the industry, we should be in tune with the labor markets and aware of significant periods of shrinkage.
2. Limitations on the resume
We are taught early on that you should only put relevant work experience on your resume. Individuals with 10+ years of experience know the drill of excluding some positions they’ve held so it’ll fit their 2-page resume. Job experiences can’t be seamlessly chronological on paper, and explaining gaps in cover letters can be counterproductive when resumes are the first to be screened. The same can be said for new job seekers who are encouraged to have a one-page resume.
3. Life just happened
Life experiences are just as good as work experiences. It shapes your attitude and personality. May it be taking time off to take care of your children, an ill family member, or maybe going on a world tour for six months. It teaches us skills we can’t learn from school or from holding a job. Skills can always be taught, but a candidate’s life experiences? They can be as applicable as work experience despite the presence of an employment gap.
The job market is competitive, and filling positions with great talent isn’t easy. But if you think interviewing someone with a crack on their work history timeline is a waste of time, chances are, you’ll miss having the opportunity of finding a great candidate.
Great recruiters know that employment gaps are a thing of the past. Let’s keep them there.