Bias against jobless

This isn't much of a surprise, but for those in search of work it can't be very encouraging. WSJ reports that despite the high jobless rate many employers are targeting those still working. Surviving employees are deemed to be the top performers. (One reader describes that as "the kind of asinine notion born of HR departments run amok," and he sure has a point.)

The bias extends from front-line workers to senior managers. Charlie Wilgus, managing partner of executive search for Lucas Group, based in Atlanta, says a manufacturing client looking for a division president recently refused to consider a former divisional president at Newell Rubbermaid Inc. whose department had been eliminated. The client doesn't want candidates who have been laid off, Mr. Wilgus says.


Bobby Fitzgerald, a partner in five restaurants in three states, says these days he gets two dozen or more unsolicited résumés each day at one of his Phoenix restaurants, the White Chocolate Grill. But Mr. Fitzgerald says his top candidates, for jobs from servers to management, usually are people who are employed elsewhere. He currently has 50 openings across his five restaurants and has told recruiters to bring in only people who are working.

The Journal story suggests that out-of-work job candidates arm themselves with strong letters of recommendation from their previous employer. Make sure it's known that the layoff was for economic reasons. Also, being flexible on salary can be a help.

By the way, check out the above clip from the movie "Kramer vs. Kramer." It's the part when Dustin Hoffman's character, just fired from his advertising job, searches for work right before Christmas.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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