Just yesterday, I saw a comment online that really disappointed me. It was made by someone who happens to be the VP of Human Resources at a large company I’ve admired for years.
To paraphrase, the executive said how excited he was to find the number of A-list candidates up dramatically because those who are already employed now see an improving economy and are willing to risk a job change for the first time in years.
Wait. Seriously? Are there really so few A-list candidates among the millions of people currently not working in corporate America? Are all the people who’ve been consulting, working part-time, underemployed, recently unemployed or, God forbid, among the long-term unemployed, truly less desirable applicants?
While I understand this thinking may have had some merit in pre-recession days when good jobs were plentiful (and not having a job often meant you weren’t looking hard enough or there was something wrong with you), I see it as sadly short-sighted in an economy with simply more highly skilled workers than decent career openings. I’ve said it before in this blog, and I’ll say it again here:
“When we stereotype each other—by race, gender, age or any other characteristic that ultimately doesn’t matter to doing the job well—we limit what we can achieve as individuals and organizations, and even as a nation… At a time when American businesses are scrambling to maintain their leadership positions in a chaotic global economy, I see the depth of the U.S. workforce bench as an underdeveloped strength. We need our best and brightest people on the job….”
And I happen to think our best and brightest includes many of the currently unemployed and underemployed, especially those who continue to learn and contribute despite their career setbacks. What kind of courage and resiliency does it take to face such upheaval and yet, persevere? Might this be someone you want on your team? Someone who can truly appreciate and value the privilege of full-time employment?
Frankly, if I were hiring today, I’d have to wonder about the loyalty of other company’s employees who are willing to jump ship only now that the economy is starting to get better. Were they giving their current employers their best efforts the past couple of years or just keeping their heads down and biding their time until the dust settled? If you’re not sure of the answer, are you sure this person is the best fit for your team?
I say let’s STOP with the corporate musical chairs and give every applicant a fair chance for a seat at the table. Let’s do away with limiting stereotypes and outdated assumptions once and for all, start with a clean slate, and simply hire the best people for the job.
What do you think?