Recruiters: Why You Shouldn’t Fixate on Employment Gaps

Recruiters: Why You Shouldn’t Fixate on Employment Gaps
Candidate who had employment gaps in resume happy after being hired in interview

Gaps in employment are one of the biggest challenges recruiters come across in their jobs. If you are a recruiter, you have probably already faced the enigma that comes along with a good candidate who has employment gaps.

For recruiters, an employment gap represents the possibility of hiring a candidate who is not as good as he or she seems. Nevertheless, this may also mean passing on a potentially great candidate. 

Although recruiters should not take employment gaps lightly, we will elaborate on why recruiters should neither fixate on them. 

Consider the Labor Markets and Its Dependency on the Economy

Unfortunately, businesses are not always capable of retaining talent. In fact, one of the most common instances that leads to loss of talent is the economy. When a company is facing shrinkage, many factors influence the decision of who stays and who doesn’t. Even good employees may be let go.

To sum up, even top talent can have employment gaps in their resume. Therefore, during the recruitment process, we should not be so quick to judge on such gaps. Also, if a candidate seems to be qualified, the least recruiters can do is allow them to explain the employment gap. 

Sometimes recruiters cannot solely rely on the explanation of the candidate. To ensure that the economy is behind an applicant’s employment gap, we recommend focusing on the dates. If the gap dates match with major periods of shrinkage in the labor market, then the candidate is probably being honest. 

Let’s Not Forget About The Impact of Company’s Culture on Employment Gaps 

The culture of a company can make the most qualified candidate quit. Nothing good comes out of having an employee who doesn’t share a company’s set of beliefs and values. Unfortunately, sometimes employees don’t have another option but to take a job where they know they will be uncomfortable. 

On other occasions, the employee enters a company without being aware of what the culture is like. As a result, they may be disappointed and quit. As many recruiters know, promptly quitting makes it harder to find another job, which leads to longer employment gaps. 

It is unlikely for candidates to open up about quitting because their personality didn’t match their last workplace. Therefore, the best approach is to talk to each applicant about your company’s culture thoroughly. 

You may also want to ask questions to assess if a candidate is a good cultural fit, such as:

  • Can you describe the work environment where you feel the happiest and most productive?
  • What traits make a great boss/leader?
  • Do you believe making friends with co-workers is a good practice?
  • What role do you prefer to take when working in teams?

Don’t Judge by the Gap but Allow Candidates to Explain Their Side of the Story

We understand that there’s no fun at all in getting a resume with an employment gap. So, you may want to pass on it as soon as you get it. 

However, when seeing potential in a candidate, the least we can do is listen. Because, while a candidate with a gap won’t have ten years of experience, they may have the determination to get the job right, to learn, and to grow. These attitudes are what make an employee valuable

When talking to candidates about their employment gap, don’t turn it into an interrogation. The last thing these candidates need is judgment from recruiters. So, hear them out, and if you believe they are still a good fit, give them the opportunity to change their lives. 

Are you looking for more recruitment advice? Or perhaps you are looking for recruiting services? At Victoria James Executive Search, we can help. Find out more about our services by calling us today at 203-750-8838. 

Victoria is an accomplished direct and digital marketer with more than 20 years of industry experience. The Founder and President of Victoria James Executive Search, Inc. direct and digital marketing search firm, she has had a successful and accomplished career, holding senior level sales and marketing management positions in companies such as Citicorp Diner’s Club, Donnelley Marketing. Victoria understands the need for premium talent in the Direct and Digital Marketing industries, is an active member of the Direct Marketing Association, NEMOA and other associations, and holds an Executive MBA from Bernard M. Baruch College. Contact Victoria today to learn how her team of recruitment experts can accelerate your efforts and help you quickly accomplish your goals.


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