We read stories again and again that companies won’t hire the long term unemployed. Now some states are even going to pass laws to address this problem. I don’t deny there is bias against job seekers the longer they are unemployed. Clearly some companies have even posted help wanted ads saying they are only looking for people who are currently employed.
However, as I’ve written in the past, this meme is not the big problem the scare-loving media makes it out to be. If two candidates are similarly qualified, it makes more sense for the employer to hire the person who is unemployed. Why? That person is cheaper. Like most of us, hiring managers want the best deal. A person with a job has some security and can negotiate. An unemployed person will be more likely to take what is offered.
I have no doubt that workers who have been out of a job for a year or more are having trouble in this economy. Employers do look at gaps. However, I’ve had many clients (especially at home parents) re-enter the work force after several years out of the work place. It’s not easy, but it’s possible, especially if a person is strong enough to ignore negative stories that only try to bring us down.