Now Hiring … But Unemployed Need Not Apply

For many unemployed persons, the posting “Now Hiring” often brings a flicker of hope. However, currently many job sites are posting position openings with a huge condition: “Now Hiring, but Not the Unemployed.”

This trend has many people scratching their heads. Companies are hiring but don’t want people who are unemployed to apply. Hundreds of listings on, Career Builder, and even Craigslist are advertising job openings but telling people that if they are unemployed this makes them a less attractive applicant and they might not be considered.

Even worse, some postings state that if the person has been unemployed for a long period of time then they should not even bother applying.

The New York Times reported that this trend is prevalent in listings in the following fields: concierges, managers, teachers, IT specialists, sales directors, auditors and air-conditioning technicians.

This news is another punch in the stomach to the 6.3 million Americans who have been unemployed for the past 6 months.

The 6-month mark is the cut-off for getting hired for many companies, according to the National Employment Law Project, a national advocacy organization.

Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, told CBS, "There's just a lot of assumptions that get built up around being unemployed by employers or employment agencies really not wanting to take a chance on the unemployed."

The NELP considers this discriminatory against the unemployed.

"I feel like I am being shunned by our entire society," Kelly Wiedemer, an unemployed information technology specialist, told the Times. She was told by a job recruiter that despite her skills, she would have difficulty finding a job because of her current employment status.

Many unemployed citizens have stated frustration over this trend saying they feel like companies are trying to keep them down. To them, it feels like a slap in the face.

Unemployed applicants often worry about holes in their resumes, displaying periods of time when they have not held a job. However, considering the country is going through the worst economic period since the Great Depression, it would seem logical that employers would be more forgiving.

Apparently not.

As unfair as this seems, it is not against the law. Employment status is not protected against discrimination as age, sex, and religion are under the law. However, the Times reports that the Equal Opportunity Commission has recently held a hearing to determine if discriminating against the jobless is illegal because it hurts minorities and older people disproportionately.

"This is un-American, it's unfair and it should not be legal in America to do that," says Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) as quoted by CBS.

Older people (aged 55 to 64) have a 25.5 percent longer unemployment duration than young people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, African Americans have the highest unemployment rate coming in at 16.5 percent.

The average duration for unemployment is 9.5 months. Given this and the fact that the unemployment rate is currently at 9.2 percent, companies deciding not to hire the unemployed affect millions of families.

The young (age 20-24) touts an unemployment rate of 15.2 percent. The unemployment for the young is the lowest among the groups surveyed, coming in at 28.5 weeks. Still, college-aged citizens express high anxiety over the prospect of finding a job.

“I’m terrified. Especially because I’m a psychology major so I can’t get anything with a bachelors,” says Hannah Roberson, current student at the University of Florida.

While most companies aren’t as blatant about discriminating against the jobless by putting a warning on their postings, many companies do have concerns about applicants who have been out of work for a period of time. Some applicants who have been idle for a while may not be at the top of their game, may be behind on new technology, or lose touch with their networks. Also, while many people were laid off due to the recession, others were let go simply because their supervisors found them incompetent. Therefore, companies have to take the screening process seriously and may look more closely at an applicant with time gaps on their resume. If discrimination against the jobless becomes law, it will be difficult to prove.

"There's a lot of good talent out there (in the unemployed pool) and for somebody to pass somebody over just because they're in that position is short-sighted," says Michael Westerholm, according to CBS. Westerholm worked at a postage equipment giant Pitney Bowes in Stamford, Conn., for 20 years. He was let go in the recession when his position was eliminated.

So what opportunities are available to the jobless? John Challenger, chief executive officer of the job placement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas explains to CBS that health care is the strongest industry in the country adding 24,000 jobs on average in the last year. He added, just in the last month, leisure and hospitality added 34,000 jobs. Energy has been a strong sector, along with skilled jobs, professional business services, engineers, accountants and information technology workers.

Challenger went on to say that one of the best places for jobs is in Texas. In the last two years Texas has added 262,000 jobs and payrolls have increased 2.9 percentsince the 2008 recession. He also noted that the Dakotas and Nebraska have low unemployment rates.