Hiring managers must consider many factors when searching for the perfect candidate for an open position. To hire the right person, you need to make sure they are qualified, possess the right skills, align with organizational values, and pass a criminal background check. However, recruiters often encounter another obstacle on candidates’ resumes: gaps in employment. Some of these questions might include:
- Are gaps in employment a cause for concern?
- Can they affect an applicant’s ability to be hired?
- What should you look for when evaluating this type of applicant?
- How should you approach their employment gaps?
There is still stigma attached to gaps in employment and they can be perceived as negative features on a resume. ResumeGo conducted a study which found candidates with work gaps on their resume have a 45% lower chance of landing an interview. As the gap widens, the less likely candidates are to be selected for interviews.
A resume reveals only a limited amount of information. Since resumes do not explain why employment gaps exist and whether they affect a candidate’s qualifications for the job, resumes are limited in their value. Because of this, it is possible that you are overlooking outstanding candidates or not giving them a fair opportunity to apply.
In this article, QuadraBay explains how you can use employment verification to make smart hiring decisions when you notice gaps in employment.
Employer-employee employment gap length
As important as the length of previous job stints and the overall length of a candidate’s career history is the length of their employment gap:
- When it’s a few months or less than a year, it could mean the candidate took some time off to take care of personal matters or health issues.
- It could be for several reasons why there is an employment gap of more than a year. Consequently, it is extremely important not to assume the candidate simply did not work during their gap or gaps in employment.
- The number of employment gaps on a resume that last varying lengths of time may indicate that a candidate changes jobs too often and may not be the best candidate for a long-term position.
Additionally, candidates with long employment gaps face a significant obstacle. Researchers found that individuals who had a work gap longer than two years saw their interview callback rate drop significantly-from 9.8% (2-year gap) down to just 3.1% (5-year gap). It may therefore be worth exploring the candidate’s other skills and work experience.
If a candidate has experienced a gap in employment, no matter how long or short, it is important to remember that it does not tell the whole story.
Employment Gaps: The Reasons Behind Them
Hiring managers should consider the reasons behind an employment gap because the length of the gap cannot reveal all the details. There are many reasons why there may have been a gap in employment including:
- Providing support to family members
- Dealing with health problems
- Starting a family or being a parent
- Obtaining additional training or education
Additionally, it is important to take into account the current or previous economic conditions. US unemployment rates are high-6.3 percent as of January 2021-and millions of people cannot find work because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate in 2008 reached 7.2%, the highest since January 1993.
It is possible for a candidate to have a gap in employment due to reasons beyond their control, including:
- Cost reduction
- A company is downsizing.
- Companies shutting down or going out of business
- Relocating, and more
There are some candidates who are honest about their employment gaps and explain them in their resume or cover letter. These candidates may have legitimate reasons for their employment gaps. Those with legitimate reasons are almost 60% more likely to be interviewed. Even if a gap in employment is not explained, the explanation might still be extremely strong.
You can find out a candidate’s reasoning simply by pointing out the gap(s) and asking for an explanation. This context will then help you make informed decisions. Any questions (or follow-up questions) concerning gaps in employment should not be relevant to groups that are protected from being discriminated against, such as:
- Disability or illness
- Family status
- National origin
- Veteran status
Verified Employment History & References
Verifying a candidate’s employment history and related experience can also help assess a candidate’s reliability. By doing this, we can ensure that the information on their resume and job application is accurate and truthful. You will receive reliable candidate information if you use employment verification services like QuadraBay.
As part of this process, current and previous employers are contacted directly to confirm employment information, such as start and end dates and job titles. For candidates who have worked outside the United Arab Emirates, QuadraBayalso offers International Employment Verifications.
Last but not least, contacting references can provide more information about the candidate’s work experience and pertinent skills. Referral checks provide you with additional insight into how well a candidate collaborates with others, how they operate in the workplace, and whatever other information can demonstrate what they are capable of or if they are not a good match.
Are you ready for the short version? Strong work history and references can help an applicant make up for employment gaps on their resume.
QuadraBay’s employment verification helps you hire the right candidates
You can see that it might be worthwhile to explore a candidate’s qualifications further if they have employment gaps on their resume.
Never assume the reasoning behind employment gaps and set any negative biases aside. With Employment Verifications through QuadraBay, however, you can still streamline your hiring process. Among the benefits are:
- Verify the work history of candidates
- To reduce the chance of hiring someone with false credentials
- Make sure that you only hire qualified and trustworthy candidates, regardless of any employment gaps
- Save time spent verifying candidates, and much more