Do hiring managers tend to view unemployed applicants less favorably than those who are currently employed, and if so, what can an unemployed applicant do to make a more favorable impression?

cay gliebe
A. While it is always more challenging to get a new position when you are unemployed, in this economy many employers realize that there are very skilled and capable employees being let go and that not having a job isn’t necessarily reflective of you personally. The important thing is to stay positive and never play the victim. - Cay Gliebe, VP, Sales and Marketing, Northgate Arinso

ronald miranda
A. During the process of screening resumes, those that show time lapses in employment appear to be viewed a little less favorable than those that don’t, especially if there has been an extended period of time between jobs. In order to change the negativity, an unemployed applicant must continue to show growth during this transitional period. Individuals can begin by having their resumes reflect involvement in professional development courses or field-related volunteer work to avoid lulls. – Ronald Miranda, HR Manager with Aldeasa A.J.V.

margaret hintz
A. Prior to the economic downturn, applicants with résumé gaps were not viewed as favorably as employed applicants. However, with today’s high unemployment rates, many talented candidates are available through no fault of their own. Successful applicants should explain what they have done in the interim, including volunteering in the community and enhancing their skill sets. – Margaret Hintz, team manager for Administaff in Atlanta

These human resources professionals are members of the Atlanta Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. If you have a question you would like to ask a panel of local experts, please e-mail it to Sharon Belhamel, vice president of public relations for SHRM-Atlanta at For more information about becoming a member of SHRM-Atlanta, please visit their membership section or call 404.442.7335.

12 comments Add your comment

eric watson

October 28th, 2009
12:17 pm

good information to know.I Think it is entirely unfair for potential employers to judge you less favorably because of a long term period of being unemployed people do tend to get discouraged after a point.You come home and turn on the television watch the evening news after submitting resumes all day to see wall street once again has record earning numbers….


October 28th, 2009
10:44 pm

I recently had two interviews and the employers seemed shocked to here that I have been unemployed for a year. Both employers wanted to know what have I done within the past year. I expressed updating my computer skills with self training courses, while continuing my job search. The provided information does help and now my focus is on updating my resume to show volunteer work during my down time.

The Unemployed

November 3rd, 2009
11:50 am

Oh please…people aren’t allowed to have a little down time between jobs? That’s what’s wrong with this country. Employers look at you as an “under-achiever” if you’re not up to your ears in staying busy. What is wrong with doing nothing more than brush up your skills? Afterall, when you ARE lucky enough to land a job, you’ll be humping your A$$ off because of the lean staff on hand. And chances are, you were humping before you lost your job as well. It’s a nice, long vacation…the ones they’re used to getting in Europe!!!! Not a measly 10 days!!!

Nick Gonzalez Demendoza

November 3rd, 2009
4:18 pm

11-1-09 671,000 unemployed in GA. Let’s face it, what responsible people have done for 2 yrs. is search for employment to pay all of the bills! This is what they ahve done when employed and not at work; and during the gap when unemployed! People have filled out 400+ databases, aps., mailed resumes, etc. and been interviewed very little. Co’s. all need help; but can’t afford to pay people. For Ex: This Burlington Northern Co. deal includes much less cap. expenditures; and less people on the payroll; among other things such as efficiency, less trucks on the road, and longer trains. Plus, Asian Imports, grains to Asia from the USA, and coal as a cost effective fuel, and its tranported by rail, also. I digressed!
The GA. DOL has 391 + jobs posted, which is .05% of the jobs needed. So, 95.95% of Georgians who want a job are failed by the situation.
Labor Ready, in N. ATL./Roswell, GA. areas has 10 to 20 workers waiting on work M-Sat. with few assignments in 12 + days of sitting around 2/3+ of the time. Yet, I see 15 new office complexes and retail sites in N. Fulton County GA.
With the kind of manpower avail., we could build a pipeline, a high speed railline, a biotech health center, a Stadium, and multi-use projects.
The Infrastructure is being built in small sections of the road at a time by a few workers in heavy construction; or even smaller groups in grading, etc.
The point is this now too: If you envision it, then show Georgia that you want to employ people now.
One project, GM Doraville, is stifling much economically in N. ATL.!
The deal makers need to Partner up; so that Georgians can direct deposit their pay back into another fin. in$tit.

The un-employed survivor

November 4th, 2009
9:33 pm

When employed I found myself struggling to pay bills. I never live beyond my means. I did not have a furtune 500 status. Guess what? Since I have been unemployed my status never changed. Must stay focused and allow life to take its course. I DEFINITELY AGREE WITH ‘THE UNEMPLOYED’ COMMENT.

Been There

December 5th, 2009
6:14 pm

Many people, in spite of the rotten economy, have themselves never experienced layoffs and extended periods of idleness. This is not necessarily because they are somehow better than others…nor are they, by some magical decree, special in some way. Not unlike our leaders in Washington, they have been fortunate to have been shielded from the harsh realities which bedevil the unemployed. Consequently, when viewing the potential employee, their views can and are often skewed and unrealistic. Only after thay, themselves, have experienced “the black hole” do they understand.

Not to seem cruel…almost a form of poetic justice.


December 15th, 2009
4:40 pm

Hiring/interviewing managers have no idea how hard it is just to get a paycheck in this economic environment. I have 3 Bachelor’s degrees. I have applied for jobs at McDonald’s, Captain D’s, Domino’s Pizza, etc. with no callbacks or interviews. Hiring/interviewing managers already have an income and majority of the time, a stable position. Their perception of reality is distorted unless they themselves have been unemployed in the past year and had to compete for a job.

BongWater Slurpee

January 8th, 2010
10:44 am

Waste no your time with the responses from these 3 talking heads.


March 9th, 2010
11:17 am

I have done some work in a charity shop and have been unemployed for the past 13 weeks. Despite the fact I have been wanting driving lessons for the past year, want a new coat and some savings. Oh and a holiday abroad. I think if I could just get something 20-30+ hrs a week my life would definately be on the up. I would be happy and not worry as much and get some debts paid off. But at the moment I have to try and live on dole and despite the fact i feel completely pig sick of signing on, applying for jobs every day filling in application forms and no success. It is a complete shock how bad the situation really is.

Boogers in your hair

March 16th, 2010
10:07 am

"to no fault of my own"

June 9th, 2010
10:07 pm

Everyone should know by now that HR use is basically to aid supervisors and managers. They push the corporate agenda no matter what.


July 8th, 2010
5:17 pm

And let’s be sure to remember our compassionate republican leaders at election time, y’know, the national party that voted NO for extending unemployment benefits for the slackers who choose not to look for jobs because the automatic $1200.00 a month are much better than actually earning a well-paid living.