JOB SEARCH / JUL. 19, 2013
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How to Deal with Employment Gaps

You will undoubtedly come across applicants who have employment gaps on their resumes. Not every employee will have a 100% work record of having been employed for a back to back period since they began their careers, but as a recruiter, it is your responsibility to assess the positive or negative implications of an employment gap.

Dealing with employment gaps

Oftentimes you will come across a resume that appears to shine. The candidate has all attributes required for the role and you are optimistic that they are a good fit for the position. Until you spot a number of employment gaps, and there is no explanation for their existence.

Employment gaps are often a cause for contention, especially when there are a number of them and they are unaccounted for by the employee. As a recruiter you want to feel that you can trust the individual applying for the position and if any suspicions are aroused, many recruiters choose to trust their instincts and discard of the application.

However there are ways to deal with employment gaps and if you feel that the candidate is worth interviewing, don’t miss the opportunity. Instead, use the interview to inquire about the employment gaps. This way, you can gauge the reaction of the individual and if they appear uncomfortable or awkward in their response, this is a clear indication of a suspicious candidate.

Ultimately, you want the candidate’s response to be genuine and honest. Lapses in employment are normal, particularly in today’s highly competitive and overly saturated market. As more and more job seekers enter a market that contains fewer and fewer jobs, it is essential that you accept and embrace employment gaps.

Employment gaps that are clearly explained

In other instances employment gaps may be accounted for on the application. Applicants should take the time to explain their gaps in employment, whether they are mentioned on the cover letter or appear in a reference at the end of your professional experience.

If you have selected to interview the candidate, again, you can this opportunity to acknowledge the employment gaps and discuss them with the candidate.

To conclude


Ultimately, the last thing you want is to have a candidate lie to you about their employment gaps. Some of the most common explanations for gaps include attending further education, having children, personal health problems, caring for family members of being in between jobs. Whatever the reasons, honesty is the greatest policy and if you discover that a candidate has lied, immediately disregard them. 

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