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It wasn’t that long ago that underemployment or unemployment on a candidate’s resume was a big red flag for a hiring manager.

Fast forward to 2012 – where there’s an approximately 16% rate of unemployed and underemployed American workers – and it’s clear that the candidate landscape has changed a lot.

Furthermore, as one of the top Phoenix staffing services firms, PrideStaff knows that many individuals who fall within the ranks of the unemployed or underemployed bring plenty of experience and skill to the table. Luck, however, may not have been on their side. As a result, it would be wise to overlook employment gaps or career hiccups…and dig a little deeper to uncover the best fit talent for your position.

But in order to properly evaluate these candidates, you need to ask the right interview questions first. Here are some tips to help you:

Ask About Their “Reason for Leaving” Their Last Position.

If a candidate is unemployed or underemployed due to a lay-off, then ask specific questions that can help you gain a better understanding of the situation and why they were let go. For instance:

  • Why were there layoffs at the company?
  • Were layoff decisions made based on seniority?
  • How many rounds of layoffs did you survive before being laid off?

Evaluate Their Job Search Strategy.

In today’s economy, there are plenty of job candidates who are hungry for a new opportunity, but have to hold down two or three jobs or live on unemployment to make ends meet in the meantime. And then there are those who don’t put much effort into their job search at all.

When interviewing, it’s key to gain a sense of which category a candidate falls into because it will demonstrate how driven they are. For instance, ask questions like:

  • How do you uncover job leads?
  • How many jobs have you applied to since you’ve been looking?
  • What types of organizations have you been applying to?
  • How many interviews have you had?
  • Give me an overview of your job search strategy.

Don’t Forget the Fundamentals.

Even if a candidate has been out of the workforce – or out of their field – for a while, don’t forget to ask the basic fundamental questions, such as:

  • Why do you think you’re a good fit for the position?
  • What makes you stand out among your peers?
  • What are some key accomplishments that have benefited your past employers?

As always, when it comes to finding the best candidate to hire, asking the right questions is vital. And thanks to an anemic economy, the above questions are important to add to your roster when interviewing underemployed or unemployed job candidates.

Need Expert Help With Your Interview Process?

If you’d like to outsource your interview process to the professionals, let PrideStaff know. As one of the top Phoenix staffing services firms, we can take the hassle out of hiring for you – ensuring you hire right, the first time.

Contact PrideStaff today to learn more about how we can help you.

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