“The Unemployed Need Not Apply” – Why Companies with That Attitude are Hurting Veterans

There was huge buzz earlier this week around an article in the Huffington Post entitled “Disturbing Job Ads: ‘The Unemployed Will Not Be Considered’”.  Apparently there are companies out there (and not just small employers, but some big names as well) that have decided it is easier to filter out potential applicants by using that condition as criteria than it is to simply knuckle down and look for the best candidates for a single position in an applicant pool of possibly hundreds of people, some percentage of whom will be currently unemployed.

It is outrageous to think, with the tanking economy and the spiraling unemployment rates over the last 18 months, that any employer believes this is a good recruiting strategy.  HELLO!  This is your Company Brand and Reputation on the line.  In this age of social media, can any employer afford to be so callous and expect no repercussions?  Just because it is not illegal to discriminate against the unemployed doesn’t mean it is a smart move.

I am most concerned with how this attitude impacts military veterans searching for civilian employment.  In 2008, CareerBuilder.com conducted a survey of veterans to gather data on their transition-to-civilian-employment experiences.  Even back then, before the general unemployment situation got really bad,  17% of veterans reported it took more than 6 months to find a job after leaving active duty; 10% said it took over a year.  This lag has a lot to do with the military person struggling to communicate his/her skills in civilian terms, but also has a lot to do with employers not recognizing the skills and talents veterans have to offer.

So, if service members as a group already struggle with higher unemployment because it takes them longer to find employers who understand their value and are willing to hire them, can you see how this “Unemployed Need Not Apply” policy would disproportionately weed out veteran applicants?  As of March 2010, the unemployment rate for young veterans was at 21%.

I’d be willing to bet it unfairly impacts persons with disabilities from applying as well.