Development Crossing

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability

Talent - the ultimate corporate sustainability initiative

With unemployment in America affecting over 35 million people; as a country we need to stand up and do something about this.  More and more job seekers are becoming hopeless and mental health issues are running rampant.  This not only affects new grads, but all generations.  Many older workers now can't retire due to financial reasons, as well as being active, healthy and wanting to continue to contribute to society.  It is not the "government's" problem.  It is all of our problem.


I have been participating in discussions which are unveiling that discrimination for "employees in transition" is running rampant in many companies in their hiring practices. So is requiring unrealistic experience, education, and skill sets or offering unrealistic salaries for the type of work required.  More and more employers are being selective in their choice of "who to interview" because with 300+ candidates per job in some cases, they are overloaded with resumes.  Job seekers are hearing the same tired excuses "underqualified," "over-qualified," "must have been let go for a reason," "not a cultural fit" and a million others (or 35 million).  That is when they hear anything back at all.


As a Staffing professional, I am personally disturbed by this trend.  Not only are companies missing out on some great talent, they are contributing to the further decline of our society.   True sustainability to me means protecting our planet and communities and what is more important than protecting the livelihood of our fellow citizens.  These employees in transition are not the "tired, poor and huddled masses" that we stereotype them to be.  Many are highly educated and experienced and just need a chance to prove this to an organization.


Here are the reasons that companies should look at their recruitment and hiring practices and make sure they are not "turning down" an employee in transition, just because of common myths attached to them.  This is assuming they meet the core requirements for the job:

  • Hiring someone who has been out of work gives you a more loyal employee who will work harder to "do great" in their new job and appreciate the opportunity. They will also tell their family and friends about your company which will generate more loyal customers.
  • Don't assume that the unemployed candidate is "rusty" in their skills or experience or "underqualified." They actually may have used the extra time off to develop or educate  themselves in a way that someone working 50+ hours per week cannot maintain.  Most new hires require some amount of training, even people coming from another job, so don't overlook the potential of that candidate in transition.  Also, some employees in transition just don't know what to include as specific "key words" on their resume.
  • Don't assume someone is "over-qualified." Many people would be happy to take a step down for awhile and be an individual contributor versus a manager (less stress). This also goes for salary. Don't assume someone is looking for more than the job pays. It probably pays more than unemployment (or $0) and at least gets them out of the house and contributing to society.
  • Don't assume that an unemployed candidate is "lazy" or "fired" for poor performance. Some of the brightest and hardest working people I know have been in transition due to no fault of their own.  They could have had the top sales or customer service rating in their company, but due to lack of capital/funding or an acquistion, poof, they are now out of a job.
  • Don't assume that someone that left your company in good standing (either through resignation or downsizing) is no longer interested in working for you.  Former employees can be huge assets to your company and may have better perspective since they have had some time away.  The same can go for former employees of your competitors who are in transition.


I know that sifting through so many resumes can be time consuming.  We do this in staffing every day (my company can't afford high end technology), but isn't it worth a shot to keep an open mind to talent coming in and try to match great candidates with opportunities as often as possible?  Don't get so hung up on "screening out" that you take the human aspect out of hiring.  This is truly the only way to ensure your company does remain sustainable in the future.


Companies that don't take a pro-active approach to solving for this unfortunate practice will lose great talent and when the economy eventually turns around I can guarantee that 35 million people will remember who took a chance on them and who did not.


Just my opinion.


Views: 272

Comment by Ian Berry on August 23, 2012 at 12:01am

Well said Diana

My quest for the past 2 decades has been to help leaders see that identifying and nurturing people's talents or gifts is their number one role I call it Enhancing Their Gifts

And how great it is that each human being has unique talents/gifts

Comment by Petra Koenvenski on August 23, 2012 at 1:34pm

I can feel the passion coming through your article. wow, I was aware of this trend but not really till I read this.

Comment by Diana Dambrosio on August 23, 2012 at 1:53pm

Thanks, Petra.  I wasn't aware of the magintude of this until recently and the more I read and research the more concerned I become.  I hope that all of us can bring awareness to this trend and do our small parts to help solve for it.

Comment by chad on February 10, 2013 at 3:53pm

Great read. 

Another shift we must make to end the high unemployment rate is to stop sending our manufacturing jobs overseas.

"Made in China" may be appealing to companies bottom line but it is destroying America's middle class. 

As consumers we can help stop this by not buying products that are not made in North America.

Comment by Rocky Brockop on February 10, 2013 at 4:07pm

I totally agree with everything. Not only sending our jobs abroad, but the plain fact that people are not looking through the corporate/scripted "smoke & mirrors" to explore the fundamental strengths that an individual brings to the table. Every email and resume is the same,...just a bunch of words.

At the risk of being so bold? I for one, know that a phone conversation, or a face to face automatically separates me from probably 90% of the candidates. I'm sure others feel the same.

Comment by Petra Marcus on February 10, 2013 at 11:21pm

Diana...this is such great and true article...I never understood the notion, that a company should hire someone, who already has a job, vs someone who does not!!!...Recruiters and HR alike need to have an attitude change or at least their change of thinking/recruiting!!!...I will make sure that more people read your article...again, thank you!!!


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