Last year at this time, the economy was humming along, with unemployment at 3.8 percent overall and 2.0 percent for college grads. January 2021's unemployment rate is at 6.3 percent, which means that an awful lot of people who lost their job during the peak of pandemic unemployment are still looking for a job.

If you're hiring, it's time to look at some of those people who have been unemployed for six months or more. (Some people have been unemployed for a much longer time!) Companies often prefer to hire people who are already employed, but if you want to do what is best for your community and your company, it's time to look at the long-term unemployed.

Hiring long-term unemployed candidates is good for your community.

"We're seeing an increase in low-impact crimes," said Jeff Zisner, chief executive of workplace security firm Aegis. "It's not a whole lot of people going in, grabbing TVs, and running out the front door. It's a very different kind of crime--it's people stealing consumables and items associated with children and babies."

The Washington Post quoted Zisner in their article about how consumable crime has increased--that is people stealing things like food and children's items. While correlation doesn't automatically equal causation, it seems pretty logical that unemployed people are more likely to be stealing consumables. Many of the people who are unemployed are people who didn't have a lot of financial security in the first place--restaurant and hospitality employees, for instance.

You want your community to thrive, and having low unemployment can do that. Rejecting the long-term unemployed means rejecting people who need income the most.

Hiring long-term unemployed candidates is good for people's mental health.

"The burden of disease increases with the duration of unemployment. Long-term unemployed have at least twofold risk of mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety disorders, compared to employed persons. Their mortality is 1.6-fold higher. Unemployment seems to be not only an effect of illness but also its cause."

The above quote came from an academic study. They were looking specifically at Bosnia and Herzegovina, but this has been found true in the United States as well

Recruiter Adam Karpiak tweeted this:

While it's not, technically, the job of a hiring manager to focus on improving the mental health of job candidates, it is their job to focus on the skillsets.

You may think that someone who currently has a job can hit the ground running while someone who has been unemployed for a year will need more time, but that may or may not be true. Every new hire must be trained on your systems, policies, and procedures.

Hiring long-term unemployed candidates is good for your business.

Why settle when you don't have to, right? But hiring someone who has been unemployed for a long time period isn't settling. Rejecting people for that reason can cause you to miss out on really quality candidates.

And if that doesn't convince you, remember that an unemployed candidate may be more willing to do the following:

  • Start immediately
  • Relocate
  • Accept a job that isn't perfect
  • Accept a job at a lower level (which gives you advanced skills at a bargain cost)
  • Work hard to prove themselves

I'm not advising you to underpay the long-term unemployed, but if you find an overqualified candidate, go ahead and consider them. It may be a win-win situation for everyone.

Regardless of your reason, take a look at the long-term unemployed for your next vacancy.