Stop! Do not dismiss the resumes of applicants with gaps in their work history. If a candidate has applied for work… realize that he/she is looking for work! A frequent mistake made by HR professionals is to equate inconsistent work history with the character of a candidate. We assume that breaks in employment translate to future absenteeism or potential low levels of commitment. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The dominant reason for taking a career break is attributed to parenting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Current Population Survey of the Census Bureau, about 3.4 million educated candidates of prime working-age are taking a break right now to raise their children. In March Linkedin added an option for members to add a career break to their profile. Members can choose from 13 reasons to explain the “why?” behind the non-employed times in their work histories. A few employers are offering returnships, skill refreshment programs that offer re-entry opportunities for mid-career workers to relaunch careers.
Whether your company offers returnships or not, or the resumes with a more erratic employment history that come across your desk belong to parents or not, pause and give them the same consideration you would to those with consistent work histories.
Change your hiring patterns and practices slightly, broaden your selection criteria, and you might find some amazing future employees!