SmartRecruiters Blog

The Ghost of Unemployment

‘Unemployed Need Not Apply’ → ‘Unemployed Need Not Apply.’ @ZeroUE


“Don’t forget your ghost mask,” the corporation told me when they let me go eight months ago. My face is a ghost.

I sent out resumes. I hounded job boards. I called. And called. And emailed. And emailed. No one would look me in the eye and say “Hello. Welcome. Take a seat and tell me about yourself.”


Then I finally got a hiring manager to meet me for coffee. I bought the coffee. “So are you … ah,” the hiring manager mumbles to the sound of rustling paper. “Currently … doing … wait where are you currently working?”

“I’m unemployed.” (dun, dun, Dun!) Hiring manager screamed thoughts, “The Horror! The Horror!” Then politely drank coffee, didn’t listen to the details, told me, “we’ll be in touch,” only to never contact me again.

Don’t mask the faces of the unemployed. The unemployed are not ghosts. Listen to their voice. Then evaluate the skills in the their experience.

It is about more than ghost costumes. Halloween is said to have emerged from the fears of Celtic Tribes. Legend said, when the season of life (the fall) meets the season of death (the winter), the malevolent ghosts would manifest from the wind to walk among the living. This practice in the hiring process – of seeing the unemployed as ghosts – its not just one day, it is all year.

This scenario need not be real. The unwritten rule for those hiring is to not even consider the unemployed. This is a practice we can change. Businesses should interview at least one unemployed person for every job opening.

A recent SmartRecruiters Survey of stakeholders within hiring decisions, found that 82% confirm the existence of discrimination against the unemployment, 55% have “personally experienced resistance when presenting qualified yet unemployed candidates,” and 53% believe the unemployed job seekers are “unemployed for a reason” or “probably not qualified.” That is scary.


Whether the unemployed are victims of the economy or “unemployed for a reason,” they deserve a moment of your time. This Halloween, get to know the person behind the sheet. Create opportunity. Businesses should interview at least one unemployed person for every job opening.


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Photo credit:

David Smooke

David Smooke was the Director of Content Marketing and Social Media at SmartRecruiters and is the Founder of ArtMap Inc & AMI Publications.