Job seekers have to worry about the slightest employment gaps

September 21, 2008

My friend was recently berated by an HR flunkie because on her employment verification form, she didn’t explain to his satisfaction her employment “gap” from three years ago. There wasn’t really a gap to speak of. One position ended one month, and the next one began the next month. Being a contractor, you can certainly have some time between positions (between FTE positions, it could be a year between jobs!) This was a serious matter to HR, this “gap.”

Employment verifications aren’t just the attempt of the hiring company to make sure that you didn’t lie on your resume about your previous employers. They are the only sort of “gotcha” HR can muster in their piece of the hiring process, except maybe for the piss in a cup part. Most all companies will only confirm a person’s employment with them, and the begin and end dates. No other information will be divulged by these counterpart HR departments. Don’t want the legal ramifications. So, all there is to do is to haggle over “gaps” in employment. 

So, in addition to the ridiculous lists of skills needed for many IT positions, you have to run the gauntlet of explaining your employment history “gaps.” This punishes people who had been long time contractors, who I guess are objects of suspicion anyway in HR departments. What, this person is not so loyal as to stay someplace for 10 years and veg out? No matter that in the past 5 years that many contractors are looking for a “perm” job but can’t land one…


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