2020 has been full of surprises. Many Americans have found themselves laid off from their stable positions that they have possibly had for many years. The result is the talent pool grows more and more each month and the stigma of the unemployed takes on a whole new meaning.

Unfortunately, many are continuing to find themselves seeking employment benefits. Marketplace published that last week alone, 1.2 million Americans filed first time claims for jobless benefits, joining the roughly 30 million Americans that are already claiming.

It is important to elaborate on two perspectives. As a candidate, how can you be prepared to mitigate suspicions that you aren’t qualified for a position? As a hiring manager, what questions can you ask to ensure the currently unemployed person you are interviewing is qualified for the position? Let’s explore.

Factors for a hiring manager to take into consideration:

  • How long has this person been unemployed?
  • Why has this person been unemployed for so long? 
  • What have they been doing with that time?

As a currently unemployed candidate, here are some ways you can prepare yourself to mitigate any feelings or suspicions that you are not qualified for the role:

  • When speaking with a potential future employer or recruiter, CLEARLY and CONCISELY explain your situation of unemployment. It is easy to let nerves get in the way of a clear answer, so remember that there are many others in your exact situation.
  • Are there other offers you have declined? Make sure to mention any other positions you have been offered, even if they were not a good fit. This is important to show that you have been actively seeking employment.
  • Have your reference letters on deck. Having reference letters from your previous employers ready to hand over will put you further along in the process than others and is crucial to building your professional profile.
  • Trust the interview process. We understand that in these times, there are unforeseen circumstances and with that comes anxiety. Try your hardest to remain calm, cool and collected to sell yourself.

As a candidate these tips will help set you up for success in finding your next opportunity. As someone seeking employees, these questions will help decipher the next steps in the hiring process. None of us could have predicted how things would break down this year. It is important to continually set yourself apart and move forward.