Construction Hiring: Building a Stronger Construction Workforce

Construction Hiring: Building a Stronger Construction Workforce

Job recovery since the 2020 pandemic has been on a mostly steady incline, with the construction industry serving as a strong contributor to the labor market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an average of 151,400 construction jobs will be added to the economy each year over he next decade. However, even as those jobs are created, construction hiring can still be a challenge as management companies and contractors try fill the roles with skilled and willing workers. 

In March 2024, NPR reported that the industry added 39,000 jobs even in the face of high interest rates, and found nearly 48 percent of builders surveyed planned to add jobs over the following six months. Even as the industry remains plagued by supply chain concerns, high material costs, and interest rates that stall residential building demand, significant opportunity remains for construction hiring in public works, manufacturing, and other commercial segments.

Wherever an industry is growing, it faces roadblocks to hiring skilled labor to fill the demand. Ryan Odendahl, the CEO of a civil and industrial construction firm, told NPR:

Young people are starting to see the opportunity, both from an earnings potential and a growth potential that the construction industry offers. We need to do a better job as an industry of telling some of the great things that are going on in construction. We are competing with all of the other industries in the economy for people.”

4 Tips to Improve Construction Hiring Efforts

Construction Worker on Duty. Caucasian Contractor and the Wooden House Frame. Industrial Theme.

While those in the industry know all too well the challenges of getting out that message, there are some concrete ways to optimize the construction hiring and recruiting process to help build a stronger workforce.

Define Your Company Culture

The idea of company culture may sound like a buzzword more suited to the tech industry. But research performed by MIT Sloan after the pandemic workforce upheaval showed that attrition is “affecting blue-collar and white-collar sectors with equal force.” One of the most commonly cited reasons for leaving was toxic company culture; “by far the strongest predictor of industry-adjusted attrition and is 10 times more important than compensation in predicting turnover.” 

Both a huge construction firm hired to build an airport and the “mom and pop” remodeling company can find value in looking for ways to meet workers’ needs. Some of these core values may include:

  • Equitable treatment without discrimination
  • Fair wages, including overtime pay
  • Paid leave
  • Flexible schedules
  • Benefits like health insurance or retirement contributions
  • Ethical management practices
  • Fair and respectful supervisors and colleagues
  • No fear of retribution
  • Proper onboarding and training
  • Clear work expectations, including required hours and allowed breaks
  • Opportunities for advancement, including raises, bonuses, or promotions

Taking time to define and communicate the company’s core values can go a long way in making new and prospective workers feel like the company is trustworthy and a supportive place to work.

Identify Ways to Speed Up the Construction Hiring Process

Construction projects run on tight schedules, and delays and pushbacks can cost the company. Weather, unexpected additional work, and budget overruns are constants in construction, so maintaining a consistent labor force is key. Once you’ve set yourself apart with positive company culture, spend only the time necessary in the hiring process.

There are many tools for hiring efficiency, but one of the best is an applicant tracking system like ApplicantStack. Especially if you post jobs on popular sites, the volume of applicants may be overwhelming and lead to delays. ApplicantStack can quickly and easily sort by speciality, experience, and many other categories to help you sift through and find the worker you need at the moment.

Once you’ve flagged those you’d like to interview, quickly contact by email or text from within ApplicantStack to keep track of communication and never let anyone slip through the cracks. Follow up as soon as possible with interview dates and times, and keep communication timely throughout the process to ensure you don’t get ghosted by the applicant.

Adjust Your Requirements

Hard skills like framing, finish carpentry, or heavy machine operation are vital for certain types of construction jobs. Safety and efficiency demand that workers in some roles have completed prior training and demonstrate competency. But consider that for other roles, your recruiting could weigh soft skills and trainability as a useful way to quickly fill out your workforce. Demonstrable soft skills that are valuable on a construction site include:

  • Good communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Learn new skills quickly
  • Adaptability to new situations
  • Positive attitude
  • Respectful
  • Helpful

Candidates who are looking for a career change or are new to the job market may possess a host of soft skills that, combined with some training, can produce a skilled and dedicated member of your team.

Focus on Onboarding

On a construction site, proper training is key for worker security and safety. Even employees with experience in the industry will need to learn how work is done with your company. Identify employees with good leadership skills, work ethic, and proper training to onboard new employees for a set amount of time. For those with training, that may look like observing tasks and providing feedback or encouragement. For people new to the industry, that may look like demonstrating skills and careful supervision. And always make sure new workers are aware of all federal and state safety requirements.

Proper onboarding can help workers feel like they didn’t get thrown in the deep end and left to flounder. It can be a challenge to find the right trainers and the time, but workers who feel supported from their first days are more likely to stick around and put their newfound skills to use. A positive onboarding process can play a role in improved employee retention rates, making it a worthwhile investment for any company.

A fast-growing sector like construction can still benefit from taking some time to effectively use recruiting and hiring tools and philosophies. Finding and managing prospective employees with ApplicantStack can help you identify skilled talent and build a strong workforce, boosting your organization’s success.

4 Ways to Improve Healthcare Recruiting Efforts

4 Ways to Improve Healthcare Recruiting Efforts

Recruiters in the healthcare sector know firsthand what the statistics reveal: The United States is facing a serious shortage of healthcare workers. Burnout and career changes exacerbated by the pandemic show projections of significant physician shortages over the next decade. Pre-existing shortages in nursing and support staff continue, making healthcare recruiting a unique challenge. 

Through 2032, the BLS projects huge growth rate numbers in occupations like nurse practitioner (45 percent), physician’s assistants (27 percent), and speech language pathologists (19 percent). Projected job growth for registered nurses is at nearly 175,000, with physical therapists at nearly 38,000. Each of these providers requires support staff like assistants, lab technicians, and medical records clerks, making the field wide open in seeking new hires.

For your organization to improve healthcare hiring, consider a systematic approach to your recruitment. Here are some ways to boost your efforts.

Develop a Healthcare Recruiting Strategy

A recruitment strategy is made up of the building blocks of company identity and culture. Consider some of the following:

  • Craft a Strong Company Brand. Healthcare differs from other sectors like retail or technology in that selling is not the primary goal. So then what is your primary goal? Craft a mission statement that’s specific and easy to understand by someone being introduced to your organization for the first time. What makes your healthcare different from another and what makes you interesting to prospective candidates?
  • Craft an Employee Value Proposition. The EVP is the salary and benefits package that makes you stand out in the crowd of eager healthcare employers. Beyond compensation and standard benefits like health care, other incentives might include career development opportunities, recognition with bonuses, a path to career advancement, work-life balance rewards like gym memberships, generous paid time off policies, or remote work flexibility.
  • Maintain Communication During the Hiring Process. A whopping 81 percent of candidates surveyed by Career Builder said “continuous continuous status updates would greatly improve their overall experience.” Even if sheer volume makes that a hard goal to meet, it’s worth considering how your company can improve this metric. A tool like ApplicantStack can help you organize every job applicant and give a clear picture of where they are in the process. From the tool you can send emails or text messages and have an instant record of your communication.
  • Build Out a Strong Onboarding Program. Even seasoned healthcare workers need time to learn the systems and practices of a new company. A thoughtful and organized onboarding program can help new employees feel welcome, avoid being overwhelmed on day one, and allow reasonable time to integrate and take on a full complement of tasks.

Find Many Paths to Healthcare Recruiting

  • Create an Employee Referral Program. When you’re meeting the needs of your existing employees, they can become your best tool in attracting top talent. Who better to advertise your company but those who find it challenging and rewarding? Consider compensating employees for referrals that turn into hires.
  • Focus on Internal Mobility. Just as current employees are great recruiters, existing talent is a great pool to choose from for promotions. External recruiting costs time and money; by some estimates it can take up to 100 days from posting to offer. Support roles in healthcare present opportunities for managerial and supervisory roles. Current employees can be a great fit for those jobs since they know the systems inside and out. Internal mobility shows your commitment to an employee’s continued success and professional goals and should be met with concrete actions. Shortages in healthcare hiring may mean slotting people into temporary or acting leadership positions to fill a desperate need. But without assurances like a pay increase, renewed contracts, or commensurate benefits, you can lose your most valuable asset in a shortage: trained, committed employees. A reasonable workload, reliable schedule, and appropriate compensation are vital parts to a positive internal hiring experience.
  • Foster Relationships with Colleges and Universities. A survey by CCRC found that community colleges “hold the largest market share of program offerings in four instructional program groups: Mental/Social Health (76 percent), Allied Health (Diagnostic, Intervention, Treatment) (68 percent), Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science (69 percent), and Practical Nursing (58 percent).” With these institutions training the majority of the prospective candidates for a huge range of healthcare jobs, a recruiting relationship is a vital avenue for finding eager candidates ready to start their healthcare careers.

Organize Your Candidate Pools by Category

In a stagnant job market, companies may have their pick of candidates from a large pool of similarly-qualified individuals. In the more challenging sector of healthcare, recruiting managers may need to get creative and look for attributes beyond just degrees and experience. Consider the many valuable and important soft skills that a prospective employee can offer. Unlike passing a test in school, these attributes can be harder to learn and, for some people, come naturally:

  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Multitasking
  • Conflict resolution
  • Adaptability
  • Integrity
  • Fast learner
  • Empathy
  • Negotiation

Much like you would categorize candidates by their education and experience, consider grouping people by their soft skills. A person with these attributes may be worth taking a chance to hire, even if they may need some additional training time. ApplicantStack is a perfect tool to keep track of a candidate’s many qualifications.

Focus on Retention

According to the CDC, 46 percent of healthcare workers reported feeling burned out in 2022, up from 32 percent in 2018. And 44 percent of healthcare workers intended to look for a new job in 2022, up from 33 percent in 2018. The pandemic understandably changed the way many healthcare workers view their place in the job market, and dissatisfaction and worker shortages follow. 

While companies will always need to fill employment gaps, tending to the workers you already have is a vital aspect of long-term stability. Viewing the causes of worker burnout with empathy and understanding may inspire you to change benefit packages, offer more flexibility with time off, or offer clear paths to career development. Making sure all roles are filled ensures existing staff aren’t called upon to fill extra shifts or cover for sick employees. When employees feel undervalued and overused, retention numbers fall.

Challenges in healthcare hiring demand open-mindedness, creativity, and organization from recruiters. Increasing demand combined with worker burnout make for a competitive environment for attracting top talent. For savvy hiring managers, a focused recruitment strategy includes am ATS like ApplicantStack to give a holistic picture of each candidate and keep lines of communication open.

What is Agile Recruiting, and How Does It Impact Your Hiring Efforts?

What is Agile Recruiting, and How Does It Impact Your Hiring Efforts?

Finding the right person to hire can feel like an uphill climb, especially when you receive a hefty stack of applications for an open role. The recruiting process has changed in the recent past, resulting in need for agility among those who play a role in finding and bringing on top talent. Whether you’re a small business owner, hiring manager or recruiter, it’s helpful to understand what agile recruiting looks like and the impact it can have on your recruiting efforts.

What is Agile Recruiting?

Agile recruiting spins off agile development, offering a unique take on the traditional process of finding and bringing on talent. The goal of implementing agility in your hiring efforts is to adapt to changes in the market and business needs.

When you think about hiring processes of the past, you may recall slow movement, a lack of flexibility and bottlenecks from start to finish. Agile recruiting streamlines the efforts made by all involved, helping hiring managers and company leaders to identify top talent through collaboration.

But in order to implement agile recruiting, your company must be open to communication. An open line of communication is the key to success in improving your hiring efforts. When this component is missing from the process, no one wins.

3 Benefits of Agile Recruiting

It’s no secret that hiring has continued to get more and more challenging since the Great Resignation and economic shifts. More than three-quarters of hiring managers note that attracting qualified candidates is the greatest challenge, while over 40 percent report significant difficulties in filling entry-level roles.

Explore these three benefits of implementing flexible recruiting processes that can help your business overcome these challenges.

Improved collaboration

Streamlining the collaboration between team members can support faster, more effective decision-making. Where standard hiring processes are slow, agile recruiting is quick and efficient. Ongoing check-ins between all involved in the process also fosters unity and identifies potential obstacles before they arise.

Enhanced candidate satisfaction

Today’s candidates need to feel like they’re valued and included. A lack of communication can put a lot of strain on the relationship, potentially leading to applicants looking elsewhere for employment. And a slow-moving hiring process lends itself to top talent being snatched up by other companies that implement agile recruiting practices.

A greater emphasis on open communication and collaboration supports candidates’ needs and keeps everyone in the loop.

Access to ongoing feedback

Ongoing feedback is another key advantage of agile recruiting. Company leaders can avoid wasting resources and time on candidates who aren’t good fits for open roles, offering significant cost savings.

The Impact on Your Hiring Process

If you’re willing to adapt to the changing market and economic conditions, your company can maximize hiring efforts with improved agility. The benefits of agile recruiting extend beyond those mentioned here, with hiring the right person earning a spot at the top of the list. Considering that a bad hire can cost a business close to $15,000, it’s an investment worth making, particularly for a small company that doesn’t have that type of money to waste.

With ApplicantStack, agile recruiting practices are easy to implement. The applicant-tracking system offers a fresh approach to hiring that ensures quick movement and ongoing communication. Text candidates to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and utilize the built-in functionality to manage top candidates and move them through the process quickly and efficiently. When you’re ready to incorporate agile recruiting into your processes, get started with a free trial.

How a Healthcare Talent Pool Can Support Hiring Efforts

How a Healthcare Talent Pool Can Support Hiring Efforts

The healthcare industry continues to experience rapid growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field projects 1.8 million openings per year through 2032, both due to employment growth and the need for replacement. These roles include all levels, from support staff to providers and administrators, emphasizing the importance of a robust hiring strategy for all organizations operating in the healthcare space. Explore the benefits of building a healthcare talent pool and how to simplify the hiring process with the latest technology.

What is a Healthcare Talent Pool?

A healthcare talent pool is a database of qualified candidates, built by an organization in this industry to fill open roles as they become available. In order to build this type of database, a company must maintain the contact information and other details about various individuals who meet the criteria for being hired. Previous applicants, those who engage in related groups online, social media followers, previous employees, and internal prospects may all fit into the talent pool.

Those involved in the recruiting process must take an active role in building a talent pool, as they have access to the information of people who might be considered for future roles. When a position opens within the organization, a hiring manager can review qualified individuals in the pool, rather than opening the job up to a wider audience of potential applicants.

4 Benefits of Building a Healthcare Talent Pool

Review some of the benefits of establishing a healthcare talent pool to support your hiring needs.

Cultivates trust

Building trust with potential new hires is vital in today’s market. Skilled, qualified healthcare professionals can be a bit pickier about where they choose to work, which means you’ll be competing for top talent. But by maintaining transparency with those who are selected to remain in the talent pool, you can establish a trusting relationship that is mutually beneficial.

Simplifies the hiring process

Hiring can be a time-consuming process that requires multiple stakeholders to put in a lot of effort. Between creating and posting a job description, reviewing applications, performing screening tasks, scheduling and conducting interviews, reviewing references, and extending offers, simply bringing on one person can take many hours.

But with a pool of screened and vetted individuals, many of these steps in the process are eliminated. You can reach out to those who are qualified for open roles, providing details about the position and gauging their interest level. A phone interview may be all it takes to determine whether the person is a good fit, or you may prefer an in-person meeting. No matter the situation, you’ll certainly save time and effort.

Provides access to qualified individuals

When you post a job, it’s likely that you’ll get as many as several hundred applications, according to an article on LinkedIn. The average corporate job opening gets approximately 250 applications, which means those involved in hiring are sifting through a lot of potentially unqualified individuals.

By contrast, heading straight to your candidate pool provides quick access to qualified, skilled individuals. You can skip the process of posting a job, focusing on people who have shown interest in working for your organization in the past to save time.

Reduces the time to hire

In healthcare, teams rarely have time to wait for a lengthy time-to-hire process. The quality of care provided within the facility or by support staff depends on having a full team of people, each performing their own duties. Reducing the time spent on the hiring process can protect those who entrust your organization for care and treatment, as well as provide support to the other members of the team.

Incorporate ApplicantStack for Improved Hiring

With ApplicantStack, building a pool of qualified healthcare workers is simple. All data from previous applicants remains in the system, giving you access to their information when you have a potential role that aligns with their skills and experience. With the Candidate Management features, you can also maintain an open line of communication. Text potential new hires, utilize email templates, and review reports to keep everyone on the same page.

Learn more about ApplicantStack and how it can benefit your healthcare organization by giving it a try. It’s free, and there are no strings attached.

A Look into Internal Mobility: What it Means for Small Businesses

A Look into Internal Mobility: What it Means for Small Businesses

Small businesses looking to save money on hiring often find that internal mobility is a great solution. Tapping existing employees for other positions means you can bypass the initial steps of the application and hiring process and move straight to identifying best candidates for open roles within the business. Most likely it’s worth considering how to best apply this concept for your company’s success. Here are some ideas to help.  

What Is Internal Mobility?

Internal mobility is the practice of using your company’s existing workers to fill positions. It can look like: 

  • Lateral position moves, inside or outside the current department
  • New position in another department
  • Transfers to other branches or offices
  • Promotions
  • Demotions
  • Change of status, e.g. salaried to contractor
  • Filling newly-created positions
  • Mentorships
  • Project assignment cross-mobility

Benefits of Internal Mobility for Small Business

According to leadership strategist Curt Steinhorst, “Hiring internally to fill a role is often a more strategic move, whether it’s temporary or permanent. Studies show that internal hires are more loyal, have improved retention, and that 75% are successful in their new job role.” Let’s examine why that might be. 

  1. Internal hiring costs the company less than external hires.External hires cost 18 percent more than internal hires,” continues Steinhorst, “and are 21 percent more likely to leave during the first year.” The time spent recruiting, sorting through resumes, setting up interviews, extending offers, and onboarding is virtually eliminated for an internal hire. 
  2. Integrating into company culture takes time. Wharton professor Peter Cappelli reports that “outside hires take three years to perform as well as internal hires in the same job.” Even for hires who have the skills needed for the position will experience the initial shock and gradual integration into the company culture. An existing employee who fits in perfectly can embrace their new position without a learning curve from multiple angles.
  3. Internal recruitment boosts retention. Employees need to feel valued and believe that they have the ability to advance their skills and career aspirations within the company. Otherwise, they will be forced to look elsewhere for promotions. Not every role in the company will have a path to promotion, but management’s eye on potential candidates can demonstrate your company is loyal to its workers.
  4. People are your most valuable asset. In an age of rapid technological advancement where AI and automation has replaced large swathes of the workforce, rewarding workers’ personal ambition and good work can instill faith in company leadership.
  5. You know your talent already. In a vacuum, your best option between two resumes might be a toss-up. When you consider that you know the work habits, managerial confidence, talents, skills, and personality of someone already in the company, you significantly decrease your chances for an unhappy surprise. Even the most rigorous recruiting practices can’t offer any guarantees.
  6. Internal mobility promotes adaptability. Employees who are familiar with multiple departments and projects are often flexible and better at collaboration. It can provide employees with a much broader perspective about the company’s mission and goals.

Internal Mobility Data Shows Untapped Potential

Managers (49.8 percent) and directors (50.3 percent) are the most likely employees to make internal moves according to internal data from LinkedIn. In contrast, individual contributors only represent 24.1 percent of internal promotions. What can your business take away from that data? People in management positions have cracked the code on how to achieve mobility. How can your company reach a somewhat neglected group of employees with great potential.

Effective Strategies for Internal Hires

Taking a long hard look at the pool of potential mobility hires can yield some interesting data. What you do next can help change the company culture around internal mobility. Consider some of the following strategies:

  1. Track expenses. Explore the ways losing employees affects the company’s bottom line. While it’s true that a departed employee no longer collects the salary and benefits, the cost of an external hire can quickly cover and exceed that number. Look critically at those numbers and determine where your company can save on recruiting costs.
  2. Acquire data. Track the number of employees hired from within. A tool like ApplicantStack can generate reports that show where you’re getting the most quality hires. If the data shows internal promotion is king, use that data to make some changes in the hiring and development process.
  3. Advertise internally. Consider posting all new jobs internally with wide reach and detailed descriptions.. 
  4. Improve culture. Include questions about internal mobility in performance review meetings. Create a culture where discussion about movement within the company isn’t taboo or discouraged.
  5. Involve hiring managers. Encourage an open-door policy with HR or leadership that allows employees to express their ambitions openly and carve out a path for advancement.
  6. Encourage self-improvement. Invest in internal development such as mentorship, coaching sessions, reimbursement for outside education, or creating cross-training opportunities.
  7. Help workers buy in. Tie long-term company goals to individual employees’ goals in an encouraging and uplifting manner.
  8. Create a “career storytelling” program. This initiative can publically celebrate internal promotion. “Giving workers the necessary opportunities to learn and stretch assignments is one critical step,” according to experts at Deloitte; “giving them a narrative they can model their own careers on is another (and especially important, because it helps raise the sights of those who might not otherwise believe they can move forward in an organization).”
  9. Set up a rewards program. Offer financial incentives for pursuing internal mobility or for providing referrals of quality candidates within the company.

According to Jobvite, 36 percent of recruiters say internal mobility produces their highest-quality workers. For small businesses especially, a strong company culture comes from a workforce united in purpose. The more you find the hidden talent within the walls of your own organization, the more your company can focus on growth and prosperity.

Is a Gap a Red Flag on a Candidate’s Resume?

Is a Gap a Red Flag on a Candidate’s Resume?

A resume can only reveal the smallest slice of a job seeker’s life story. After the pandemic’s upheaval on the job market, people’s resumes may look a bit different than in decades past. Employment gaps are becoming a more common occurrence, but they’re not necessarily cause for alarm. Hiring managers who approach a candidate’s employment gap with empathy and curiosity may find that the reason reveals something logical or even beneficial. Read on to help you determine if an employment gap is a red flag in a potential hire.

What Is an Employment or Resume Gap?

An employment gap refers to an extended period of time, perhaps multiple months or years, where the applicant has no recorded work history on their resume.

Traditionally, hiring managers would read a resume and expect to see a continuous employment history with no long gaps between jobs. This has long been viewed as a marker of a dedicated and committed worker who hasn’t taken “breaks” from the workforce. Resume gaps could also be attempting to hide jobs an applicant isn’t proud of.

But the truth is that 68 percent of workers “have experienced a gap in their employment.” Since so many members of the workforce are in this boat, it’s worth looking further into the individual and their experience.

Why Are Employment Gaps Seen as Red Flags?

At first glance, employment gaps may look like the applicant is trying to hide something that would eliminate them from consideration. Conventional recruiting wisdom says someone should never leave a job without another opportunity lined up. Being fired or unexpectedly let go can often lead to an employment gap while the person starts the process of searching, which can easily take months depending on the field. A hiring manager may see being fired as a red flag.

Employment gaps on a resume can also be used to hide a short-lived job that the candidate would prefer not to list. A person’s job history may include a series of short-term jobs that could, to some recruiters, make a candidate look irresponsible or unreliable.

Chances are, jumping to these somewhat outdated conclusions won’t serve your business or the candidate in front of you. In some sectors, company buy-outs can affect a huge percentage of a company’s employees through no fault of their own. Companies go out of business unexpectedly, department managers are fired and their whole staff is let go, and new leadership changes the focus of business so a person’s skills no longer fit. And there are many personal reasons someone may spend time away from the workforce.

Rather than dismissing those resumes right away, it might be worth giving an otherwise interesting candidate the opportunity to explain their experiences in the next phase of the hiring process. 

Common Reasons for Resume Gaps

Workers have a wide variety of reasons for a resume gap. Some common ones may include:

  • Giving birth to a child and/or providing full-time care for children
  • Caring for a sick or aging family member
  • Health concern or long illness
  • Mental health issues
  • Employer went out of business
  • Training for new skills
  • Classes for certification or a degree
  • Exploring new hobbies
  • Freelance work
  • Widespread unemployment in a particular sector, such as food service during the pandemic
  • Travel
  • Relocation

Providing the candidate the opportunity to explain these or any other employment gaps may reveal characteristics that recommend them for hire. Someone who spent time traveling may have saved money for the trip which shows a forward-thinking mindset. A caregiving role could show that person has empathy, multi-tasking, and problem-solving skills. Freelance work can show initiative and time-management skills. Coping with mental health challenges can demonstrate strength and resolve.

How Resume Gaps May Appear on a Resume

Some job candidates might choose to add sections to their resume that describe the reasons for the gaps. A new parent might highlight the time spent on maternity leave with the dates they chose to spend providing full-time child care. Someone who spent some time traveling around in an RV might put those dates with a short description of the places they visited. 

A person who did freelance writing or sold handmade goods could describe those months or years as self-employed or independent. A caregiver for an ill family member could highlight those months or years of unpaid labor as an important period in their personal development. Some candidates may choose to simply describe it as a “career break” with no further details.

A hiring manager can scan resumes or applications for any creative descriptions of employment gaps and approach the candidate with an open mind. To job seekers, Monster Career Expert Vicki Salemi counseled, “Providing hiring managers a reason for the break and what was learned can quell their curiosity and fears about your abilities and commitment.” The candidate doesn’t necessarily owe the hiring managers details about a private experience, particularly if the reason is health-related, but the hiring team can gauge a person’s renewed commitment to a new job with empathetic conversations during an interview.

How to Discuss Employment Gaps

When a candidate advances to the interview stage, you have the opportunity to gain more insight into an employment gap. Though some candidates may be reticent to discuss details of private matters, you can steer the conversation to lessons learned or future employment goals. Consider some of the following questions to address gaps:

  • What made you decide to pursue full-time employment again?
  • How did you stay connected to the industry during time away?
  • Can you describe your freelance/consulting/independent work?
  • What lessons did you learn during this experience?
  • What soft skills did you work on during your time away?
  • How have you handled re-certification [if applicable]?

The job market changes with the times and requires flexible hiring managers who can see beyond old platitudes. For small businesses, the demands of hiring can be overwhelming. Considering employees with a resume gap requires thoughtful attention. ApplicantStack can help you organize and sort every resume so no qualified job seeker gets left behind.