WASHINGTON -- Isang Inokon, a headhunter for Amherst Healthcare recruiting firm, posted a Craigslist job ad on November 18 for clinical pharmacists -- but only the kind who already have jobs.
"Do yourself and favor and start looking now," he wrote in the ad. "When you lose your job, you will interview from a position of weakness."
With the U.S. unemployment rate still soaring at 9.8 percent and 6.3 million Americans having been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer, employers can now afford to be extremely picky about whom they hire. In addition to seeking very specific skills, degrees, and numbers of years of experience, many employers are specifying in job ads that candidates be "currently employed" elsewhere to be considered for the position.
Inokon, who has worked in staffing and recruiting for almost 15 years, said he has trouble placing jobless pharmacists because the reality of today's job market is that employers "want somebody who's wanted."
"When you show desperation in your face and your tone during an interview, management is going to pick up on that vibe. They're gonna feel it and see it and notice something's off," he told HuffPost. "It's like somebody who hasn't been on a date in a while -- they're awkward, and the other person's gonna be turned off. It's always better for a person to interview while they're employed."
The duration of a person's joblessness also seems to factor into to his ability to get hired. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the longer a person has been out of a job, the more unlikely it is that he will get a job. Just over 30 percent of unemployed people who had been out of work for under five weeks were hired on an average month in 2010, while that number dropped below 20 percent for those who had been unemployed for up to 14 weeks, below 15 percent for a jobless duration of 15 to 26 weeks, and so on.
With the job market so highly saturated with jobseekers, employers can openly discriminate against the unemployed and still be flooded with applications. Inokon told HuffPost that it's "not a luxury" for him be able to turn down so many highly-qualified unemployed candidates, because he sympathizes with them, but he has to respond to the specific demands of employers or they will find another staffing firm to do the job.
"It sort of pains me. These people, about two years ago, I was begging them to apply to jobs because pharmacists were in such demand. They were almost snobby in a sense," he said. "But now you have some great people who very humble, who are looking for opportunities, and I would have killed for some of these people at one time. But they're a dime a dozen now, and managers gets so many responders, they can just sit and wait for the most desirable candidate."