It never occurred to me that some companies would discriminate between hiring a candidate who is already employed, and one whose status is unemployed. Adding fuel to the frustration of many laid off workers, it appears that more hiring managers are stating a preference for the former.
It's discouraging to learn that some employers only have eyes for passive job seekers. Ryan Ross, a partner at an executive recruiting firm, explains, "If they’re employed in today’s economy, they have to be first string." OK, so I could see how this line of thinking might pertain to top-tier execs who command the highest salaries. But according to The Wall Street Journal, "the bias extends from front-line workers to senior manager." Ouch.
For tips on how to overcome this bias,
Ross indicates that despite the unforgiving economic environment, employers fear that applicants were let go because of poor performance. To help your case for employment, he suggests gathering "strong letters of recommendation from your previous employer, stating that you were laid off for economic reasons and that you are 'eligible for rehire'." If you're unable to get these formal letters, make sure you have solid references from your previous company that are willing to speak with potential employers.
What do you think about the pattern of employers showing preference to candidates who are already employed?