The Unemployed vs. the Employed Candidate

Recruiters routinely tell us that companies don’t pay them to find unemployed candidates. Recruiter Wayne Mitchell told the Career Thought Leaders at our conference last week that he requires 6 references from unemployed executive candidates and they are checked before the candidate is ever presented.

A recent Wall Street Journal article was entitled “Only the Employed Need Apply.” And a recent article in Fortune asked, “Will being unemployed wreck your job hunt?”

There is no question that the unemployed CFO or Finance Executive has a more difficult path to the next opportunity. Not impossible, but definitely more challenging. Your value to a prospective company must be clear, compelling, and far outweigh the black mark of unemployment AND you need to move away from the job boards and into the real world … which includes the world of social media.

Conversely, in his post “Good headhunters search for living resumes,” Nick Corcodilos (Ask the Headhunter) said this:

Good headhunters aren’t looking for keywords. They are looking for key people, in places like discussion forums where the best and brightest are talking shop. Good headhunters look for substance, and for the gurus that others turn to for advice. They target those discussion leaders as potential candidates. It takes a lot more than keywords to get the attention of good headhunters, who are looking for complete sentences and proof of skills and reputation.

And Wayne Mitchell also said this … Linked In is no longer an option, it’s a MUST!

So … are you showing up as people of influence in the places recruiters are looking? Or, is it your keyword-rich resume that is showing up?

If you’d like to know more about the effects of social media on your finance career, join me at on April 12 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern for my webinar, “Social Media and Your Career: Why it’s Important and What you Need to Know.”

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4 thoughts on “The Unemployed vs. the Employed Candidate”

  1. Cindy,

    Related to this topic, I mentioned in a blog post [6 Things Real CFOs Do Not Do that Real CFOs do not apply to job postings.

    It is my belief that a great company that is looking for a Real CFO will be looking only for the best candidates, and best candidates are hard to find – they do not apply to job postings.

    It may be difficult for an unemployed CFO who is looking for a job NOT to apply to a CFO posting. Applying to jobs postings is NOT effective job search. They are just kidding themselves that they are looking for a job, while in fact they are just wasting their time.

    Finding a job requires real work.

    Samuel Dergel, CA, CPA
    Senior Partner & Practice Leader, CFO Search
    Website :

    • I couldn’t agree more, Samuel. Besides being ineffective, it forces CFOs to be all things to all people rather than having the strong positioning of understanding their strengths, values, and clear target market. Finding that next position is very hard work! Sitting in front of a computer firing off a resume to a posted position isn’t hard work. Frustrating. But not hard.

      Thanks for reading and for posting!

  2. Help Wanted With an Asterisk (or do you have blond hair?)

    People say hiring managers are so fussy now that they only want candidates who are working. I agree. They are fussy, but they are completely off kilter and trying to regain their balance. If a candidate had blond hair – the hiring manager would say “We were looking for someone with dark hair” and the opposite is true. I know people who are employed AND looking to make a change – it’s not any easier for them.

    Helen Rosen
    President and Founder
    Direct Approach Solutions


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