Now, I don't deny that there are highly technical positions which require very specific areas of expertise that are hard to fill with good candidates. But what irked me about this article was the presumption that laid off employees are Damaged Goods. Not said explicitly, but certainly implied in many of the quotes including:
"...Of course, plenty of high-quality workers have lost their jobs, but recruiters say still being employed suggests stability - and ability" according to Katie Johnston Chase, author of the article.
'"There is a stigma with people who have been laid off, with good reason or not' Hux said. " (That is, Ben Hux, Director of Legal Recruiting at Boston Group).
The assumption is that laid off workers are not high quality people--and recruiters must go out and poach from other firms. This is an age-old bias that probably had some merit back in the days when layoffs were not as commonplace as they are today. However, it ignores several realities including: 1) Many people are laid off for purely business reasons, having nothing to do with skill or ability; 2) Many people who are NOT a part of a layoff, stay around for political reasons. Companies are notorious for keeping on low performers who "know the right people" and longevity does not necessarily imply being a high performer; 3) It is this very attitude--that laid off workers are damaged goods--that keeps companies from hiring really talented people who have been a victim of a layoff.
Whenever I hear these stories about how hard it is to fill good jobs in the midst of such high unemployment I want to laugh except for the fact that the discrimintion has such a negative impact on talented job seekers. And let's be real--if you are laid off after 50, good luck in finding a job in a similar position or compensation level. Age discrimination persists and as far as I can see its not going anywhere anytime soon.
We need to stop perpetuating this myth that the only good candidates are already employed. True, employed workers are more "stable" by definition--that is, they are "working", but they are not necessarily the most qualified for the job. Once freed of these biases companies will find there are many talented professionals available to fill their open reqs and these quality candidates are eager for the opportunity to make a contribution.