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Should You Hire Someone with an Employment Gap?

All managers are on the lookout for “the perfect employee.” Unfortunately, such a candidate doesn’t exist, and even if they do, you can’t count on finding a unicorn in your particular realm.  No matter how impressive a job prospect looks, they’ll have something in their background that gives you pause. One such potential hiccup is a gap in employment – a hole in a candidate’s work history. And for some hirers, it can be a dealbreaker. 

But should it be? Before you discard the application of someone who hasn’t worked in three months, six months, a year, or longer, check out these scenarios in which employment gaps are not only acceptable but could even make a candidate more attractive. 

The Applicant Took Time Off for Personal Development 

In an ideal world, we could work and learn simultaneously. And while it’s true that internships, apprenticeships and similar opportunities make it possible for some to “earn while they learn,” it’s also true that many current jobseekers have, at some point, taken time off from active employment to dedicate themselves to personal growth. This could take the form of finishing a degree, doing post-graduate work or developing specific skills they need in their chosen profession. 

Why it’s not a dealbreaker: Knowledge is power, and a candidate who has devoted time to education could be a particularly valuable employee. In addition, a candidate who has commitment and follow-through to complete a course of study can also prove to be a reliable employee. 

The Applicant Was Attending to Health Issues 

Job candidates are protected by law from having to divulge personal details about their health. If, however, you ask about a gap in a candidate’s resume, you may learn that they took some time off to deal with a personal health issue. This could be anything from a cancer fight to a mental health reset. The interviewee may also elect not to say anything more than “I had a health issue. It’s resolved.” 

Why it’s not a dealbreaker: A jobseeker who has taken time to focus all their energy on healing shows a commitment to well-being. This speaks to reliability and self-awareness – two desirable traits. 

The Applicant Was Supporting a Family Member 

Work-life balance has emerged as an urgent concern in today’s workforce. And while many employees have become adept at staying engaged at work and present at home, some family matters are so serious; they require a worker to put their career on pause so they can take the steps necessary to hold their household together. This could involve solving a family problem or starting a family altogether. 

Why it’s not a dealbreaker: A candidate who has consciously decided to stop working and invest time in their family has experience in prioritizing and making tough decisions. The fact that they’ve again made an intentioned decision – this time to relaunch a career – signals they are committed to being a valuable employee. 

Mega Force Is Here to Meet Your Needs 

If you’re ready to take the next step in your search for talent, contact Mega Force. We help employers throughout North Carolina connect with dependable candidates. Whether you have a specific pressing need, or you’re just wanting to give your current recruiting efforts a boost, start here to learn more about what we can do for you. 


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