Monday, March 09, 2009

How Many Layoffs Is Too Many?

I asked recruiters and human resources professionals on LinkedIn the following:

Recruiters and hiring managers, when considering a job seeker for a job opening, how many layoffs in a two-year span are acceptable? How many in a five-year span? At what point does it look like it might be the job seeker's fault, and, therefore, you don't want to take the risk of hiring him?

There are several answers worth reading. I'm posting here the answer I thought was most honest.

by Stu Needels, Regional Sales Practice Director, Mindcircuit
Honestly, recruiters and hiring managers are looking to mitigate risk. Generally, the top 25% of a company's workforce rarely get laid off. It is this group of top performers that firms want to pay a recruiter to find them. There are exceptions to every rule and today there are more downsizings than ever.

Having said that, two layoffs inside 3 years would typically be a red flag to an agency recruiter. Perhaps a corporate recruiter could afford to be more forgiving for difficult to find skills.

This was not the answer I was hoping for, nor am I certain it's the right answer. I tend to think each recruiter or manager has his own technique or formula for sizing up an applicant's work history, as voiced by the other responders to the question.

What's your view on this, as a manager, recruiter, or job seeker?

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