Consultant, Unemployed, Whatever

4

A word of warning from Career Hub:

Here’s the issue: executive recruiters at two separate events I’ve attended in the last 90 days have said that they aren’t interested in presenting any candidate who has “consultant” on his resume to account for their time while job searching. Even more, they said that writing “consultant” is just a cover for being unemployed. When asked pointedly why they wouldn’t recommend a consultant for an internal executive position, they said that consultants were too used to working for multiple companies and that they wouldn’t stay.

Okay, now that’s got to be a little discouraging. We’ve already noted at length that the unemployed are being passed over by many hiring managers primarily as a means of thinning the the herd. Now we can add to that recruiters culling out anyone with “consultant” in their resume.

Let’s examine the reasons for excluding consultants a little more closely.

1. “It’s just a cover for being unemployed.” Great, so now not only is unemployment a sufficient cause for denying someone a job, even the vaguest, most unfounded suspicion of unemployment is.

2. “Consultants are too used to working for multiple companies and won’t stay.” I don’t know, shouldn’t the length of time a consultant has been with a particular consulting company be the real indicator of potential longevity? Consultants do project work for various vendors. If anyone who does project work for various vendors is a bad hiring risk, it looks like we can now cut a lot more people out of the potential talent pool.

Like the list of stupid ideas believed by bad companies that we looked at yesterday, both of these reasons sound more like lame excuses than sound business practices. Yes, both recruiters and hiring managers have a lot of candidates to consider when trying to fill a position. But setting up bogus filters such as these can’t be the answer. Sheesh, no wonder people are paying for fake backgrounds.

Maybe finding a way to filter based on qualifications and job fit would be a better idea?

4 Comments

  1. 2014-09-11 22:32:12

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  2. 2011-04-25 15:56:30

    Hey Will -- I address your questions in my latest post: http://www.transparencyrevolution.com/2011/04/conspicuous-gaps/

  3. 2011-04-21 13:24:26

    Question for the commentariat (and you too, Phil :))- Given the growing acceptance of blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc, would a period of job search/unemployment be better or worse legitimately documented as being an effort at a freelance writing career on a website in place of the "consultant" tag? This would include writing and self-publishing "scholarly" "paper(s)" on career-related topics. There's risk in any action, but demonstrating one's depth and breadth of career-related knowledge strikes me as being less potentially objectionable than an alternative identifier. Of course, it has to be said that you could prove your ignorance instead. :)

  4. 2011-04-21 13:11:26

    I suggest there exists an unmentioned distinction; does a given resume list a period as "consultant" or employee of a consulting firm? Anyone can claim essentially any experience on a resume. Differentiating between those claims that are independantly confirmable from the rest strikes me as arguably being the recruiter's minimum effort at due diligence. Isn't that what employers pay such agencies to provide? This story seems to me to overlook the complexity of context arising from contrasting objectives involved.

  5. 2011-04-21 07:31:18

    Wow! Whatever happened to it being considered a sign of being a self starter?

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