I am working as a career counselor on the leading online job portals since long. I have taken career counseling seriously to provide right guidance and helped them to achieve their career goals by employing my extensive knowledge, experiences, and daises with various human resource managers in leading brands, government organizations, enterprises, industries, and a range of businesses.
Therefore, today I am going to share a point of views of both ends involved in career or job industry on the subject of a career gap or work experience gap that seems unusual when it extends beyond a few months to a year or more.
Why a Career or Work Experience Gap Existing?
Whenever you see a career gap on resume or CV of an employee to whom you are going to hire, you must ask the question that why it happened to the candidate, as a hiring manager, and before it checks the written resumes or uploaded resumes online like on the LinkedIn.
Possibilities for a Career Gap
There is a number of possibilities for a career gap, and some are compulsory while some are voluntary. Similarly, the duration of career gap may extend up to a few months to one or more years depending on the reasons behind it.
The possible Compulsory Reasons I have found in jobs in Norfolk and jobs in Norwich on my job portal, which are:
- The long journey to spend a vacation or migrate from one location to another for some inevitable reasons.
- For women candidates, pre and the post-partum period up to bring up kids at an age that you can leave the baby on baby-care service.
- Prolonged illness like curable cancer, high diabetic conditions, TB, and some medical conditions where a long bed rest is essential.
- Partial and temporary handicap conditions including paralysis or an accident that requires long-term hospitalization.
- Natural and human-made calamities including earth quack, flood, hurricane strikes, riots, big social, political disturbances. These all might force people to either migrate to campus or other places that take a big recovery period.
- Recession or bad economy period, which compels even highly qualified candidates to leave the jobs and spend a considerable period of unemployment until they achieve an expected job or post on the desired location.
The possible Voluntary Reasons I have found on my job portal are:
- Additional or peripheral skill acquisition where candidates take a break and either start learning through recognized education institutions or take an online course and learn decent skills with own wits.
- Some candidates have long-term career goals and acumen to cope with coming challenges in the professional life by learning new and innovative technologies, tools, and techniques. To accomplish those, they take a break voluntarily from the ongoing career with hopes to get higher new position afterward.
- Some candidates feel depressed conditions after a long journey and seek a nap to get recover from it. For instance, writers, artists, actors, and some similar professions where such situations considered as a norm and accepted industry-wide.
- Some candidates feel exhaustive conditions or avoid hard work, and flee from it anyway. Instead of switching to the favorite or comfortable career they take a long break and depends on the income of spouse, parents, or other family members during the break period. These candidates are red flags for recruiters, and they consider them wreak or lazy ones who are refraining from doing hard work and remain as a failure in their career.
- Some candidates have an exhaustively long resume and a rich career journey where mentioning miscellaneous jobs or skills result in itching experiences for recruiters. Therefore, they leave mentioning those periods, and you see a gap in resume timeline or career.
- Similarly, some candidates have spent a timeframe to acquire skills, which are irrelevant to the current post they applied or title they designated to the CV. Thus, they simply ignore to mentioning those time-frames in the CV handover to the current recruiters.
How to Detect a Career or Work Experience Gap?
For some, it seems quite easy, and they prefer to ask the reasons straightforwardly to the candidates during face-to-face interviews. However, most of the smart recruiters who are carrying out interviews for jobs avoid the mess and resulting frustrations for the candidates and take indirect routes to reach the actual reasons behind the gap in CV or career path. Those techniques involve:
Exploring Personal Social Media Networking Sites
If you carefully examine the social media accounts of prospective candidates who are going to appear in the interviews, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter posts you can find clues for the following reasons.
- Candidates who have spent a considerable period in journeys, they used to have uploaded pictures or share videos of the places and delightful moments they have spent on various tourist or worth to visit places.
- Personal social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter are easily unveiling pregnancy period or post-partum period of a woman candidates, as most of the women love to share their heightened joys with friends and families on virtual media.
- Similarly, social media open up natural and human-made calamities, accidents, illness, prolonged or fatal diseases, and depressions like miserable conditions, which most of the candidates tend to share on the personal social networking sites either with mere textual updates or images of painful conditions/situations.
Exploring Professional Social Media Networking Sites & Profiles on Job Portals
Candidates who have applied for jobs on Just Norfolk Jobs are almost honest when they upload online resumes on the leading job portals and provide different skills on different profiles with different titles targeting different posts.
LinkedIn is a powerful and highly useful professional social media platform where the majority of candidates either prefer to share their professional life freely with less care or pretensions. Thus, by exploring the timeline on LinkedIn, checking the posts and activities/status shared by the candidates recruiting team can get clues of following hidden aspects of the CV presented by the candidates.
- Career gap or work experience gap that exists thanks to time spent by the candidates in acquiring skills those are not relevant to the post they have applied or forward profile with different titles/posts.
- If candidates have spent time on acquiring relevant skills but missed mentioning in the CV, which has forwarded to you that also unveiled by the professional social networks or job portals.
- If candidates have long-term career goals and they have spent considerable time to get experiences in practical or real-life or learnt the relevant skills, these all reflect on the professional networking sites and job portals.
- If a candidate is lazy and non-productive, you will see a career gap with no convincing reasons. Moreover, some bad remarks also become apparent on the various social network, if not on job portals. These all signs flag red and render the candidate useless for the recruiters, and they either avoid him/her calling for an interview upfront or ask direct questions to confuse the candidates and admit mistakes made by him or her in the past.
- Some candidates are greedy and changing jobs frequently to get salary hike with each new job. Sometimes they spoil their reputations by bad behaviors with employers/staff or spoil their rapports on job places mistakenly and got fired. In such mess ups, they try to avoid mentions of those jobs and try to hide their career mistakes from the prospective candidates. Thus, a career gap is existing, and some clues become apparent on personal or professional social media. It acts as a red flag for the respective candidate.
Ask Some Direct Questions to the Candidates in Interview Regarding a Career Gap
After an intensive background check, smart recruiters who are carrying interviews still prefer to ask direct questions and confirm their assumptions for a career gap based on the answer given by the candidates in interviews.
Those sweet and smart questions are:
- Why have candidates left the job before the career gap?
- How candidates feel about come back in career or employment?
- How have candidates enjoyed the gap?
- What are the long-term career goals of candidates?
- Have candidates learned new skills or acquired new qualifications during the work experience gap?
Of course, the present job market is highly competitive, and the majority of employers look for real talents in their respective fields. Therefore, they tend to ignore a career gap that not flag anything red, and upon satisfactory explanations by the candidates, they hire an employee with work experience gap.
Some gaps are productive like acquiring new skills or qualifications, which are highly welcomed by employers and results in good incentives or desired salary packs. As a career counselor, I am used to providing honest and right career guidance to the candidates who feel confusions regarding mentioning or not mentioning a career gap in their resumes. I also give useful hints to the recruiters who wonder whether they should hire an employee with work experience gap in smart ways.
Author Bio: Manya is Marketing & PR Executive for Just Norfolk Jobs and has been since October 2017. Manya has a vast amount of HR & Recruitment experience coupled with her local knowledge of the Norfolk & Norwich area.