Unemployment- Best way to find a new job? Have a job now.

In a new Wall Street Journal article titled “Only the Employed Need Apply” has some interesting advice for potential job seekers. While the job market is most certainly titled in favor of employers, the article gives some advice to potential job seekers on the best way to find a new job- and that’s to currently be employed.

The article discusses the experience of management and HR representatives, and their strategies for finding the right employees during the current recession. Quoting one executive, “If they’re employed in today’s economy, they have to be first string”, emphasizing the idea that the best employees are the ones who have held on to their jobs, while others who have been shed may not be as ideal candidates.

This is unsettling advice for the unemployed worker, especially considering the fact that the nature of layoffs has been incredibly unpredictable, and that this philosophy does not take into account the state of the economy, which has forced businesses into unforeseen situations. These situations- like businesses declaring bankruptcy or closing factories, have put many out of work despite being outstanding, skilled employees.

Others who employ the tactics of targeting currently employed workers state that they do so to avoid a lengthy search in which many candidates are either over or under qualified for the position, and can directly search candidates would be a good fit in the position. This will cut down on weeding through the mass of responses employers get when posting job openings.

In any situation, this advice is counter intuitive, and does little to help the currently unemployed. What have been your experiences with finding work? Do you perceive a bias in employers for workers who are already employed?