The New Reality for Job Seekers and Employers in 2013

Unemployed WorkerAt the end of 2012, a large percentage of unemployed Americans lost their extended unemployment
benefits also known as Emergency Unemployment Compensation. This particular piece of legislation was enacted to extend the usual 26 weeks compensation offered by states and has been used by many people
to receive payments for up to 99 weeks.

While the program was hailed as a triumph from the working man, the fact that it will end so abruptly has been largely ignored by the government and most media outlets. With the lapse of this coverage, it
remains to be seen what the general impact on hiring and business activity will be, but one thing is for certain, a large number of relatively motivated workers will be reentering the workforce.

Motivation (or Lack Thereof)
It is somewhat ironical to call these workers “motivated” as many of them have procrastinated for as long as possible in their efforts to find work. Nevertheless, the looming possibility of moving back in with their parents, if not actual homelessness has stirred many of them to begin actively seeking a job.

Still, there are a significant number of highly skilled and professionally capable workers who would lend significant value to any business organization. In fact, by any standard, American workers are among the most productive in the world. It seems therefore, like an opportunity for most businesses that these workers are reentering the workforce.

The Quintessential Question
In their former working lives, there is no doubt that the vast majority of these people were formerly very good or excellent employees. Else, they would not have had a job that made them eligible for unemployment benefits. At the time, when laid off, most were probably expecting to find a job within the next few months. After all, state unemployment benefits only ran for 26 weeks.

In 2008, however, a sea change occurred and the Federal government guaranteed an additional 73 weeks of unemployment coverage. This fact allowed many of these previously productive members of society to rest on their laurels for almost two years. Now, the interesting question for employers is whether this lack of activity has made these people better or worse as potential employees.

The answer is undoubtedly a combination of both scenarios with some employees just milking the system for all it was worth while others continued to develop their skills while recharging their batteries. The real question for employers is how to differentiate between the two types of potential employees.

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff
The practical ramifications of the current situation means that there will be a significant influx of job applications by seemingly well qualified applicants. While many will tell the truth and some will hyperbolize a little, many will outright falsify their resumes and qualifications in the hope that businesses will not bother to vet the information.

As a company, a time of plenty is simply not the time to let one’s guard down. More than ever, a well-designed series of pre-employment tests, background screenings and personal interviews can allow you and your business to find the best and brightest to meet your exact business needs.

A small business owner or HR manager should take the appropriate amount of time to make informed and reasoned hiring decisions. It is a sad fact that such an important process may not always be convenient or even possible. Another, better solution, however, does exist.

Strategies to Make a Better Decision

While there is no pat answer for this issue, there are some proven methods. On one hand, a company can invest the significant resources necessary to develop its own HR department and thus identify the best new employees. The cost in time, money and aggravation to do it properly is considerable, however.

A major problem is that this solution is not cost-effective for organizations that do not need all of the services of a full HR department throughout the year. In short, in those cases, money is spent to maintain a full-time department for only part-time needs. Fortunately, for companies that recognize the value in outsourcing their human capital management needs, professional employer organizations (PEOs) can completely and cost-effectively meet their HR necessities.

The PEO Difference

PEOs are experts at recruiting, identifying and hiring the best candidates from among the many that will apply to your organization. The procurement of talented individuals is just the first step. In addition, PEOs can also help any business with the rest of their human resource needs to maximize the business’s investment in its people. In the simplest terms, the management of human capital is a PEO’s core competency and one that they can customize to meet the needs of your company. Consider using a PEO to maximize the benefits to your company when the new hiring paradigm of 2013 presents its golden opportunity.

Update: Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Extended to January 1, 2014

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