Should Job Candidates Explain Their Resume Gaps?

Q. Hi Liz, can you ask your readers to explain their résumé gaps more fully on their resumes?
We see so many résumé gaps in the resumes we receive. It’s good to know what the person was doing during that time off work.
A. If I were applying for a job with your company, there are lots of things I would like to know about you and whoever else runs the organization.
I would like to know what your past employees think about you.
I would like to know if you’ve ever been accused or found guilty of wage theft, sexual harassment or discrimination.
I would like to know whether you are a good person in your life outside of work.
We could go on and on.
I would like to know all kinds of things about you, but I understand that I can’t get that information and that a few interview conversations with you are my only chance to figure out whether or not I want to work with you.
Why is your desire to know what I was doing during my employment gap any different?
During that gap time, I wasn’t working, so we are talking about my PERSONAL LIFE.
Why on earth would you think that what I do in my personal life is any of your business?
We need to change our mindset toward recruiting.
A candidate’s personal life is their business.
It is not an employer’s business what someone was doing when they were not working.
Your focus should be on their work experience and the quality of their thinking, not how they spent their time when they were not employed.
If someone won the lottery, they might take some time away from their career, and who could blame them?
If someone was part of a startup that got sold such that everyone got a big check and the ability to walk away and take a break, would we say that story is a prospective employer’s concern?
Some people take breaks to take care of family members or mind their own health.
It has nothing to do with their ability to perform a job.
The answer is not for candidates to explain their résumé gaps in their résumé or on their LinkedIn profile.
The right answer is for employers to stop obsessing about employment gaps in the first place.
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