Job Seekers’ Qualifications Help Trump Work Status

Photograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A job seeker meets with a recruiter during the East Bay’s HIREvent on Oct. 8, 2013 in Emeryville, California.

While it’s still true that already having a job gives you a leg up at getting another one, new research shows the right qualifications can significantly improve the odds for the unemployed.

Across all applicants, 22.7 percent more of those already employed got ahead in the hiring process compared with unemployed candidates seeking the same job, according to an analysis run by job search start-up

When the pool of applicants is narrowed to include only those deemed qualified for the position, that advantage narrows to 11.9 percent, the data show.

“While the often-reported bias against unemployed job seekers may be real, it is much less severe than expected,” according to’s report.

That may be welcome news at a time 36.1 percent of unemployed Americans have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Filling open positions with people who are already employed reduces churn in the labor market, limiting the benefits of new vacancies.

A jobs report tomorrow is expected to show that employers added 185,000 workers to payrolls in November after a gain of 204,000 the month before, according to a median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

If born out, that would bring 2013 average monthly job growth to 186,300, the strongest monthly pace since 2005.

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