Can You Ask Someone Why They Lost Their Job in 2020?

When looking through piles of resumes, searching for the perfect person to fit your team, you have an image in your mind. They are experienced: specifically, someone who has worked in the rental housing industry before. They have a driver’s license, so they can get to all the properties with relative ease. They’re energetic, with the ability to sell and schmooze with applicants and residents alike. They’re a problem solver, they’re timely, and their job history paints them as a dedicated worker.

Except recently. The resumes that pass your desk show more people who could have been good workers, maybe, but they haven’t had any experience the last few months. What happened to all those dedicated workers? What gives?

COVID-19 Unemployment

When looking through piles of resumes, searching for the perfect person to fit your team, you have an image in your mind. They are experienced: specifically, someone who has worked in the rental housing industry before. They have a driver’s license, so they can get to all the properties with relative ease. They’re energetic, with the ability to sell and schmooze with applicants and residents alike. They’re a problem solver, they’re timely, and their job history paints them as a dedicated worker.

Except recently. The resumes that pass your desk show more people who could have been good workers, maybe, but they haven’t had any experience the last few months. What happened to all those dedicated workers? What gives?

COVID-19 Unemployment

There’s a very large elephant in the room when it comes to being unemployed in 2020. In July, the unemployment rate was at 10.2%. Many people were hit hard by the pandemic, lost their jobs, and were not able to replace that income. The world stopped, and they were lost to the wreckage. Now as we begin to reopen, they hope to finally get back to their career.

If someone has a rather solid work history right up until 2020, there’s a good chance they deserve some leniency. Even a blind eye! They lost their job because of a worldwide pandemic, so did a lot of people.

There’s a very large elephant in the room when it comes to being unemployed in 2020. In July, the unemployment rate was at 10.2%. Many people were hit hard by the pandemic, lost their jobs, and were not able to replace that income. The world stopped, and they were lost to the wreckage. Now as we begin to reopen, they hope to finally get back to their career.

If someone has a rather solid work history right up until 2020, there’s a good chance they deserve some leniency. Even a blind eye! They lost their job because of a worldwide pandemic, so did a lot of people.

The Great What If

There is a chance that they didn’t lose their job because of the pandemic, just during it. That’s a real chance, and you may be thinking that. As you look across all the resumes piling up, you may wonder, which one just had some bad luck and lost their job due to the pandemic, and which employer used the pandemic as an excuse to get rid of someone they didn’t like. What if they were just bad enough at their job that they lasted a little while, and now COVID-19 is their cover story?

That’s all just speculation, and it isn’t going to help find the perfect person to join your team.  The important thing when hiring someone new is to limit speculation. The best way to find the new member of your team is to throw away guesses and remember the objective data. CIC’s employment screening doesn’t speculate but gives you the objective truth with reliable data.

If someone lost their job during COVID-19, it may be best to assume it was solely because of the pandemic. As an employer, it is not illegal to ask someone why they left their last job, but most likely, they will give a general answer in reference to the pandemic.

The Great What If

There is a chance that they didn’t lose their job because of the pandemic, just during it. That’s a real chance, and you may be thinking that. As you look across all the resumes piling up, you may wonder, which one just had some bad luck and lost their job due to the pandemic, and which employer used the pandemic as an excuse to get rid of someone they didn’t like. What if they were just bad enough at their job that they lasted a little while, and now COVID-19 is their cover story?

That’s all just speculation, and it isn’t going to help find the perfect person to join your team.  The important thing when hiring someone new is to limit speculation. The best way to find the new member of your team is to throw away guesses and remember the objective data. CIC’s employment screening doesn’t speculate but gives you the objective truth with reliable data.

If someone lost their job during COVID-19, it may be best to assume it was solely because of the pandemic. As an employer, it is not illegal to ask someone why they left their last job, but most likely, they will give a general answer in reference to the pandemic.

All in All

A person usually isn’t the sum of their time between jobs. When you interview, try a few questions to gauge what their experience is like and what skills they have gained along the way. Ask them what they learned at their last job, or what skills they have found most useful. Maybe give them a chance to elaborate on those skills, and if their job was made null by COVID-19, they can explain why the skills they gained at their last job could be useful to you now. You know what you need in an employee, and a gap on the resume isn’t going to tell you if this person has it or not. All in all? A little leniency towards a COVID-19 employment gap can go a long way.

All in All

A person usually isn’t the sum of their time between jobs. When you interview, try a few questions to gauge what their experience is like and what skills they have gained along the way. Ask them what they learned at their last job, or what skills they have found most useful. Maybe give them a chance to elaborate on those skills, and if their job was made null by COVID-19, they can explain why the skills they gained at their last job could be useful to you now. You know what you need in an employee, and a gap on the resume isn’t going to tell you if this person has it or not. All in all? A little leniency towards a COVID-19 employment gap can go a long way.

As a Property Manager

It’s just as likely those aren’t resumes you’re looking at, but applications to your property. As eviction moratoriums end, there’s a wave of people looking to move out and move in, specifically, to your properties. It’s possible that whoever is applying is using their Rainy-Day savings while they look for new work, or they’re a gig worker and fine expecting their next contract.

If that’s the case, you have the option to turn them down, as they don’t meet your criteria for the properties. You’ll just have to remember the balance: there are a lot of people moving because of a lot of evictions because of a lot of unemployment. There is a chance your property will be empty for a while you look for the most perfect resident.

As a Property Manager

It’s just as likely those aren’t resumes you’re looking at, but applications to your property. As eviction moratoriums end, there’s a wave of people looking to move out and move in, specifically, to your properties. It’s possible that whoever is applying is using their Rainy-Day savings while they look for new work, or they’re a gig worker and fine expecting their next contract.

If that’s the case, you have the option to turn them down, as they don’t meet your criteria for the properties. You’ll just have to remember the balance: there are a lot of people moving because of a lot of evictions because of a lot of unemployment. There is a chance your property will be empty for a while you look for the most perfect resident.

How are you handling Let us know in the comments below!

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Becky Bower is the Content Strategist here at the CIC Blog. She holds a degree in English, with a focus in creative writing, from CSU Channel Islands. Her biggest weakness is cake and favorite superhero is Batman.

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