Despite the recent downtick in national unemployment numbers, there remain a high number of unemployed, underemployed and discouraged job seekers who have exhausted public assistance and have stopped looking. This latter group has ‘fallen off the grid’ in a manner of speaking and is no longer counted. It is estimated that should we count the total number of people in these three groups, actual unemployment would be well into double digits, perhaps as high as 15% to 18%.

Unfortunately, the very existence of these numbers has an exacerbating effect on the unemployment picture. How? They tend to give some hiring managers and HR professionals a false sense of the real supply side picture. Some employers interview very well qualified candidates, only to ‘want to see more’ before making a decision. What these employers often fail to grasp is high unemployment doesn’t mean the highly qualified candidate they are seeking is out of work or even willing to look. In fact, it is harder than ever to develop a full slate of qualified prospects as the by-and-large employed candidates sought aren’t secure enough about the state of things to make a move.

Some smart employers however, do recognize buying opportunities and are moving on highly qualified candidates caught in non-performance related downsizing actions. They are snapping up high value people before less committed competitors are responding. Their timely responsiveness is itself a competitive advantage, empowering them to secure the services of candidates that might normally be much harder to acquire.

Employers like this are to be commended for doing the right thing, not just for themselves but for the individuals they hire and the economy as a whole. As more employers realize a sense of urgency in the hiring process, we’ll begin seeing the economic recovery everyone is seeking.