Why would you be better off staying unemployed until you can find a job as good as your previous one? The truth is taking a “bridge” job is not the smartest move.
To understand the factors that determine callbacks for unemployed job applicants, a team of researchers from Princeton University, Arizona State University, and the University of California-Los Angeles sent more than 12,000 fake résumés in response to almost 5,000 office jobs nationwide like executive assistant, receptionist, and office associate.
Each fake applicant had a four-year bachelor’s degree with substantial work histories and no prior spells of unemployment. The researchers found that applicants who showed that they had taken a lower-paying job that they were overqualified for like cashier or sales associate on their résumés were significantly less likely to receive a callback from employers.
While taking an interim job can help pay the bills and keep you busy until something better comes along, researchers say this could backfire and make you seem less qualified. Employers tend to reject applicants whose most recent jobs aren’t relevant to the ones for which they’re applying which is something else to consider.
This poses a huge dilemma for job seekers who are unemployed. While researchers will advise not taking a bridge job and simply looking to find a job comparable to the last one you had is difficult. But considering the stigma, holding out for another good job may seem easier said than done.
Although applicants could just omit the bridge job from their resume, this too can be risky and when it comes to the world of Human Resources, it’s a gray area that people are really on the fence about.