Career gaps – a plus or minus on candidates' CVs?


With the shortage of people to fill jobs, there’s never been a better time to reevaluate your recruitment strategy. 2018 is the year to question your biases. As an interviewer, are you trying to recruit someone like you?

Katherine Wiid of Career Ambitions writes:

All interviewers have some degree of bias (albeit often unknowingly). We are likely to look for candidates that we ‘like’ or get along with, rather than someone who will actually be brilliant at getting the job done. 

You might have a degree from a top university, a solid work history with no career gaps. Realise that you’re unusual in today’s world of work! Our job market is uncertain and unpredictable, with redundancies more common than ever. The UK’s workforce is also no longer prepared to choose between career and family responsibilities. They want both! 

Taking these job industry shifts into account, it’s inevitable that a large percentage of people of employable age are going to have faced a career gap (whether due to redundancy, health, family, or other). And career gaps are often an instant red flag for recruiters. By instantly disregarding candidates with career gaps, you are writing off a huge pool of talent. 

If you’ve never been sold on career gaps on CVs, here are a few things that might surprise you: 

  • Candidates who have had a career gap are more likely to be adaptable. They can embrace change, and face challenges head on.
  • Career gaps often allow people to reflect on their career. Are they in the right job? Consequently, their application is likely to be well-considered and thought-out.
  • How did that candidate use their career gap? Often these are used as an opportunity to further their development, whether that means training, learning or personal. Life experience can be just as valuable as work experience!
  • Candidates coming out of a career gap are more likely to be committed. Having taken time out, they’re usually more motivated, fresh, full of ideas and ready to get stuck in. 

If you’re still not convinced, why not think about introducing ‘job auditions’ into your recruitment strategy? When given the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and experience for a few days, candidates who have been out of work may surprise you. 

By embracing the above opportunities, you’ll open up your organisation to a pool of talent that you may previously have consciously or unconsciously overlooked. 

If you’re struggling to attract top talent in 2018, speak to Katherine Wiid. Katherine works with career professionals going through career change and advises companies on their recruitment and retention strategies to keep abreast of rapidly shifting job markets.


Based in Cambridge, Career Ambitions has a strong reputation for enabling highly-trained and talented individuals to get through major career change, redundancy and/or indecision to realise their career potential and meet their ambitions.

Career Ambitions