Here is my Friday story for you. I came across a business owner who was afraid to hire a much needed Guy Friday for his construction office. He was afraid he would pay a slacker, not a go-getter. While not everyone has the same work ethic as go-getters, this doesn't mean employees in general are slackers.
We ended up having a real nice conversation and this business owner was stuck on a story from earlier in the year. He kept sighting the surfer dude in California named Jason used food stamps to buy lobster. This guy doesn't work and lives it up on public benefits. The story outraged many and became a point of public contention for FOX News. You can watch their piece here: http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/08/12/watch-unabashed-surfer-receiving-food-stamps-buy-sushi-and-avoid-work
While there will always be lazy people who don't want to work and desire to cheat the system (surfer dude), you can't use one bad apple as the blanket rule for hundreds of thousands of hardworking people looking for work. Hiring someone with the mindset that because they have been out of work for a while - they are lazy or a slacker isn't fair. Many people are competing for jobs that don't exist anymore. A company may have been hit hard by the economy years earlier and can't afford 20 customer service reps. So, the company puts an ad out for customer service reps when indeed they are only hiring a single rep. How many people, who have been out of work for a year or so, do you think will show up for this job? Not all of them are slackers, either.
My point today is to remain fair when considering hiring people. A gap in employment doesn't mean the person was out surfing, eating lobster and racking in benefits. In fact, the opposite is usually true. Most unemployed people are seeking work daily, on a diet of peanut butter and jelly, and no longer have any public assistance.