Can Your Address Affect Your Job Search?


In the Region that I work in, there are pockets of residential neighbourhoods that are more desirable than others. The converse statement to be made therefore is that there are less desirable neighbourhoods than others. By association then, are people who reside in the less desirable neighbourhoods prejudiced against by some employers when they apply for employment simply by being associated with the stigma of living in a certain area?

You might feel that the best person should get interviewed always, and that where someone lives shouldn’t ultimately determine if they even get an interview or not, but it does happen, and some employers are very upfront about their preferences for people who live in certain areas. Did you know that?

I have in the past met people who presented extremely well both in their desire to work, attitude and their background combination of experience and education. In trying to determine what is someone’s major obstacle to employment, I’m used to trying a number of different strategies with my clients. One such strategy used not only by myself but others is to omit the address altogether on a resume or CV and just go with the person’s name, phone number and email.

The result sometimes has been securing an interview using the above strategy when contrasted with using the full address. And in my own case, I currently drive kilometers to get to work each day, driving in from a northern rural community to an urban metropolis; you can bet there are some employers who would prefer hiring staff who are going to live and work in the same city centre over fears of attendance concerns. Still, every year I’ve got myself an excellent attendance award.

Is it somewhat irrational for a job candidate to be discriminated against because they live in the poorer part of town? Isn’t it unfortunate that someone might be labeled as probably lazy, a thief, or a security risk just because their address is in a high crime rated area? That logic – and logic is a bit of a stretch – would also mean everybody in those wealthier neighbourhoods or low crime areas couldn’t possibly be corrupt when in fact no area is entirely immune from criminal activity or people who might make poor choices as employees.

Now a valid concern for an employer might be how you are going to get to and from work dependably. If that is their concern, it may be based on past experiences with other people who have been initially good hires, but had to quit or were let go because they just couldn’t get to the workplace on a daily basis on time. Take the person who doesn’t live near a bus route and relies on public transportation. Or worse yet, the person who does live near a bus or subway stop but the employer is located 5 miles from the nearest transit stop. That’s a logical and reasonable concern for an employer to pose.

One of the most frustrating thing for someone who is job searching is trying to figure out what it is that is adversely affecting their employability. After all, if you can figure out what your employment barriers are, then you are well on the way to being able to address those concerns. Some things are much easier to address than others; a poor resume, needing to take a specific course to compete, updating your wardrobe. How can someone be realistically told by a potential employer however that they’d stand a much better chance of getting an interview if they’d move? Yeah that sounds pretty unreasonable and blatantly discriminatory.

It seems to me that in a tight economy, especially over a prolonged job search where money is going out much faster than it is coming in, that people are looking at cheaper accommodation in an effort to reduce expenses. Sometimes, the natural consequence of those kinds of pressures is moving to apartments and units that one might not wish to be in, but it becomes an economic necessity. The hopes almost always for these people is to gain employment, increase their income and relocate back to the kind of lifestyle and accommodation which they previously enjoyed. That would appear to be sensible instead of trying to live way beyond ones means and being evicted.

Oh and one last thoguht about the exclusion of an address on a resume. I’ve also seen this done in cases where a person is fearful of their ex-spouse who may have friends working at a company the person would like to get a job with. If it’s a large company and they wouldn’t be even in the same department, it is hoped that they may not even bump into any mutual friends. So one reason they give to exclude their address is in the event someone should work in a position to see their address and pass it along to the ex-spouse. Sure that’s a breach of confidentiality and could result in the person losing their job, but the applicant hiding their address is more concerned about being found, beaten or worse.

You may have your own reasons for concealing your address or your own stories – positive or otherwise. Share your experiences and your advice, as others might benefit.

Have a good day during your job search.

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5 thoughts on “Can Your Address Affect Your Job Search?

  1. I am not surprised that there are employers who won’t hire someone who lives in a certain area. I think this is a very good reason for keeping your address off you resume and not revealing it in LinkedIn or other social media sites as well. As the unemployment rate goes up it seems employers come up with more and more discriminatory reasons for not hiring people.

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  2. My question is, won’t employers be less inclined to interview if they don’t see where you live? Doesn’t that ambiguity create a question in ethics and transparency?

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    1. Excellent question Mr. Big Time. Actually there is no question of ethics or transparency because there is no obligation to disclose one’s address on a resume. You might be asked that of course in an interview and should then fully disclose your address, but by then the resume has served its purpose, and you can alleviate any misgivings they may have with your answers and how you have sold yourself up to that point.
      Just yesterday I helped someone from one city apply to a job in a neighbouring city. The phone area code was identical, but by holding off on the street address, the applicant avoids being overlooked as too far away and unreliable.

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      1. Thank you kgmitchell for the quick reply.

        How would you handle finding a position in another state? I’ve been having a tough time being about 1,000 miles away from my desired location. I toyed with the idea of leasing a room in that other state and getting a driver license there, and using that newly leased address. I’d welcome your feedback on this subject.

        Many thanks.

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  3. You can reach me at hobbitzaboo@hotmail.ca
    In such as case as you describe, the employer is likely to either hire you and expect you to move or have their reservations about your willingness and availability to move and go with candidates applying closer to the workplace. Personally, I’d move there if you are determined to live in that desired location and then job search. Your job prospects will grow.
    By the way, I have only ever worked and lived in the same town once. I drive 95 km to work one way each day and have done that for 12 years. Once before I drove 2 hours one-way to work (4 hours a day in the car) and won exceptional attendance awards for both for many years.
    it is critical to demonstrate and prove your reliability and willingness to relocate if hired if you don’t move.
    Many companies will interview by Skype or phone if they are large enough, and then expect you to be there for a personal interview. You could fly, drive, etc. and make a trip of it if you have family combining a vacation with the interview.

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