In February, I took to The Leader Board to discuss a study that found more workers itching to pursue their own entrepreneurial endeavors as opposed to “traditional jobs or careers.”
Now, new research suggests employees striking out on their own may find doors closed to them when seeking re-entry into the corporate world.
According to researchers from the University of Vienna, the Munich School of Management and Erasmus University Rotterdam, entrepreneurs and freelancers attract fewer interview invitations than comparable job candidates with recent corporate experience. In the United Kingdom, the researchers found the self-employed receiving nearly two-thirds fewer interview requests compared to similarly qualified applicants who had worked exclusively for large- and mid-sized employers.
This finding may seem a bit counterintuitive, given how much HR is said to prize self-starters with the ability to think independently, innovate and take calculated risks; common traits among those with an entrepreneurial streak.
But, researcher Philipp Koellinger, associate professor of economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam and study co-author, has a possible explanation for why the self-employed may—fairly or unfairly—be getting the cold shoulder from hiring managers.
“My hunch is that many entrepreneurs would actually not fit very well into established organizations, although they may be very productive and able managers themselves—as long as they don’t have a boss,” said Koellinger, in a statement. “Employers may attach that stereotype to everyone who was self-employed.”
Interesting theory. And if there’s any truth in it, then a lot of would-be entrepreneurs walking away from the office could have a tough road back if their plans don’t work out. On the other hand, there may be just as many hiring managers shutting out a segment of the job-seeking population that could be a tremendous asset to the workforce.