Today’s Job Market: What’s the Real Glitch?

Not sure how many of you out there are faithful Wall Street Journal readers, but for those that missed it, there was a very thought-provoking article published yesterday by David Wessel that discusses the role computerized resume scanners now play in the modern hiring process — and the repercussions this development has created on the job market, as a whole.

You’ll find the article here.  And if you have time, make sure to read some of the 200+ comments posted below the article itself, which raise some great points and deepen the conversation immensely.  I even laughed out loud at some of them.  The WSJ attracts some witty commenters, it seems, and there were a few running tussles in the discussion thread that reminded me a bit of the old Jerry Springer show.

At any rate, this article chronicles an important debate we need to be having as a country, echoing some of the themes I had discussed in one of my Seattle Times columns a while back, here.

Whenever I ponder this question in depth, myself, chickens and eggs come to mind.  Is the problem that we don’t have enough jobs in this country?  Or that we don’t have enough qualified workers with the right talents to fill those jobs?  Or that we DO have enough qualified workers, but the newfangled screening technologies and HR practices at many companies aren’t flexible and open-minded enough to recognize this reality?

If you’re between jobs at the moment, I have a strong hunch you’ll find yourself leaning toward option #3 above.  And I wouldn’t blame you one bit.  But I truly think all three of the above realities play a role in the mix and that this confluence of factors has led to a “perfect storm” of sorts, contributing to the sluggishness of the economic recovery.

So give the article a quick read, when you get the chance, and let me know your thoughts.  Given the various “camps” of folks (e.g. job hunters, HR professionals, recruiters, hiring managers) who follow my blog, I’d love to hear your own personal perspective on this issue and where you think the root of the unemployment problem really lies right now.

Just scroll below to the “Leave a Reply” box and weigh in, at your convenience!

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “Today’s Job Market: What’s the Real Glitch?”

  1. great article….there is more and I recently covered it in my blog:

    Is Your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or Resume Scanner Legal?

    http://johnspeoplethoughts.blogspot.com/2012/02/is-your-applicant-tracking-system-ats.html

  2. Paul: You’d hope so, wouldn’t you? 🙂
    Price: While you’re right about most jobs being filled through word-of-mouth vs. published want ads, I still think the points raised in the WSJ article are significant ones — and that even when job candidates are introduced to a company via networking, there’s an unfortunate tendency for companies to want “perfection” instead of recognizing a person’s true potential or able to learn/adapt to a position. But yes, it seems that resume scanners and certain closed-minded HR screeners present a greater part of the problem, overall. Thanks for chiming in!

  3. Matt, an interesting article for sure and perusing the reader comments provided some comic value as well. For instance, the guy who put all the keywords in for experience in his resume but it he actually didn’t have that particular experience he colored the text white. I have my doubts that it actually spoofs the resume reading software, but give the guy some creativity points.

    In regard to Taleo, resume screening software, et al, it is suboptimal at best, but I’m still ready to make a friendly wager that most jobs aren’t found by responding to internet job postings. Most are found the old fashioned way – networking and hearing from someone that “I hear that XYZ Company is looking for someone with your background.”

    Am I right or wrong on my theory?

  4. This article points to being thoughtful about key words in your resume and you (Matt) have been great at pointing this out. I don’t think screening software keeps a job unfilled as the hiring manager is going to want to get a person and is not going to accept, “no one qualified” to leave an approved position unfilled.

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