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Why Can’t Good People Get Jobs?

A recent interview between the Wall Street Journal and Wharton Business School’s Director of Management Peter Cappelli discussed his new book Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs. Over the scope of this short interview, he discussed his take on the perceived gap between employers who claim there is a lack of qualified candidates for jobs, and candidates who question why they have been struggling to land jobs they’ve applied to.

His main take on the disconnect underlying this issue is a lack of employers wanting to train prospective job candidates. Presumably, employers are having more difficulty in hiring candidates not because there are less academically qualified people in the market, but because companies are seeking to fill open job roles only with candidates who already have highly similar work experience in very similar companies. Essentially, companies want to do what he describes as “plug and play.”

Additionally, as companies add elaborate prerequisites that they expect candidates to already have, they render it vastly difficult for candidates who have only the academic background or have been unemployed for some time from getting a fair chance at being considered. Coupled with increased reliance on Human Resources application systems that filter out candidates based on resume terminology and selective filters, many capable candidates feel kicked to the curb.

To hear more about what Peter Cappelli thinks are the main three problems that companies and candidates should address to diminish the hiring gap, check out the interview.

Is their good news if we buy into Mr. Cappelli’s view? At least then we can be relieved that the symptom is not the diagnoses. Not facing a true “talent shortage” crisis, we can hope that a better matching of good candidates with open jobs will be efficiently achieved with a bit of targeted restructuring of the hiring process!



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