Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs

There are still lots of unemployed or underemployed workers out there, but many companies say they just can’t find the right employees to fill openings. What’s behind this seeming paradox?

To get some answers, The Wall Street Journal talked with Peter Cappelli, a professor of management and human resources at Wharton, who just wrote the book Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs. He argues that some companies are obsessed with getting people with the perfect experience and stats, so they end up with no one: “for every story about an employer who can’t find qualified applicants, there’s a counterbalancing tale about an employer with ridiculous hiring requirements.”

Cappelli also lays the blame on overly rigid screening software, which is rejecting people who might actually be qualified: “applicants rarely talk to anyone, even by email, during the hiring process,” so there’s no way to clear up confusion over experience, job titles, job-history gaps, or anything else.