Woman in a job interview

Why employers struggle to hire for jobs, despite the unemployment rate

Elizabeth Bromstein|

Sometimes it seems as though there’s a real disconnect between job seekers and hiring managers. Meaning that people claim to want to work, and people claim to need employees, and yet somehow millions of people remain out of work and millions of job positions remain unfilled.

A new infographic released by Smart Recruiters (via Undercover Recruiter) illustrates this problem quite thoroughly. I’ve outlined most of the key points below and added some insights. The survey is based on American data.

*Nearly 13 million Americans are unemployed, but 3.8 million jobs in the U.S. remain unfilled.

So, there are nearly 4 million people in there who should be able to find work. And while many of these jobs might not be highly skilled, a large number of positions are going unfilled for a supposed lack of qualified candidates. It’s been called the “skill crisis.”

*52% of hirers have decided not to hire anyone at all because they couldn’t find the right fit. Almost half of employers have settled for a candidate who is “just good enough” because finding the perfect candidate took too long.

These claims seem disingenuous, if not downright suspect. The reality in today’s job marketplace is that a large number of posted positions ask for a ridiculous number of qualifications that no one person could possibly be expected to fill. This is called “credential creep” and looks something like this:

Must have bachelor’s degree in English Literature, Graduate degree in mathematics, and an MBA and PhD, or equivalent.

At least ten years working in a related environment.

Proficiency in Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Omniture, Final Cut Pro, Autodesk, Excel, Access, Powerpoint, Netsuite, HTML5, ASP, XML, Java, C++, CSS, Python, Tai Kwon Do, Hostage Negotiations ARE REQUIRED.

Ability to create interactive prototypes, manage client relations, liaise with shareholders, sing a Bach cantata for countertenor.

Fluent in English, French, Chinese, Russian.

Five+ years experience with a software that came out three years ago.

Must be a team player!


*43% report that vacant job positions at their company haven’t been filled in the anticipated timeframe.

This is not shocking. These candidates they’re looking for don’t exist. And the added kicker is that they often want it all for a salary no one person should be expected to work for, let along the three people it would actually take to meet all their needs.

*Almost half of job seekers (47%) have chosen not to apply for a job because the process was “too lengthy or complicated.”

Here’s where it becomes clear that it’s not only hiring managers who are to blame. Yes, the process of applying for a job is lengthy and complicated. But why should anyone take a chance on hiring someone who isn’t willing to go through it? If you want an easy-to-get job, work at Tim Horton’s. If you want a job that requires more specific skills, you need to prove yourself. Nobody wants to hire a lazybones.

*Nearly half (47%) of respondents said they would be more likely to apply for a job if they could just send a link to a social profile rather than updating their resume and cover letter.

Oh yeah. These are the people I want working for me. Can you imagine how frustrating this level of laziness is to hiring managers?

It’s standard practice to cater your resume and cover letter to individual jobs. Otherwise, how will they know if you meet their criteria? And, anyway, what else have you got to do? When you’re looking for work, job hunting is your full-time job.

*Almost half of hirers (47%) prefer job seekers who are currently employed.

And we’re back to the trouble with hiring managers. The bias against the unemployed hurts everyone here, and doesn’t make any sense.

The take away: If hiring managers want to fill positions, and are having trouble finding candidates who meet their requirements, they might do well to take a good hard look at those requirements and see if they can make them more realistic.

And jobseekers need to realize that looking for a job is a job, and conduct themselves accordingly.

See how simple it is? Now let’s go out there and fill some positions.


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Category: Recruitment Challenges,
 
  • jordan684

    good article – love the fake job posting (it’s not far off some legit ones I’ve seen)

  • Sandra Weinstein

    Finally somebody who is saying it as it is. I was refused nemerous jobs because I had say 24/25 skills. RIDICULOUS!

    • Tami

      I’ve applied for jobs that I am 100% qualified for and still don’t get interviews so I have NO IDEA why they aren’t giving me a chance. I think it’s my name; it’s too white.
      Here in Toronto, young Asians with 3-4 unrelated degrees, don’t have the skills, and whose English is fair to good are getting the jobs that I am qualified to do.

      • Jane

        Its not your skills at all- its affirmative action, which is reverse racism. Trust me, alot of errors will be made due to people cannot understand them when they talk and cultural issues.

      • Lisa

        The reason they are hiring those young Asians is because they are working at very low wages which makes it very hard for the rest of us who want to get paid normal wages in order to survive. Also, you are right, it is because you are white. Companies have quotas to fill in hiring non- whites.

      • Bluejasmin

        I am quite surprised to read your comment. It reflects your understanding of the situation and poor judgement. I’m also an immigrant with qualification and experience. I had applied to maybe thousands of jobs but never got an interview. Frustrated I stopped looking for job and went to school to upgrade my so called obsolete skills from another country. Spent $30000 but even after that I never got a call for an interview. Was it my name? No it is not easy for Asians or new comers to get a job. It’s the organizations with unrealistic expectations. They want candidates with unrealistic skills so that they don’t have to spend money on training.

        • sunbeamcatcher

          try government – they do hire newcomers more than anyone else

          • Bluejasmin

            My point is how come I didn’t receive a single interview call even after acquiring “Canadian education?” My resume and cover letter were custom written for every job I applied.

      • Chris Desjardins

        Your right…

    • Shawn Perrin

      I saw a job post for the warehouse/delivery in a Salvation Army thrift store and they expected some college. Could you imagine? It’s not just a warehouse…It’s a dirty old loading dock in a tiny building. Get with it…

      • Jane

        They are not nice to work for not run by Christians anymore!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bobby-Monson-Douglas/1260592633 Bobby Monson Douglas

      I do agree with your 24/25 skills comment. HOWEVER, your comment
      ” I was refused nemerous jobs because I had say 24/25 skills. RIDICULOUS!”
      has 2 spelling errors. Could that be why you were refused jobs?!

  • Jenn

    They aren’t filling the jobs because they refuse o interview: get 200 applications, filter to 30 qualified, then only interview 5, and expect completely current references (which is problematic for people who left the workforce for family or illness). I haven’t been interviewed for jobs I held successfully or almost a decade. Why? Do I suddenly no longer know how to do that job? No, there is de facto discrimination against older employees (I am 50) or anyone with any kind of break in their résumé, including freelance and independent contracting or self-employment

    • Jane

      Everyone has breaks on their resume, this is canada! Unless you held a government job for life and were downsized!

    • Matt

      My recommendation would be to briefly explain what happened on your cover letter. The key reason that employers would hire someone without gaps is that it is very expensive to rehire if you should become ill or have to attend to family again. Remember the the employer is paying a good chunk of your annual salary to fill this role every time anyone leaves. You want to emphasize that you are looking for a long-term role and plan to continue working until retirement.

    • ld

      I am in the same situation as you are. In the last 5 months, I have applied for dozens of jobs, been interviewed for 4, hired for none. I find that employers are doing “job combining” meaning that not only do they want the ‘inside salesperson’ to do that job, but also to be the receptionist, file clerk, etc, For example, the title of the add will read as “salesman/receptionist/file clerk…” They want you to do the work of 3 or 4 positions (ie 3 or 4 people) but are not willing to pay the salary of even one of these positions .Also, employers do have absolutely unreasonable expectations when it comes to required or “MUST HAVE” skills. These skills can be taught on the job. Are employers not willing to train anymore ? They need to just take a chance and hire someone who maybe possessed the majority of these skills. They may find themselves to be pleasantly surprised.

    • ld

      Also, in addition to my previous post, regarding the number of jobs in a resume: When I started out on the ’90′s on my initial job search I was told to ‘build up your resume’. The more jobs you have on it the better. So I did that. Now the trend is to have only a few jobs on your resume (4 or 5), other wise it makes you look like a “job hopper”. I apparently have too many jobs on my resume, despite being in the job market for 23 years. Some of those jobs are short contract or temp jobs, which actually I am now told, works against you.

  • Ted Cumber

    My favorite advice is go with confidence fully prepared for any questions. You are not going before a judge for murder. They want you if you are confident in your own skin and abilities and/or willing and eager to learn.

    • Ahad

      Ahad
      I agree with the above, that do not be afraid and just be yourself. I remember, in one of my very first interviews in year 1999, I was asked that I do not have 5 years of Canadian experience, but I argued them and told them that if I was given the chance I would prove myself, so I did get the job. The most the would do is, that they will tell you that they will let you know once all applicants are interviewed . It does not hurt to be a little prepared and do your YouTube help home work. Good Luck

      • Ted Cumber

        Yes Ahad, I recently was asked to sit in on some interviews for my take on the ones applying. There were those who stammered and ummmed through the questions, those that professed to know everything, and those who were confident they could do the job, did the research on the company beforehand but wanted to learn more. Guess who got a second interview.

      • Jane

        YOu need to be canadian born to have canadian experience (and educated here!). This is what they mean by canadian experience.

        • Bluejasmin

          While inviting professionals in Canada, they should have written that in bold letters that “You should have Canadian education and Canadian work experience” before entering Canada. By the way can any Canadian make it clear what is “Canadian”?

  • Michael Gibbs

    To be fair, some application processes are unnecessarily complex, have online systems that are very poor from a usability standpoint, and wrought with technical difficulties. One consequence of this is that the company will miss many qualified candidates who would be a perfect fit. They may also mistakenly believe that those candidates are simply lazy.

  • martin f

    Brava! This is the first time i’ve seen any so-called career professional say anything like “The bias against the unemployed hurts everyone here, and doesn’t make any sense.” That sentiment must be spread far and wide.

  • Pierrette Brousseau

    Don’t forget – they want all of the above, for starvation wages!

  • Ann

    I have applied for 1-3 (sometime more) per day for the last 3 years and have only had a handful of interviews. I change my resume for every company I apply to. Sometimes I have all of the qualifications they are looking for and still don’t get an interview. I don’t know what they’re thinking.

    • Matt

      I would recommend you ask friends or family to review your resume and cover letter before you send it out. They may notice something you missed. For example, you could have a glaring typo you simply hadn’t noticed.

      • sunbeamcatcher

        or she is missing 5 years experience in the 3 year old software

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bobby-Monson-Douglas/1260592633 Bobby Monson Douglas

          HAHA!!!

  • Wanda

    credential creep eliminates a lot of people with years of experience who would do a great job if only given the chance

  • Andrew Scherbina

    It’s impossible to hire a good professional not being an SME or industry expert themselves, especially when Hyderabad resume factory is working at a full steam generating every second a new ‘Prince Charming’, to fit any imaginable job description for ‘American Corporation Making Everything’.

  • Andrew Scherbina

    Enjoy!

    • sunbeamcatcher

      hahahahaha!

  • Heather

    Unnecessarily Complex Application Process — to me it simply further illustrates the company’s/hiring manager’s NEED to have IT ALL yet only be willing to pay slave or very low wages. If they’re this demanding BEFORE I get the job, what are they going to be like once I’m in the position??

    Nightmare boss/company alert -> 5 pages of quizzes, two required essay responses, timed typing & data entry test (for non-administrative positions), etc., etc. MY TIME is as valuable as yours, so if you’re only posting a wage of $12 to $16 hourly, you’ll get about 5 minutes of my time that it’ll take to edit my standard resume to include your company name and the name of the position your advertising for.

    • Ellen

      I have to concur with this. A year and a half ago, I went through what seemed like Fort Knox to get into a company that required my expertise for just a six-month special work project. Horrific on-line application form where you had to submit a full letter as well, even though I’d just spelled all that information out in the application process, but still had to limit the number of characters to the letter, and also to the resume so you couldn’t quickly apply, all with a really unfriendly system. Amazingly, I got a pre-screening email then an in person interview offer. I went to the in-person interview which then was followed by having to write a “little” test right away, then I interviewed with a second person while they marked the test, and off I went after an entire morning. I then had a call back telephone interview because they had more questions for me and which asked all the questions that Workopolis says they may ask you, then after all that, I received an email offer for a contract job one month less than was offered in the original advertisement (sorry, it took them so long to find the right candidate that the length of time in the budget for the 6 month gig was gone so the job was shortened to 5 month project – it seemed dumb to quibble and I wasn’t in a place to argue so I accepted the job). To their credit, the extra month was later added in a new contract so I did work for 6 months total, exactly. It is why this particular company stays in the black because their budgets are strict, but honestly, I have never in my life been through EVERY stage that websites like Workopolis says you may have to go through. Now that I am back at it, I haven’t had that kind of ‘luck’ again

  • Jane

    Heres a hint. THere is no ‘perfect applicant”. You mould the person into that.

    • Matt

      Nobody’s perfect, but sometimes it does just work out. An effective training process can mold most applicants, but you still need some selection criteria. You can’t train a rabbit to be a lion.

    • Cheryl

      Absolutely, likewise, there’s no perfect company – that’s why improvement processes are ongoing. Overcoming mental or other barriers is a team effort!

  • Me Here

    MBA’s looking to hire MBA’s. Degree’s looking to hire Degree’s. Over educated a’Holes that have zero life experience doing the hiring.

  • Karen Kennedy

    Age discrimination is a big factor. I am 62 and not ready to retire. I have over 40 years experience and excellent references.

    • Matt

      That is what your cover letter is for! Nobody wants to hire an employee who will leave in 3 years, so state your intent in your cover letter.

  • Kate Shaw

    They aren’t hiring because they don’t know what’s next in the ObamaCare nightmare and whether or not they will still be in business by this time next year. Oh, and they don’t want to hire someone who (1) brings his Mommy with him to the interview; (2) plays with his Electronic Binkie — answering and reading email, texting, playing Angry Birds — the whole time he’s being interviewed; (3) smells like Marijuana.

  • http://about.me/davidalangay David Gay

    Why are so many job positions left unfilled? Unreasonable job requirements, even at the entry level position. To quote, word for word, one job advertisement from last month:

    “Must have 2 to 3 years experience behind a POS terminal”.
    (that’s the modern incarnation of a cash register. A cash register, for Chrissakes).

    It is possible to teach someone how to use a POS terminal in under a day, yet employers no longer want to take the time to train people on the job. That makes it tougher for young people and new immigrants with no Canadian work experience to get employment traction. This silly expectation makes it equally difficult for people like myself who are in the middle of a career transition. We all have to start somewhere!!

    • Matt

      The point is, they need someone with a POS terminal proficiency, and if you have that, I would apply anyways and just say so in your cover letter. There are many people who’ve worked as a cashier for 2-3 years.

      • http://about.me/davidalangay David Gay

        The point that I was making was it’s easy to train someone to be functionally competent in operating a POS terminal within a day. We are not talking about a SAP Netweaver instance that does require a tremendous amount of knowledge to maintain. Anyone can be trained to learn a POS but employers do not want to train anymore.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bobby-Monson-Douglas/1260592633 Bobby Monson Douglas

          “David Gay POS terminal”.
          Yes, David,
          You are correct in saying “A cash register, for Chrissakes”. BUT, in the drugstore where I work there are 3 different types of POS terminals. There’s pharmacy, store and Canada Post postal outlet POS terminals. So No, I guarantee it takes more than a day to learn all the functions on any of those. A grocery
          store, a department store and specialty store are probably different again.

          • http://about.me/davidalangay David Gay

            Bobby, I have a friend whose daughter applied for a position at Shopper’s Drug Mart as a cashier and, with no previous experience behind a POS terminal, was able to serve customers proficiently by the end of her first day. While you are correct that businesses are not all the same, not all of them have internal processes that are complex. We are not talking NASA control operations here. Most of the items sold through the register are pre-scanned into the store database through their UPC code, and there’s even one or two button programming for daily specials. If businesses gave people a chance to try to learn on the job for positions like these, they might end up with a valuable employee in their ranks.

  • Eslam Ghoneim

    and yet even for employed cadidates it’s harder to move to another job, always the cliché question, And WhyYou want to leave your current JOB? almost all answers, are not acceptable,
    * coz I want to add a new experience (employer: then you’re not good enough for the job … not enough experienced)
    * coz I’m not satisfied with current employer (employer: so you’re talking negative of your current employer … bad candidate)
    * coz I’m looking for a better salary or a better value of my experience (employer: you’re just looking for money so whenever you find someone paying more you’ll leave us)
    * coz I like more the big scale companies than the small scale (also not acceptable)
    whatever answer you give for this damn question it’s not accepted by an interviewer … so THEY DON’T LIKE EMPLOYED CANDIDATES AS MUCH AS THEY DON’T LIKE UNEMPLOYED CADIDATES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • sunbeamcatcher

      it depends on the organization – many hire from within and they ONLY like employed candidates

    • ld

      your correct – it could go either way, however I have found that the majority of the time (not ALL the time) employers do prefer currently employed candidates. Its pretty much the same in the dating world. If you are single, guys don’t want to date you. The addage is that ‘no-one else wants you, so why should I?’

  • Peggy O’Neill

    Many companies and job agencies use scanning and many times these scanners throw out good candidates, which hiring managers never see. I also agree, that is someone is unemployed for whatever reason, these candidates should not be refused outright. There are many reasons for people being unemployed. Better to look at their qualifications, “REAL” qualifications and experience and background than outright refuse to look seriously at their resumes and cover letters.

    • ld

      Upon being laid off last Sept, I had a few sessions with a career counsellor. He had informed me that an applicant’s resume may be tossed in the garbage if there are too many past jobs on it, as it makes the applicant appear to be a ‘job hopper’ (see my post above) regardless of your skills or qualifications.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bobby-Monson-Douglas/1260592633 Bobby Monson Douglas

    As Jane Tami said “alot of errors will be made due to people cannot understand them when they talk and cultural issues.
    Communication skills are the very most important skill to have that alot of minorities do not possess.”
    I work at a Canada Post postal outlet. We are seriously in need of a part time clerk. We’ve had a few people apply.
    SERIOUSLY, if we cannot understand the applicant, due to lack of English,
    Accent issues; Communication skills, etc… What are we supposed to do??!??

  • Efrem

    Try to upload your CV through Taleo.net, and you’ll get a message “Temporarily our system is not able to extract data from your CV, try later or fill in the form manually”. OK, I’ll fill the form manually, but I’ll say : they site is a crap!

  • Cybor

    Let’ s say that guys from the Human ressource have to (badly) justify their job. ;P

  • Carole Birker

    Like many who have written hereunder — I have applied for many job postings/offierings on various sites. I was called in for an interview and testing by two companies (have more than enough experience, perhaps too much), and the people from the two companies who interviewed me have not even had the decency to call me back to say, obviously, “no thanks”!

    • ld

      By any chance, were these Temp, or placement agencies? I went through a similar situation. I signed up with many agencies (about 10), did their interviews and hours of testing only to hear them say at the end of the session ‘we have nothing open right now’. I would never hear from them again. I need to add that I went into their office because I had replied to job postings they had just made and they called me for the interview.

  • Philippe Mckay

    the too length and complicated…at times refers to tim horton quality jobs…

  • DemonioAzul

    *43% report that vacant job positions at their company haven’t been filled in the anticipated timeframe.

    There is also another reason: HR has no into-deep knowledge of the job position. They only post whatever the hiring manager requires and pass along their filters only who complies 100% with that list… which is impossible. No one can comply with the kilometric requirement list. No one.

    *Almost half of job seekers (47%) have chosen not to apply for a job because the process was “too lengthy or complicated.”

    I am not lazy at what I do know how to do. The performance of someone cannot be measured by putting big stones in their way… WRONG CONCEPT!

    *Nearly half (47%) of respondents said they would be more likely to apply for a job if they could just send a link to a social profile rather than updating their resume and cover letter.

    Who’s lazy here? HR does not read any resumes anymore. They only pass them through a software tool to detect and find the key words the job position requirement list has. They should improve their searches at online websites, resumes that took HOURS to fill online. They require AGAIN to input my info in their HR website… then the next again, and again, and again… C’mon, HR people, move on to the next step!

    *Almost half of hirers (47%) prefer job seekers who are currently employed.

    Canada supposedly needs immigrants, right? Then why it is so freaking difficult to get a job here, even for highly skilled, qualified people? I cannot get a job if I don’t have a job… funny…

  • Sarah Johnson

    I can certainly relate to the notion that employers are asking more and more from individual for less and less pay. I am an executive assistant, with 13 years of experience. If I do not know a program, I will figure it out quickly, and there is little I can’t get done for my boss, and the team of executives I look after. I am looking for work as I know our office will soon be closing. It has been a while. However, the laundry list of items executives would be expected to do in some cases take up 2 pages of bulleted items. I think to myself, well, I suppose if I bulleted a step by step of how to drive a car, it would become lengthy too, so perhaps that is the reason behind employers needing to relay every single aspect of a position. I apply. I can have the job, but for anywhere from $5 to $10 dollars an hour less than I’m making now. Okay. Going forward I put my salary expectation on the cover letter. I believe something is terribly broken. I simply can’t work for those wages and still be expected to come to work dressed professionally (who could afford to buy the clothes?), and have the money for transportation to get to work after the bills are paid.
    My thoughts.

  • Annilisa34

    What is sad about this article is that even the fake advertisement is disingenuous if you read this article on the same website:http://www.workopolis.com/content/advice/article/canadian-employers-reveal-their-intentions-to-hire-and-the-skills-theyre-looking-for-in-new-hires/

    Top skill is “people skills/relationship building” but what those are are really a matter of opinion. I have great “people skills” if I’m dealing with someone slightly autistic, not so much with a psychopath. So basically, it doesn’t matter what you know, how good you are, whatever, as long as you resemble the person hiring you. I am white, English is my mother tongue, I easily pass for Canadian, but I’m not, and I am repeatedly asked where I was born. It’s all about “is this person like me enough I want to work with them.”

    The following “skills” – which are more personality traits -aren’t much better: communication skills? Isn’t that part of “people skills”? Leadership skills? In an entry level job? Whatever for? Do you really want that many leaders? Companies don’t know what they want, want too much, and let’s face it, considering Canadian productivity numbers couldn’t manage themselves out of a cardboard box. Credential creep is the least of their problems.

  • http://about.me/davidalangay David Gay

    I cannot make up stuff this ridiculous: an actual qualification requirement for a shipper/receiver position.

    http://davidalangay.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/stupidest-qualification.png

    http://about.me/davidalangay