Automated Job Rejection

rejectedFinally someone speaks the truth about U.S. employers claiming they just can't find people for job openings. Wharton Business School Professor Peter Cappelli has analyzed why employers dare to claim they cannot find people to hire when the United States has over 27 million people needing a job.

There is no skills shortage, none. In fact employers are being absolutely ridiculous in their hiring practices. It's so bad, employers use software and third party rejection job application websites, which pretty much guarantee a candidate will be rejected. These websites and software are like virtual wastebaskets for your resume. No human involved, it's automatic, guaranteed rejection. It's so bad, an HR executive applied for his own job and was rejected.

A Philadelphia-area human-resources executive told Mr. Cappelli that he applied anonymously for a job in his own company as an experiment. He didn't make it through the screening process.

Another factor that contributes to the perception of a skills gap is that most employers now use software to handle job applications, adding rigidity to the process that screens out all but the theoretically perfect candidate. Most systems, for example, now ask potential applicants what wage they are seeking — and toss out those who put down a figure higher than the employer wants. That’s hardly a skill problem. Meanwhile, applicants are typically assessed almost entirely on prior experience and credentials, and a failure to meet any one of the requirements leads to elimination. One manager told me that in his company 25,000 applicants had applied for a standard engineering job, yet none were rated as qualified.

Below is an interview with Professor Cappelli on the real problem with employers these days. It is not that people are lacking skills, it is employers have impossible requirements.



We've written about this many times, so it's thrilling to see a Wharton School Professor amplify the insanity.

A 2011 Accenture survey found that only 21% of U.S. employees had received any employer-provided formal training in the past five years.

This is so obvious it hurts. If employers really wanted people they would train them. That's what employers did right up until the 1980's or so. By 2000, companies wanted instant ready disposable workers.

Cappelli is hitting the press. The truth is employers do not want to hire U.S. workers, Americans. In some cases employers do not want to hire anyone at all, they think it's cheaper to leave positions unfilled!   Hopefully this time some employers will wake up, realize to grow a business, one needs people. Maybe some will actually train some people.

The challenge will be getting top leaders of organizations to admit they are a big part of the problem, and to change their ways. Software can be coded so it is less restrictive. Leaders could pay higher market wages where necessary. And they could make more investments in training. That costs money, to be sure, but so does leaving jobs open that could be of significant value to the company (not to mention the economy at large).

Judging from employers’ initial reaction, however, that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. After writing the initial Wall Street Journal story, Cappelli heard from a few corporate leaders who told him there was really nothing they could do. He suggested he’d come out and take a close look at what they’re doing. “Nobody ever takes me up on that,” he says. “That usually shuts things up pretty quickly.”

We can only hope this time, some executives will actually listen. We've often wondered how many billions are wasted on automated screening software and absurd job requirements. Some of our personal favorites are engineering job ads. Many require more years of experience than a particular technology has been in existence. Pretty interesting, to qualify for a job, one should claim they have 12 years of experience with a technology invented two years ago?



We've known this for years now - Americans are screwed

Americans can serve overseas, get all the degrees they want, bust their asses, work harder and harder for less and less, and still it's not enough. Meanwhile, the pigs in the boardrooms and the halls of power keep making it harded to survive, but will blame us when we are homeless and begging for welfare pennies. We have traitors guarding the gates accepting bribes to allow our enemies to destroy us through laws and business practices. And when we dare complain, we are seen as troublemakes who should just shut up and disappear. The USA - brought to you by corporate boardrooms and their whore politicians that admit they don't serve American citizens. At least Benedict Arnold served his country honorably for some time before he betrayed it - these folks never did.

Yes! I have met this insane

Yes! I have met this insane cyber selection process and it is an impassible fortress.

I originally wrote and posted this on a foreign expat website forum overseas, in a country where such automated anonymity is completely unknown and wholly unimaginable. It's real and it happened to me. ....I didn't get the job....

[copy and pasted from my original posting]

"I am in the job market. I have been filling out online job applications. In the US it is well known that computer scanners go through online applications looking for 'keywords' used by the applicant, the use of which will move the process forward, the lack of use of such keywords will kill the application. The online applications are timed as well, and include *personality* tests.

So I get through Round 1 online application. I am contacted by a company computerized robocall to get in touch with a toll free number and include a certain job identification code. So I did. At this toll free number I reach a voice recognition system which asks me a few questions--press 1 for yes and 9 for no--and advises me the call will be forwarded to a representative for a telephone interview. I wait.

A real person connects! She says her name is Beth and the interview may be monitored for quality purposes and she will ask questions and enter my answers. She says she is not allowed to chat with me but that there may be some delays as she types my answers to the questions. "Describe a team project you have worked on and the results of that project."

I'm thinking....over a lifetime of work history.....I can hear Beth breathing....

and I begin babbling something about working together under difficult circumstances to bring a project to successful completion before the expected finish date (hoping to hit more keywords)--and some crap--and she has other such robo-monotonous "How would you respond if...." blah blah blah. We finish. She says goodbye.


Is this what America has come to, robointerviews, and keyword associations and remote voice recognition conversations with computer programs?

This will not end well. You cannot run a business or a country (full of humans) on algorithms and binary codes and expect a rosy outcome.

I am sad for us all."

The original forum post elicited some interesting replies to my experience, including an invitation for a radio interview!

spread it around

I can tell you just the address of a foreign country probably screens you out. Assuredly there are "beat the robo auto job rejectors" HOWTOs out there, although I haven't investigated.

Bottom line, I find it truly absurd, especially for STEM jobs and consider that all just black hole, completely rude and irresponsible to the applicant. This is also what happens when one lets HR, who frankly have no clue on what exact type of skills are required for advanced positions, be in charge of hiring.

The people in charge of hiring should be the manager of the group with HR simply pushing the paper work and doing the other checks, after someone is personally identified as a candidate.

It's also another example of the lie perpetuated by these corporations out to flood the labor market with more foreign guest workers,various manipulations of the immigration system and offshore outsource.

If there was even anything close to a skill specific labor shortage, there is no way they would be using this virtual automated resume wastebasket.

Anyway, spread this post around via social networking, maybe if it becomes a large enough issue, the insanity will stop. Have to try anyway.

Perhaps I should clarify that

Perhaps I should clarify that ~I am in America~ applying for jobs, and that the expat website is overseas.

(the dead giveaway should have been the toll free number and press 1 business, none of that can be accessed from foreign countries).

I was just trying to illustrate for the foreign expats how good they have it working in this foreign country as the USA has lost it's mind completely since they've been gone.

P.S. The company that online timed and keyworded me and connected me to a toll free robot was....



Home Depot.

Ten dollar an hour job.

Less is more

Yes, as a former recruiter, I have seen this problem. Consider this: part of the "problem" when senior execs claim there are not enough qualified applicants is that they really mean, "there are not enough qualified applicants at the lower salary and benefit levels we would prefer to pay." Lots of 50-somethings trying to get into jobs intended for 30-somethings from a pay perspective. Age can easily be inferred from education dates, job history. Experience, knowledge not as important as cost. Also, the qualified applicant claim is a convenient way of not having to discuss uncomfortable issues about a stagnant economy (uncertainty in policies, regulation, capital availability, etc.).


Tens of millions of Americans, AMERICANS, your fellow citizens, that paid income, and sales, and income taxes, and worked alongside YOU at the PTA, are literally dying! Depression, suicide, no medical care for their kids with cerebral palsy, MS, juvenile diabetes, leukemia, etc. Their husbands have cancer. Their wives have cancer. They don't have jobs, you pay to help them for a bit until their unemployment insurance completely wipes out and then they die or disappear. And yet the folks that caused these NATIONAL DESTRUCTION AND MASS UNEMPLOYMENT AND DEPRESSION skate?! Really? So that they can buy yet another house? Another yacht?

PISSED YET!! You should be! If you have a conscience, you really should be!!!!!!!
Bogus foreclosures, like Wells Fargo, that just caused another suicide, everyone who signed off on that nightmare is PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE! Everyone from the bottom to the CEO who signed off on every single piece of paper or caused some BS delay is responsible.
Bill Gates wants another H-1B visa while firing a Microsoft employee that paid $100,000 for a degree and has a wife with cancer? PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR LYING TO CONGRESS.
Every Congressman that lies while accepting bribes from banksters and corporate boards? Personally responsible!
You kill or cause the deaths of thousands of your fellow citizens? You are RESPONSIBLE! Deal with it!
An SS guard just minding the gates at Dachau? I didn't know, not my fault. Nope, not quite, DEAL WITH IT! 90%+ of America wake up! WAKE UP NOW!

The real problem is management is incompetent

and depends on technology to screen applicants.

Around 78% of the problems a corporation faces is that management is not trained to do their job correctly and have to be dependent on technology to do their job. The hiring process means using management skills to interview and screen people for possible jobs. Instead some web site is used and requirements are set so high that it screens out most if not all of the applicants. Yes they enter low salary requirements on purpose to justify having to raise the H1B Visa hiring cap, who work for lower salaries as well or to justify offshoring work to other nations.

We got tons of qualified people with college degrees and experience. Yet somehow management adds stupid requirements like 10+ years experience in Visual Studio 2010 and MS-SQL Server 2008 when they haven't yet been out for 10 years yet. Nobody can qualify for that! Someone posts they have 10+ years experience in Visual BASIC 6.0 and Visual BASIC.Net 2002 and MS-SQL Server 2000 but get rejected because it is old technology but they could easily learn and adapt to Visual BASIC 2010 and MS-SQL Server 2008.

You have to remember that management does not want to train people to make them more valuable, because they are cutting expenses. management also rejects debugging and quality control as being too expensive and release bad quality products and services. So when they bleed money due to poor quality they downsize the only employees that can help them restore the product and service to better quality, the IT department. Just assign an employee a mentor that is more experienced, but no they don't want to do that either. Cut out analysis and design phases and fire programmers who do that. They end up with recent college graduates earning minimum salaries and doing crap quality work for little to no benefits and once they earn too much get downsized and replaced with another.

Re: The real problem is management is incompetent

Very true. I have seen the steady spiral downwards working for several companies since the late 90s, through the 2000s until being laid off in 2009 and going free lance. Now I see it all across the spectrum of every type of American business.

As more and more automated programs were put in to put our skill sets into little boxes by the HR department in the mid 2000s, we protested (even while employed) but they carried on saying it would make us more flexible to fill other posts around the company (in the end it made you "easy to replace by someone cheaper who sounded on paper like a good copy of you" .. and we all knew that was coming, normally by someone in India.

I remember saying "Ok I can have English as a skill - but it doesn't mean I could write like Shakespeare - how can you tell who is a GOOD writer of code and who is a BAD writer of computer code if all you know is that we both write the same language ?" - where is the part where you judge the quality of someone's work and HOW they program, HOW they use that skill/knowledge to do their job ? Impossible to quantify that into little boxes. And you have American businesses getting worse and worse and worse. They will continue to get worse. Management are mostly bum kissing idiots - the manage by terrorism strategy of American business is what makes it this way. Middle management will never tell upper management anything that might get them fired. And up the food chain it goes. The blindest persons are closer to the top.

Europe is starting to be influenced by American business models. Let us hope the American models keep spiraling downwards very fast, so that Europe stops implementing these "strategies" before it is too late for businesses here too.