SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

October 13, 2012

Online hiring systems frustrate applicants

(Continued)

Cappelli says the software often is inflexible and can’t determine “all the different ways that somebody might be qualified” for a job. Instead, he said, candidates are asked a series of yes-or-no questions designed to find someone who’s already doing the precise job the employer is trying to fill.

“It explains why employers feel that there’s nobody for them to hire, even though any objective observer would say there are hundreds of people who could do your job,” Cappelli said.

For Skibinski, a 36-year-old Army veteran who switched careers in 2006 after being laid off as a field engineer and project manager in the lottery industry, the computerized job-application process is full of stumbling blocks and frustration. He said his status as a veteran hasn’t helped him.

In the past couple of years, Skibinski has applied for graduate assistantships, entry-level planning positions, jobs at Wal-Mart, Target and Starbucks — anything to bring in a paycheck.

The result? Either no response or a rejection note, even when he met all the minimum requirements.

After he applied recently for a planning position at a government agency, an emailed reply said, “You did not meet one or more of the experience requirements and are therefore considered ineligible at this time.” He tracked down an HR representative and talked to her about his background, and she agreed he met the requirements, Skibinski said.

“That’s when she said they can’t interview everyone,” he said. “She could not tell me specifically why.”

Melanie Woodfolk, a 34-year-old Parkville, Md., resident who was laid off in April when her position as a marketing manager at a Baltimore publishing company was eliminated, said she’d always been able to find jobs quickly.

Now, after months of online job hunting, she’s still looking.

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