Business students will be debating that one long after the economy breaks out of its doldrums. For now, there's evidence on both sides. While it's true that low-skilled factory workers don't know the first thing about software engineering, many businesses simply lack the urgency to hire anyone - even folks who are qualified for the job. Why? Because in a weak economy, "most companies worry less about getting every possible dollar of new business than they do about keeping costs down," writes the New Yorker's James Surowiecki. That's why a company can receive thousands of applications for a single opening and end up not hiring anyone. Here's more (subscription required):
When employers really want to fill job openings, they place ads, hire headhunters, and screen candidates, quickly. When they don't care too much, they're much more passive, relying more on word of mouth than active recruitment. They raise job standards and they screen applicants slowly. That's the world we live in. According to an index developed by three economists in 2010, "recruiting intensity" is still nearly twenty percent lower than it was before the recession hit.