When did job competence stop being a requirement for continued employment? You would think, with the unemployment rate being as high as it is, it would be easy to get competent people in jobs, especially those that don’t require advanced degrees or specialized training. But not so.
My recent experience in purchasing a home is a prime example. The contract itself had eight – yes, eight – addendums to correct oversights and mistakes. Everything from the misspelling of names to incorrect zip codes. The title company evidently didn’t realize they lacked all the required documentation until one business day before closing, causing an 11-day postponement (which, by the way, wreaked havoc on my life). My realtor, well, let’s not even go there!
I am familiar with the Peter Principle – the theory that everyone advances to their individual level of incompetence – but these were entry-level positions, for Peter’s sake!
In Competence without Credentials (March, 1999), Laurie J. Bassi – Vice President, Research- American Society for Training and Development, used the following statics (gathered by Aon Consulting and the Society for Human Resource Management, The 1997 Survey of Human Resource Trends Report) which help prove my point.
Percent of firms that rated competencies as “weak” among non-management job applicants:
Dealing with Change – 44
Problem Solving/Reasoning – 43
Creativity/Innovation – 42
Communications – 41
Basic Skills (reading, writing, math) – 38
Interpersonal/Team Skills – 37
Work Orientation – 37
Technical/Business Skills – 36
Surprise! Forty-one percent communicate poorly and 38% had difficulty with reading, writing, and addition! These results have led me to conclude that there must be a secretive new set of criteria today for landing that perfect job. Here are my top five suspects:
#1 – My dad plays golf with your dad.
#2 – I have pictures of you with Bouncie Barbie at the Landing STRIP.
#3 – I was Miss (insert name of your state here) 2009.
#4 – I’m in a federal work program and the government will subsidize 20% of my salary.
… And here’s my personal favorite for all those hard to fill positions …
#5 – I can fog a mirror.
I guess I wasted all that money on college – Who’d have thunk it?