In my last article I pointed out that hiring managers and job seekers have several things in common. One is the rush to post the job or post the resume without giving it a thorough review and update.
Another thing they have in common is what I call the opportunity-limiting impact of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
Many companies and job search sites rely on applicant tracking systems to do an initial scan of submitted resumes to filter out those that do not contain keywords associated with the job. With HR departments receiving dozens of resumes for a single position, this initial step in the process can save a huge amount of staff time. Theoretically, the remaining resumes to be reviewed by HR and/or the hiring manager are only those that meet the keyword criteria.
But here’s the thing.
Although the ATS can help reduce the number of resumes HR and the hiring manager ultimately have to review, it may be filtering out some perfectly good candidates simply because they didn’t have specific keywords on their resume. Maybe they had the requisite experience or skill but called it something different. Maybe their resume (when scanned by the human eye) conveyed talent, behaviors or potential that could be a fit for the role but was rejected because it didn’t match the machine criteria.
This can be frustrating for both the hiring manager and the job seeker. The hiring manager is losing out on potential candidates. The job seeker who may have been an excellent candidate is eliminated because they didn’t have the exact credentials programmed into the system. This is especially true for people who are recent graduates or who are switching careers and may have a great deal to offer. Also, an ATS may reject a highly qualified candidate for reasons such as a differently formatted resume or other technical reasons.
So, what are hiring manager and jobs seekers to do?
I always recommend that whether you are looking for talent or looking for a job you leverage your network. Who do you know that might know someone who could be a fit for your open position? Or, as a job seeker, who do you know that might know of an opportunity for you? Reach out to you family, friends, colleagues, past workmates, and online connections. You never know what might turn up.
Also, all of the packages in my Career Coaching Services include work around crafting a resume and LinkedIn profile that addresses some of the issues with applicant tracking systems.