Gone are the days when job applicants typed their resumes, wrote a cover letter, mailed it and went through the same process for the next job. Now, applicants can post their resume online, and in just a short session at their computer, they can submit their resume to 10, 20 or more jobs without even considering if they meet the job requirements. The result? Recruiters are buried in online submissions.
To counter the enormous influx of resumes, many from clearly unqualified candidates, companies have resorted to applicant tracking systems to cull the number of resumes by identifying keywords that must appear in the resume before an actual recruiter sees it.
Often, a company will receive 250 or more resumes for an open position. Their applicant tracking system will only allow about 25 percent of those to move forward, but are they the right 25 percent? While the numbers support the success of using these systems, when you dig a little deeper, there’s often a gap between the use of keywords and the actual skills required for the job. Just because an applicant’s resume is worded to “beat the system” doesn’t mean he or she is qualified.
Applicant tracking systems are increasing in use, and they serve a real purpose, but there are some characteristics that should be considered before purchasing and installing one:
- Make sure the system you purchase is mobile friendly. If it isn’t, you could be losing qualified candidates who move on to a more mobile-friendly application process at another company.
- Ensure that your system allows qualified candidates who aren’t hired to go into a recruiting pipeline.
- The filters in your system should not be too restrictive. For example, while an MBA may be preferred, a master’s degree in another area might be acceptable as well.
Many HR professionals see more value in a well-trained recruiter who can scan a large stack of resumes and sort them quickly into “unqualified,” “maybe” and “call for phone screen.” As job seekers become more familiar with the system, they’ll get better at presenting themselves as someone who uses the right words instead of someone who can do the job.