In last week’s blog, I explained the reasons why Human Resource Departments, hiring managers, and recruiters use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and gave an overview of how most Applicant Tracking Systems work.
Despite their advantages, Applicant Tracking Systems screen out many well-qualified candidates. Most candidates submit resumes that are not optimized for ATS, with incorrect headings, formatting, characters, and wording. If a resume is not formatted correctly, solid skills and achievements in the resume may be ignored. In addition, a resume that is good for one ATS may not be good for another.
If a keyword, phrase, or requirement is not listed on the resume, a resume may end up rejected, based on ATS algorithms and government requirements, even if it is formatted correctly. Many ATS use automatic algorithms to determine keywords. These keywords may not really make sense for candidates to use in their resumes. It is possible for an ATS to find no qualified candidates if the wrong keywords are used, especially if the recruiter or hiring manager entered keywords that are too specific.
Some ATS now are trying to use neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques to overcome the lack of keywords in qualified candidate resumes, LinkedIn profiles, or other social media profiles. These systems, new to the market, still need development to work properly.
Myth: An applicant who networks can avoid ATS.
Reality: In 2012, 60% to 70% of all companies, big and small, used ATS according to Preptel (a reverse-engineering service to help resumes pass ATS; the company closed in 2013). Today that number is closer to 80%. ATS use is increasing. Recruiters scan paper resumes and place emailed resumes into ATS.
Myth: A candidate who uses ATS can avoid networking.
Reality: Hiring managers like to hire people they know or are recommended. A survey by HR Daily Advisor (2012) revealed that referrals are still the #1 recruiting source. Networking allows the hiring manager to select the candidate once the resume passes the ATS. In addition, if a hiring manager wants a particular candidate for a job, the hiring manager can change the job requirements and/or keywords to match the candidate’s background.
Myth: All ATS are the same.
Reality: ATS differ; there is no one-size-fits-all. Even ATS implementations differ within the same ATS technology. A hiring manager and/or company can choose to set different options in the system. Different versions of ATS software may act differently.
Myth: ATS can read all files, formats, and characters.
Reality: Some ATS can read only text or Word 2003 files. Many ATS cannot read tables or graphics. Some ATS cannot scan italic or underlined words. Many ATS cannot read special characters (such as accent marks, curly quotes, and ampersands) and will replace them with meaningless characters.
Myth: ATS can figure out where to organize all the data on the resume and can use all the information.
Reality: Many ATS need guidance, using headings, to determine where to put data. So good information gets misfiled and ignored. Many ATS use only information that matches their formatting rules.
Myth: It is better to have a 1- to 2-page resume.
Reality: ATS-optimized resumes, often longer because they have more keywords, generally score higher.
Myth: Passing the ATS alone will get you the job.
Reality: A human being will read the resume before selecting a candidate. Unless already known by the hiring manager, a candidate will need to be interviewed – probably several times – to get the job.
Myth: Companies are using ATS because they do not care about people.
Reality: Companies are overwhelmed, and the ATS is both effective and efficient in weeding out inappropriate candidates. In addition, if the ATS wrongly eliminates several good candidates for the job, companies are not worried as long as one good candidate remains. Moreover, the U.S. government requires companies to report EEO statistics, which the ATS compiles automatically.
Myth: ATS are unfair.
Reality: ATS deal the same way with all applicants. But with Robin’s Resumes™ to help you, you have a better chance to stand out.
Since most applicants do not know the ATS rules, they do not include the required information in the right format. At Robin’s Resumes™, I help job seekers by guiding them through the rules and ensuring they include the required information in the right format to be selected. Contact me today.