It’s critical to understand the process employers use to evaluate your resume.
Today, you’re more likely to get an interview if you understand that company’s hiring process than if you’re the most qualified candidate. Sounds like understanding the process trumps qualifications these days.
It’s common knowledge that large companies use applicant tracking systems – they’ve been doing it for years.
Many of you are under the misconception that applicant tracking systems don’t apply to you. You’re thinking that smaller companies and non-profits don’t use ATS – Wrong. Government and schools review every resume they’re sent – Wrong. Actual humans read all applications sent to Healthcare organizations, doctors’ offices and hospitals – Wrong.
Most of today’s employers use applicant tracking systems because:
- Average of 1,000 applicants per advertised job: Employers get an average 1,000 applicants for each advertised job. A journalist recently published that he advertised the very type of job he was seeking on Craigslist and got over 650 applications in the first 24 hours. Plus, there are 50,000 job boards out there. Job boards have made applying for a job so easy and quick, that many apply for jobs even if they don’t come close to meeting qualifications – hoping the employer won’t notice they don’t meet minimum qualifications or that they’ll turn up in a search for another job with the employer.
- Government Compliance: The Patriot Act, had a major impact in how employers have changed hiring and incorporated applicant tracking systems into most hiring processes. This law, passed shortly after the 9/11 attacks, was so far reaching, that it changed hiring processes of companies, professional services, non-profits, government, education and healthcare.
- Declining costs: As costs continued to drop, more and more employers incorporated ATSs into their hiring processes. Some applicant tracking systems are free, offered by job boards as a business promotion. Today, even Mom and Pop businesses use Microsoft Office for the basic tools in an applicant tracking system.
With this many competitors employers can’t read each one individually – most employers have only hired enough HR staff to read just a few percent of the resumes received. So, employers use applicant tracking systems to pre-screen, selecting just the candidates whose resume has the exact words to match search criteria.
Even small employers average 500+ applicants per advertised job, as evidenced by the journalist’s Craigslist study.
Most of us don’t think of the Patriot Act as affecting hiring – it was about keeping us safe from terrorists. But the act required employers to keep copies of passports, social security cards and green cards of each new employee. The Patriot Act also empowered the Department of Labor to randomly audit employers, making sure hiring practices were in compliance with all federal laws. The act also put teeth into these audits, which the DOL promptly showed, closing down a few companies that didn’t pass.
This changed hiring processes permanently, as company owners, banks and investors realized they couldn’t allow the risk of federal shutdown.
So employers adopted some additional best hiring best practices, specifically to protect themselves to make sure they passed DOL audits. In order to show that they used objective criteria to choose which who got interviews, more and more employers starting using applicant tracking systems.
They aren’t just for the big guys anymore.
Applicant tracking systems are used by the majority of employers today, employers of all sizes (large and small), in all industries, professions, at all levels, profit, non-profit, government, education, and healthcare. ATSs are used to evaluate candidates in all industries, for all job functions, and at all levels.
If you think applicant tracking systems only apply to someone else and don’t apply to you … you’re wrong.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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