Career Warrior Podcast #303) The Big, Ugly Truth About Applicant Tracking Systems [ATS]
Contrary to popular belief, finding matching candidates through an ATS is not as simple as dragging and dropping keywords and comparing them to the job posting. There’s more to applicant screening than just analyzing resumes; knockout questions and filters embedded within the application form fields play a crucial role as well.
But here’s the ultimate revelation: ATS don’t actually eliminate candidates from consideration; it’s the humans behind the scenes who make the final decisions. We discuss the importance of getting your resume physically in the hands of a decision-maker (DM) and emphasize the need for a human-first focus in the recruitment process.
Join us for an enlightening discussion that shatters the myths and exposes the realities of Applicant Tracking Systems. Gain a deeper understanding of how ATS fit into the recruitment landscape and uncover the essential strategies for navigating this complex system to land your dream job.
Don’t oversimplify it. There are so many different ways to filter out and sort of candidate, just focus on writing a human-first resume and that will get you further along than anything. LinkedIn presents.
Welcome to the Let’s Eat, Grandma Career Warrior Podcast! This is episode 303, the big ugly truth about applicant tracking systems. I’m so excited to be doing this episode because I know a lot of you job seekers, even 2023, are still confused about applicant tracking systems. And even looking at LinkedIn, there’s a lot of myths and things that are not necessarily true. These things are being perpetuated throughout the job seeker community. And so it’s my goal here to do my research and make sure that you understand how applicant tracking systems work, as well as how to, “get past the ATS.” I’ll discuss really what I think that that means in a bit here. But I want to launch into this episode just giving you the down and dirty truth about applicant tracking systems. So without further ado, this is episode 303 of the Career Warrior Podcast.
Alright, here is the big, ugly truth about applicant tracking systems. People are oversimplifying the recruitment process way too much. That is the truth. People are oversimplifying how applicant tracking systems work, they’re oversimplifying how hiring managers will make decisions about our resumes. And for that reason, there’s a lot of blanket advice about the ATS that I just don’t really like and I think it’s confusing job seekers. I think it could perhaps be slowing down the job search process. So we’ll dive into what those myths are, and I’m not going to necessarily go into how to quote “beat the ATS” that much in this episode, we’re going to have a future episode perhaps in the next few weeks on how to get more targeted and quote, “get past the ATS.” But this episode really should give you a better understanding of how the recruitment process works. And in particular, how applicant tracking systems filter organized sort through our resumes as we’re sending them out to job postings.
People are oversimplifying the recruitment process and I get this all the time. From the simple question, “how do I get my resume passed the ATS?” or “how do I make sure that my resume doesn’t get thrown out by the ATS or the applicant tracking systems?” And again, seeing some of this echo chamber advice that I’m seeing on LinkedIn, there is no single applicant tracking system or single method in which recruiters or hiring managers will filter out candidates or filter out resumes. And I think that’s really important to note just because there are so many different types of applicant tracking systems out there, which means that there are many, many different types of ways to filter a candidate using such software and a crash course and ATS. All it is it’s a simple way of tracking and sorting and organizing candidates as they apply for specific job postings.
If I’m a company and I’m looking to hire somebody, I can rest assure that I’m going to get more than like a handful of candidates if I’m putting out my job postings online. I spoke to someone the other day and they said that they received 1,500 applications for a job posting that this recruiter put out. And so how the heck do I how do I begin to organize and store through these candidates are through the technology through applicant tracking systems? There is a system out there called bullhorn there is Taleo, there’s Zoho, and there is even using LinkedIn as a way to organize and sort through candidates, the list goes on and on with the different types of software that somebody can use. And again, with that, comes different ways that I can sort through candidates. If I’m a recruiter, I may have a particular style or way of searching for candidates. And there may be no particular key word that even I tend to choose. I think it varies per person again, and it varies per applicant tracking system.
Now I’m not trying to confuse you, I’m not trying to tell you that this isn’t a game that can be played. Again, we have an episode about applicant tracking systems and how to integrate keywords coming up and a little bit. And I’ll give you some advice at the end of this episode even on how to make sure your resume gets seen. But I think it’s really important to note that there are so many different combinations of ways that an ATS can be used that people need to stop giving blanket advice on how to get the resume “filter” past these systems.
And it’s not just the resume that brings me to point number two, I want to make about applicant tracking systems. It’s not just your resume that it can be something that’s making it to where you’re not seeing as you apply for different job postings. There are application form fields that you can fill out for job postings, there are questions that you can actually answer in these job postings that will, “filter” or “knock you out” of the application process or put you outside the consider candidate pool here. So, I’m not telling you to fill and game the system in a way that, for example, let’s just say for instance, the job posting is asking for experience within Salesforce or HubSpot CRM, just to have that: “Do you have experience within these two platforms? Are these two pieces of software?” Yes, no, could be a way of knocking you out of the candidate pool. And I’m not saying to put “yes,” because somebody’s going to eventually read through the lines and see that you don’t have that experience if you don’t have it. But what I am saying here is it’s not just the resume that could be knocking you out, it can be the actual application form fields. And it can be other things beyond just the keywords that you integrate within your resume. So again, don’t oversimplify the process. There’s not one single applicant tracking system, there’s not one single part of your application such as your resume that can be “knocking you out.”
And so this brings me to my third point about applicant tracking systems. This is the myth that I want to kick in the butt and make sure that it goes away forever. Bots are not responsible for the decision to bring you in for an interview or to give you the job offer. At the end of the day, humans are the ones who are responsible for the decision on whether to move your application forward or not. I think that’s really important to note, because folks are trying to game the system right now. They’re trying to answer questions, as I mentioned earlier in such a way that might get them quote past the ETS, but at the end of the day, the resume is going to get knocked out, and you’re not going to be brought in for an interview, if you were just trying to game the system, and you’re just trying to, “get past” the ATS because humans are going to bring you in for an interview. And it’s not the bots that do the decision making, at least not yet. That would be a very, very, very bad day when that happens. And I hope it never ever happens. But still, in this day and age, a lot of the process is driven by human decision makers of recruiters and hiring managers here.
So now that you know how this works, and you have a better understanding about how applicant tracking systems work, I’ll give you just some tips here before concluding this episode here. Get your resume physically in the hands of somebody who can make a decision, I think, especially for folks who feel discouraged by saying things like, “Oh, I’ve applied to, you know, 100 or 150 different types of jobs, and I’m not getting any sort of responses.” Yes, a lot of it is the fact that your resume might get screened out for whatever reason, and you are competing against, you know, hundreds if not thousands of other applicants. But the best way to move your job search forward is to talk to people, conduct informational interviews, and network like the slow game. This is really what people think of like, that takes way longer to apply for a job but ironically, in reality, this will move your job search so much faster. If you can physically get that resume in the right hands. It’s something I’ve always advocated for, I think it’s important to note.
The second thing is to have a human first focus when you are writing your resume, don’t make it don’t keyword stuff. Don’t just write from the perspective of integrating different keywords in your resume. Yes, you have to take that into consideration. You have to make sure that you have certain keywords in your resume and make sure that it’s targeted. But if you don’t have a let’s say, a visually appealing resume that has good command of the English language, or whatever language you’re using to apply for a role. If you don’t have a visually pleasing resume that showcases your accomplishments and results, then you don’t have a good resume and no amount of ATS keywords gaming or just optimizing your resume for the ATS is going to get you that dream job. So have the human-first focus and physically get your resume in the hands of decision makers. And I guarantee you this will speed your job search along and you’ll get a better job. This is how I feel. And this is just what I’ve seen through the years of having this resume service and seeing what works.
Yes, keywords are a thing that’s not a myth at all. You need to make sure that you have, like I said, keywords integrated tactfully in your resume was just watching a Bullhorn tutorial on how to use Bullhorn it’s a pretty cool piece of software. A pretty good ATS and there is a feature called matching candidates in which you can drag and drop certain keywords, and it will actually suggest keywords to use to search for a candidate. And so yes, you do need to make sure you have these properly integrated within your resume and though that’s not a myth, but again, don’t oversimplify it. There are so many different ways to filter out and sort of candidate, just focus on writing a human first resume, and that will get you further along than you think.
So this wraps up episode 303 of the Let’s Eat, Grandma Career Warrior Podcast, a short and sweet minisode about ATS myth busting. Do let me know what you think about this podcast episode by connecting with me on LinkedIn and commenting on the newsletter that will, of course, post probably this week, any newsletter that you find interesting, or any newsletter in which you have a question about feel free to comment on it and tag me in that comment. I would love to personally respond.
So thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the Career Warrior Podcast. I had so much fun, and I’ll see you next Monday live Career Warrior Podcast and before you go remember, if you’re not seeing the results you want in your job search, our highly trained team of professional resume writers here at Let’s Eat, Grandma can help head on over to letseatgrandma.com/podcast to get a free resume critique and $70 off any one of our resume writing packages. We talk all the time on the show about the importance of being targeted in your job search and with our unique writing process and focus on individual attention. You’ll get a resume cover letter and LinkedIn profile that are highly customized and tailored to your goals to help you get hired faster. Again, head on over to letseatgrandma.com/podcast. Thanks and I’ll see you next time
Transcribed by https://otter.ai