January 28, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Leading career site Quintessential Careers unveils report examining issues presented by Applicant Tracking Systems and how job-seekers can succeed when applying for jobs online.
(QUINTESSENTIAL CAREERS: Kettle Falls, WA) — The employer technology known as the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), first used more than two decades ago to manage what one recruiter calls “a tsunami” of resumes submitted online, may be responsible for the skills gap widely bemoaned by employers and play a role in the current unemployment crisis.
Certainly this software is responsible for significant job-seeker frustration amid a workforce poorly educated in how to properly prepare their resumes to succeed when submitted via these systems. Such were the findings of the 2013 Quintessential Careers Annual Report on the State of Internet Job-Hunting, entitled Have Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) Ruined Recruiting, Hiring, and Job Search?
Quintessential Careers surveyed articles, books, and blog posts published about this issue in the last year and interviewed hiring decision-makers and job-seekers about their experiences with Applicant Tracking Systems. In conjunction with the report, Quintessential Careers published four ancillary how-to articles to guide job-seekers in preparing resumes for Applicant Tracking Systems, as well as ways to forego the systems entirely and directly reach employers.
“Applicant Tracking Systems have become a necessary evil,” said Quintessential Careers Associate Publisher and Creative Director Katharine Hansen, author of the report. “Until a better system comes along, job-seekers will to become better educated in how the systems ‘read’ resumes and how they can prepare their documents.”
The 2013 report, the 11th in a series of annual reports published by Quintessential Careers covering the major trends in online job-search, includes these findings about how Applicant Tracking Systems affect employers, job-seekers, and the entire workforce:
- Despite relatively high unemployment rates, more than 3 million job openings exist that are not getting filled fast enough, thus causing employers to complain of a skills gap.
- The vast majority of job-seeker resumes are screened out by Applicant Tracking Systems, with only a handful ever seen by hiring decision-makers. While a major purpose of these systems is to screen out the unqualified, the resumes of unqualified candidates are sometimes still highly ranked by the software.
- Experiments have shown that highly qualified candidates have been eliminated by these systems because their resumes weren’t compatible with the technology. These incompatibilities usually come down to incorrect/insufficient relevant keywords in the resume or formatting that can’t be correctly “read” by the system.
Hiring decision-makers insist the systems are mandatory because the ease of submitting resumes online has resulted in an unmanageable flood of submissions, often from unqualified candidates. Others on the hiring side say the systems are only as good as the qualifications criteria employers program into them. Some observers say these criteria are too picky or represent requirements not truly needed to do the job. Some hiring decision-makers have abandoned Applicant Tracking Systems and returned to the human touch.
On the job-seeker side, candidates report long, complex applications; a repetitive process of filling in the same information for every job, even though employers may share the same brand of Applicant Tracking System; and a lost opportunity to distinguish themselves with a cover letter since these documents are rarely entered into Applicant Tracking Systems. After all their frustration in applying, applicants often hearing nothing after submitting a resume and certainly receive no feedback on whether they are truly unqualified or whether a problem with their resumes resulted in their elimination.
These Quintessential Careers articles are intended to guide job-seekers in preparing resumes for Applicant Tracking Systems, as well as ways to forego the systems entirely and directly reach employers:
- Navigating Job Search Within and Without Applicant Tracking Systems
- Applicant Tracking Systems 101: Understanding the ATS Technology That Dominates Online Job Search
- Optimizing and Formatting Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems
- Preparing Job-Seeker Resumes for Applicant Tracking Systems: Checklist and Critical Do’s and Don’ts
Quintessential Careers, founded in 1996 and a leader in career development, is the flagship site of a network of empowering sites, EmpoweringSites.com.
Editorial Note: More background about Quintessential Careers can be found at https://www.livecareer.com/quintessential/home.html.
Go to the Quintessential Careers Media Release Archive.
Maximize your career and job-search knowledge and skills! Take advantage of The Quintessential Careers Content Index, which enables site visitors to locate articles, tutorials, quizzes, and worksheets in 35 career, college, job-search topic areas.