Applicant Tracking Software is great. If you use it correctly. Used incorrectly, it sucks.
In the world of HR. There's been a lot of talk about applicant tracking software in the world of job seekers. A lot of times what you'll hear about applicant tracking software is the concern about making sure that your resume has the appropriate number of keywords so that the applicant tracking software will find your resume and get it in the hands of a hiring manager.
While this all sounds fine and dandy, I missed the class in HR School, where they told me that the best candidates had the best keywords on their resume. Another word in my mind for "keyword" is "BS". If somebody can fill out a resume full of fancy and flowery corporate buzzwords, then they have a better chance of getting caught by applicant tracking software, and getting that in the hands of a recruiter. It's totally weird. If you are an HR practitioner, and you are using an AI software to screen through resumes, I would encourage you to understand the limitations of that type of software.
Right now it may make sense because we have so many resumes coming in with the huge unemployment numbers. We're not used to seeing that many resumes as we're posting jobs. It makes sense to have some sort of a screening filter method. If you are looking purely at the type of keywords that are used, on a resume, you're going to miss qualified talent.
You need to have a human touch as you are recruiting, and you need to make sure that you are taking a look at a resume holistically.
If you are an applicant and you are filling out a resume and you want to make sure you "beat the screening software", instead of trying to make sure that your resume matches all of the keywords in the position profile that you want it to, you need to target that company in a way that's appropriate for that role.
A lot of times most of the most effective job searches are done through networking and connecting with others. If you have a connection, if you have an interest, if you have a passion, there are so many ways that you can go get connected with an organization right now and get your resume in the right person's hand. Do a quick Google search, and you can find out who is in human resources at that company. You can find contacts for hiring managers in the departments that you're applying for all of that information is out there, there's so much data that you can do that. Take the time to do that. If you really care about the job, you will take the time.
HR people, if you're reading this, and you're thinking, "Oh, I hate it when people reach out to me or send me blind LinkedIn requests", or "Geez, I just I can't stand all of these emails from applicants." My question is why? That tells you that somebody is engaged, that shows you that somebody is interested, that tells you that somebody took the time, energy, put in some sweat equity to figure out who you are, and what you do, and make the effort to get that resume into your hands.
For me, that's a clear sign that that person is a hard worker, that person cares. That person is the kind of person that I want on my team. There's a balance here. If somebody sends you a resume every single week and says have you looked at this yet, that might be a little bit much. But ultimately going out and doing the research and doing the work is exactly what I want in an employee.
Let's give everybody a little bit of grace. If all you're looking at is keywords, you're looking at the wrong thing.
Keywords are BS.
I'm the Vice President - Human Resources for CPM Holdings, Inc. In this role, I oversees the aspects of Human Resources for 27 domestic and international locations in 11 countries. I've previously held progressive HR roles for Fortune 500 organizations.