Applicant tracking systems help HR managers and recruiters quickly narrow a field of hundreds of candidates. This type of computer software saves staff time and money as corporations try to make the hiring process more efficient. Employees usually must get past an applicant tracking system before a person in human resources looks at a resume closer, and the first step to retooling your resume includes understanding how employers use this software.
After you submit your resume, the applicant tracker parses the information. This means the program breaks it down into usable text. The ATS removes any formatting you made in your resume. The software then places the information into a database to organize the information. For example, the program knows what words to place under the headings "Education," "Skills" and "Work Experience." Once the applicant tracking system compiles the information, the data becomes more useful.
HR managers set the criteria for applicant tracking systems and then search that information for the best candidates. If a recruiter wants to find everyone who used "sales executive" as a keyword, all he has to do is input that word into the ATS search function. A tracking system then returns everyone who used that keyword a specified number of time. ATS programs can even determine how far into the past someone used a particular skill based on the dates included on a resume.
HR staffers could give some keywords a greater weight than others. For instance, a recruiter may want to see a rank of resumes based on a person's experience with Java programming. A recruiter can tweak the relevancy of this word to rank resumes in a certain order. Java could be a high priority in a resume or a low priority based on what the employer needs from a candidate. An employer then ranks other keywords based on relevancy to the job opening.
After viewing resumes that contain one particular keyword, the recruiter can go in and perform a search for another keyword, and so on and so forth. The ultimate result of an applicant tracking system is that it generates a list of prospective employees based on those that have the best mix of keywords as determined by the criteria input by human resources.
Rankings and Score
Once your resume gets a score from the applicant tracker, it ranks each candidate in a list. Those with higher scores move to the top of the list, and resumes with lower scores go toward the bottom. An applicant tracker can eliminate potential employees that fall below a certain score or a particular rank.
For example, Brown's Security receives 100 resumes for a managerial position. The HR department wants to narrow the field to 10 people. The HR manager can instruct the applicant tracker to give him the contact information of just the top 10 candidates so he can start searching for references, conducting phone interviews and scheduling in-person interviews. This function is handy when it comes to saving time and effort in the hiring process; however, ATS programs do more than just give human resources a way to eliminate potential employees for one position.
Other Uses for ATS Programs
Applicant trackers save your information for employers to use later. When a position opens in three months, an HR manager could dip into a pool of applicants already stored in the database. This could eliminate the need for posting a job and opening the position up to hundreds of people.
Special types of applicant tracking systems, called social recruiting software, may search social media profiles for relevant keywords. These programs add another way for employers to rank prospective hires. Therefore, future employees should add keywords to social media profiles and posts. Applicant trackers have become much more sophisticated since they first hit the market, so job applicants should try to tailor a resume to be read by both a computer and by humans.
More and more companies turn towards ATS programs as prices come down. As this technology improves, everybody wins when applying for jobs becomes easier, faster and more efficient.
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