Why all jobs seekers don’t get interviews [Beat the ATS software today!]

All jobs seekers must know about this software. If you fail to understand how it works, you will never get called for interviews! I call it the mother of all softwares if you are searching for a job.

Whether you like it or not, your success in life is closely tied to the information available to you, and if you are reading this blog post, you are lucky but try to spread the word and share this post. Job recruitment is not some voodoo neither does it have to do with your religious affiliations or spirituality. This is pure science, and unless you think you can use some “extra-terrestrial” forces to influence a computer program; you should continue reading.

ATS stands for “Application Tracking System,” an intelligent software that helps filters the “best” candidates from a poll. Notice that I put the word “best” in an inverted comma because I am going to show you how to make your own application the best from a poll. This software is a virtual algorithm which helps to scan thousands of resumes, but what is it looking, how can it change your life; importantly, how can you use it to your advantage?

What does the ATS look for?

Keywords! This is the main thing that this software is scanning your CV for. Recruiters often get tons of resumes every day, do you really think they have the time to start combing through all these CVs one after the other? Nope. What this software affords them is to set a list of keywords that the software will be looking out for in all CVs. In a nutshell, the ATS makes its decision based heavily on KEYWORDS. After matching resumes with the keywords, it assigns those resumes or CVs a score. Thereafter, it passes the CVs to human readers who happen to be the HR personnel. These guys will now decide whether or not to fix an interview with you depending on the kind of criteria they need from prospective employees.

To digress a bit, this is all too similar to how Google or any other search engine works. When we have a poll of websites, Google among a host of other things will rank the website based on the keywords that each web content contains. While Google is a much robust machine, the ATS is just a much simpler and basic software which still get the job done.

Taleo, the most common ATS software in the market. Yeah, how many of you have tried to apply for a job and the address of the website suddenly changes to something like this: taleo.company-website.com? These subdomain tied to the ATS company that such an organization is using for the purpose of recruitment.

According to a website, they analyzed over 40M web addresses, the highest number of web pages I have ever personally analyzed was 300k, and it took me 5 straight days with the laptop not switching off. I am just saying this so you can know the ginormous scale of this research. They found out that the over 12k companies use the Taleo software worldwide. If you around 5k companies using the paid business edition; this means that potentially 15 to 18k companies worldwide are using the Taleo. A lot of these companies are global corporation which has businesses in Nigeria. Whether you like it or not, this software is present in Nigeria, and tons of companies in Nigeria are using Taleo or other similar software like KENEXA, iCIMs, JazzHR and hundreds more.

Why does employers use the ATS?

Straight-up, not all employers in Nigeria use this software, but any standard company will definitely use some form of ATS. Thing is, paper application is too cumbersome. In a country where a graduate trainee job will attract tens of thousands of CVs if you are the recruiter, what will you do? Will you hire more people to comb through all the resume, and wait for 2 weeks or more before you have a list of potential applicants or will you use a software which will help organize, filter and rank all applicants in a minute or so? The first option clearly make no sense. From here, humans can now manually scan through the resume and see if you fit right into the job before sending interview invites to you.

Yeah, maybe some good applicants who don’t know about this software will miss out, but employers need to get the job done and they need to get it done really fast. The merit clearly outweighs the demerit.

How does the software works?

Once you submit your resume or CV or cover letter, the software stores all jobs related info into a database. In some cases, it can even scan your LinkedIn for keywords it is interested in.

Take for example, a company looking for a graduate accountant that has over 100k resumes in its database can instruct the software to query results like accountant, accounting, SAGE, ACCA, ICAN etc If your resume contains these words; your result will come up around the top of the poll.

In some other cases, recruiters can use a certain scoring algorithm based on some questions especially in online resumes. Have you ever tried filling out an online application and you find questions like

How many years of work experience do you have on the job?

  1. 0 to 2 years.
  2. 2 to 5 years
  3. 5 to 8 years
  4. Over 8 years

If the recruiter is only interested in those people with 2 to 5 years experience, those who picked option 2 will have the highest score. Some people will wonder, shouldn’t they be giving more consideration to people with more experience? Well, a person with a 7 years experience will most likely ask for money than someone with a 3 years experience and his/her “excessive” experience might not be useful for that job opening.

You see, you won’t always get called for a job opening but the company usually stores your resume for a long time. It can happen that another opening becomes available in the future in that same company. Before they go out to announce to the whole world that they need candidates; they will simply go ahead and scan for keywords in resume/CVs already in their database.

Social Media

Have you ever heard of people saying that they got an interview invite but they never applied for the position? The simple answer is that human resources experts are now actively seeking out people from their social media account. It is important for all jobs seekers to keep abreast of this especially their LinkedIn profile.

Don’t get too scared about your Facebook or Snapchat hoax, you can actually activate your privacy setting to prevent anybody from accessing your profile. Whatever you do on FB, IG or Snap is your personal business and you can choose who to show it to. But, you want to ensure that your LinkedIn is clean and homely. The computer guys might also want to spend more time on their GITHUB.

In some other cases, who has ever seen LinkedIn notifications like “your profile appears on three searches in the last two weeks?” These are employers actively scouting for new hires, I get up to four of this notification per month. What they are doing is essentially searching for keywords in LinkedIn’s database.

 

 

How to find Keywords related to your job or profession

HR personnel always advise you to tailor your resume for the job but most of us never took it seriously and the simple reason is because we didn’t know why? I will tell you the why!

I have hammered the use of keywords, but I haven’t told you how to find your keywords. Check the job description carefully. What words is the employer using a lot? I am not saying you should check for fluff words like “and, should, be, where etc.” Words you should watch out for should be things like “medicine, account, bookkeeping, records, algorithm, engineering.” This depends widely on the type of jobs that are advertised. Sprinkling these words in your CV is a sure bet to getting noticed. And that is the big WHY you should tailor your CV for keywords based on the job description. How to find these keywords:

  1. Try and think of words that the recruiter might wish to search for. Now, this is highly depended on your field. Microbiologists will better know words related to their field. For example, I personally have a Civil engineering MSc in geotechnical. If I want to find keywords related to geotechnical engineering, I will use keywords like “soil test, Mohr-Coulomb, Modified Cam Clay, ABAQUS, Plaxis 2d and 3d, Rankine theory, Coulomb’s theory, Consolidation, Settlement, Terzaghi’s theory.”

What is my point? You know your course better than me, find words you think recruiters will like to search based on the job description.

2. Google search: well, the all-conquering Google has come to our aid once more. If you are applying for a job related to “On the air Presenter,” simply type the query in google “keywords related to on the air presenter.” Visit a few search results, grab the keywords and use in your resume.

 

Stop playing around in your CV

Recruiters are very serious-minded people, and in most cases, they could be a little impatient which is kind of normal especially when you have a flood of candidates to attend to. Take for example a recruiter is searching their database for a new Logistics manager, such a HR person would most like search their database for words like “transportation, fleet manager, logistics manager,” etc. If your CV contains too much of vague words like:

  • team player
  • ability to think on one’s feet
  • ability to work without supervision
  • punctual at all times
  • Very honest and dependable

And so what? Nobody cares about all these terms. They are:

  • Boring
  • everybody uses it
  • they are vague
  • and most damaging of all, they don’t show up when a recruiter searches for keywords.

I mean, which recruiter do you think is crazy enough to search for the keyword “punctual?” I mean, job seekers must learn to be honest with themselves. Stop stuffing your CV with garbage just so it could be 2 or 3 pages long. If Elon Musk has just a single page CV even with his Billion Dollar empire, what is your own excuse? You don’t just write a CV so that it will look big in the eyes, nope. Keep it short and solid, and stuffed with relevant keywords.

 Verdict

With over 100 different ATS software in the market, the ATS has come to stay. This is simply because they streamline the recruitment process, reduce the time of hiring, and just makes life easy for HR people so they can concentrate on interviewing candidates. When you get called for an interview, make sure you read this post before you go for that interview.

Any serious minded person would bookmark this article as a good reference when rewriting their CV. The idea of paying people to rewrite your CV is not a good one unless you have already defined your career path. But if you are still trying to find your footing, it’s time to start tricking the software and get those invites.

If you are not getting any interview invites, stop blaming your village people and read this. If you have been praying to get a job, the good God might have just answered your prayer by opening your eyes to this article. But of course, God will not come down to rewrite your CV for you or tell you to start following the instructions we have discussed thus far. Take action today. Peace.