Join TSR now and get all your career questions answeredSign up now

Automated job application software...and how it (could) ruin your chances... Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    If you've applied for a University-based job of late, then you've probably been asked to register onto a "15.i-grasp" site to submit your application. As always, these things make life easier...but for whom?
    Let's just look at the bumph from the actual suppliers of the software, who have pretty much cornered the market in recruitment software:

    "Candidates find job matches in a few clicks via a job agent, or a proximity search which lists all jobs close to where they live. Our customers frequently win awards for their *Brand name redacted* -based career sites - sites that focus on the needs and interests of the candidate and put the candidate in control of their relationship with the organisation. By using the career website as the common collection point - regardless of source - a talent pool can be developed for filling current and future positions. Candidate self-screening technology allows the recruiter to establish minimum job criteria to be used as a candidate filter. Automation helps refine targeting, identify top talent ahead of demand, and uses those talent relationships to facilitate a flow of candidates that is more about quality and less about quantity."

    So, we're now picked out by an automated process. What keywords do they use to find out how good we are for the post, I wonder? Could one conceivably get shortlisted just by making a word soup of keywords from the job advert? I'm starting to think so.
    But let's look a little more cynically, here. This software is designed to make HR's job a lot easier...NOT ours. They want not only to cherry-pick, but to cherry-pick with minimal effort. It doesn't matter what skills we have, how good we can be if we're only given a chance - this software is practically making the decisions before a human even sees the application. We're being rejected by a computer program!

    So, think before you're grateful next time to automated job application systems. Human Resources now seems to have become a place where only the very select actually witness a human in action.
    • Community Assistant
    • CV Helper
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Cardman)
    Automation helps refine targeting, identify top talent ahead of demand, and uses those talent relationships to facilitate a flow of candidates that is more about quality and less about quantity."
    That's why I'm so damn fussy about both layout and language in the CV Help thread.

    You MUST use as much language from the job advert as you can in your CV. The employer puts a lot of thought and effort into the wording of the job advert, and that exact same language is that is set into the software to scan CVs (for very high volume applications, ie most national companies). The same for smaller organisations who will have a checklist based on exactly the skills they ask for in the advert, and as they read the CV, they will tick off when they see a matching word in the CV. If you are applying via an online form, you can be pretty certain the first filter will be automated. Some firms always use a human element as well, but it's hard to find out who does and who doesn't.

    Tables, colour, fancy formatting like lines, colour, vertical lines etc are all potential screw ups for the software - don't use them - they are just risky and add nothing, because if a company is using this software, they won't be looking at the original CV anyway, but a software filled form.

    Most career entry jobs at the moment are getting about 100 applications for every job advertised. I've personally know basic jobs (student assistant in a school, ie helping a wheelchair user between classes) that got 500 applications. Prestigious jobs like McKinsey grad roles get thousands of applications per single job. So yes, the process is very often automated, either by online forms, or by electronically reading the CV and scanning for keywords etc. and stripping it down into a format that suits the company. You can often tell if you have applied online whether there will be some automated process. But if you make a CV and covering letter style application, you usually can't tell, so you have to assume the worst - that your CV will be scanned at least for a first round of filtering.

    Quality is always better than quantity, and you MUST use as much of the language of the job advert as you can in your CV.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Cardman)
    So, we're now picked out by an automated process. What keywords do they use to find out how good we are for the post, I wonder? Could one conceivably get shortlisted just by making a word soup of keywords from the job advert? I'm starting to think so.
    But let's look a little more cynically, here. This software is designed to make HR's job a lot easier...NOT ours. They want not only to cherry-pick, but to cherry-pick with minimal effort. It doesn't matter what skills we have, how good we can be if we're only given a chance - this software is practically making the decisions before a human even sees the application. We're being rejected by a computer program!

    So, think before you're grateful next time to automated job application systems. Human Resources now seems to have become a place where only the very select actually witness a human in action.
    I don't think anybody who's applied to graduate jobs recently will find this surprising. I've generally considered myself to be doing pretty well in an application process if I've received a phone call, or a personalised e-mail (as opposed to a stock copy/paste response) from a real human. However this doesn't really tend to happen until interview stage.

    In defence of company HR departments, if (in the current graduate job market, with current app/job ratios) they had enough staff to read every single CV and compare them fully, the company would have probably devoted too many of its resources to this to be able to do the activities which actually make it money. Let alone spend money on employing another graduate. You would probably be surprised at, in even huge companies, just how small the team of people is that have to deal with all the graduate applications. And also remember that even though graduate application ratios have increased massively in recent years, the revenue generated by companies has stayed the same (or decreased) in the recession, so HR departments are having to deal with a much greater volume of applications with the same, or less, resources. So you can't really blame them for looking for ways to make this process as time-efficient as possible.

    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Quality is always better than quality, and you MUST use as much of the language of the job advert as you can in your CV.
    Readers, if you take one thing away from this thread it should be this important point.
    • Community Assistant
    • CV Helper
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by thefish_uk)


    Readers, if you take one thing away from this thread it should be this important point.
    Fair point! Quality is always better than Quantity!
    • TSR Support Team
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    I think this just reinforces the value of networking and knowing the right people, as this enables you to bypass all of this nonsense. As I've always thought, this whole graduate selection process is more of a lottery when viewed through the eyes of candidates.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Candidate shortlisting isn't usually done by HR is my experience, they just facilitate the recruitment process.
 
 
 
Poll
How are you feeling about Results Day?
Useful resources

Articles and guides:

Hands typing

Degrees without fees

Discover more about degree-level apprenticeships.

A-Z of careers Advice on choosing a careerCV writing helpCovering letter helpInterview tips

Featured recruiter profiles:

CGI logo

CGI is open for applications

"Offering a range of apprentice and sponsored degree positions."

Deutsche Bank logo

Deutsche Bank is recruiting

"Thrive in an international banking environment"

ICAEW logo

Merck

"Merck is a global leader in specialized pharma & chemicals – join us!"

Army logo

The Army is recruiting now

"With hundreds of roles available, there’s more than one way to be the best."

Bianca Miller, runner-up on The Apprentice

Handle your digital footprint

What would an employer find out about you on Google? Find out how to take control.

Quick links:

Unanswered career sector and employment threads

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Quick reply
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.