Applicant Tracking Systems

Most people think of ATS as this monolithic software - it’s not. There are many many different ATS vendors (i.e., Taleo, iCIMS, SmartRecruiter). Each system has its own functions and features and users (employers) can configure the system to their hiring preferences.

Some companies (small to midsize) even make their own ATS consisting of a bootleg database that holds applicant information. Some use data mining, some have automated rejection features, and some have scoring and ranking features.

Employers use these systems in different ways. For example: Some go through and devote time to a visual scan; in other words, an actual human scans an applicant resume; others use Boolean search or data mining features to extract info in accordance with their set criteria.

You all know ATS exists. Many of you have been burned more than once on roles you’re very qualified for. Sometimes these systems are considerate and send automated rejection notifications shortly after applying. However, keep in mind that even if you receive such a notice, your resume will remain on file and can be accessed by recruiters at any time.

Can ATS impact candidacy? Yes it can. Keywords and phrases on your resume can improve (or hurt) how well you match the role.

How well can a resume scanner predict your success with actual ATS?

In my experience, results vary but are generally to be taken with a grain of salt.

As mentioned above, ATS can be configured by each employers to match their own criteria, so your score on a site like JobScan will not be reflective of your results when applying.


About the Author

James Cooper is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and has been in the recruiting, career coaching, and writing business for almost 14 years. He began his career recruiting for AECOM, a Canadian engineering firm, and he's gone on to work with and help professionals land roles at top Fortune 500 companies.

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