|Credit: Wall Street Journal|
Many job seekers have long suspected their online employment applications disappear into a black hole, never to be seen again. Their fears may not be far off the mark, as more companies rely on technology to winnow out less-qualified candidates... Recruiters and hiring managers are overwhelmed by the volume of résumés pouring in, thanks to the weak job market and new tools that let applicants apply for a job with as little as one mouse click. ...Most recruiters report that at least 50% of job hunters don't possess the basic qualifications for the jobs they are pursuing.
The screening systems are one way companies are seeking to cut the costs of hiring a new employee, which now averages $3,479, according to human-resources consulting firm Bersin & Associates. Big companies, many of which cut their human-resources staffs during the recession, now spend about 7% of their external recruitment budgets on applicant-tracking systems, the firm says.I'm not especially surprised by their comments about small companies, but it is interesting to hear some unscientific numbers:
Résumé overload isn't just a big-company problem. Job seekers often are surprised when they don't hear back from small businesses. These businesses rarely hire enough people to make an applicant-tracking system cost-effective, but even a one-time posting on a well-trafficked job board like Monster.com can garner hundreds of responses. Only 19% of hiring managers at small companies look at a majority of the résumés they receive, and 47% say they review just a few, according to a recent survey by Information Strategies Inc., publisher of Your HR Digest, an online newsletter.Having survived feeling my résumé into a large-company database in the recent past and actually receiving a phone call (that ultimately resulted in a offer!), I have to say that (like the first paragraph), it was my assumption that there was some sort of black hole involved. The request that resumes be in "Word document format" was yet more evidence that computers were involved.
I once spoke to a man who was hired by a major government contractor (and employer of physical scientists) in Utah. He told me the best way to deal with the software was to copy the job description and its keywords and paste it into the top portion of my résumé. I see this is in the article's advice:
Forget about being creative. Instead, mimic the keywords in the job description as closely as possible. If you're applying to be a sales manager, make sure your résumé includes the words "sales" and "manage" (assuming you've done both!).Good heavens. I, for one, quail at our new screening overlords.