The first step to getting a job interview is making it past the stage where a recruiter glances at your CV or resume and makes a split-second decision about whether to chuck your application into the discard pile. It takes a maximum of ten seconds for the recruiter to decide whether your resume is destined for the dustbin. However, this only applies to those job applicants who are fortunate enough to have their applications reviewed by actual human beings. Many job applicants must first survive the applicant tracking system (ATS) before a human even looks at them. In this article, you will find out how to get your application ranked higher by the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), so that it gets a chance to be reviewed by actual human beings that will call you for an interview.

An ATS is a type of software application that handles the recruitment process, namely by sorting through thousands of resumes, to determine which ones are the best fit for the positions for which they were submitted. Applicant tracking systems do not process your resume so differently from recruiters glancing at your resume, as both are looking for certain criteria for inclusion. Whereas human recruiters are often looking for grounds for automatic rejection, such as spelling errors or lack of relevant skills, applicant tracking systems operate by searching resumes for keywords.
Applicant tracking systems help employers save time and paper and help them stay organised. Without them, recruiters would have to spend much more time filing and shredding papers or moving and deleting emails. With applicant tracking systems, there is no risk of an employer accidentally deleting the email containing the resume of the applicant the company wants to hire. An ATS also makes it easy for employers to keep tabs on the hiring process and to communicate with applicants directly. Applicant tracking systems were first used by large corporations that receive thousands of applications, but smaller businesses are now also using them. Just as companies use software applications to keep track of relevant information on their customers, using similar software to organise information on prospective employees makes sense for employers.
Applicant tracking systems process resumes submitted by applicants and sometimes even use social media to actively recruit prospective employees. When you submit your resume through an ATS, it stores your resume and an entry in the database. The recruiters then search for keywords for the particular job opening. If your resume contains the keywords the employer wants, then the ATS will rank you higher in the search results. The keyword searches by recruiters include the skills and experiences specific to the particular job opening. The employer can even command the ATS to search the company’s entire database of resumes to look for candidates with certain qualifications. This means that even if you submitted your resume a long time ago and never got a response, the company may have kept it on file in its database, and the ATS might identify you as a good candidate for a different position long after you originally submitted your resume.
Networking has always been an important part of the job seeking process, and now social media plays an increasingly important role. The prevailing sentiment is that having a social media presence helps more than it hurts when it comes to looking for a job, and most job seekers already understand the importance of presenting a professional image on social media. Of course, when it comes to attracting ATS, it is more than just a matter of not posting pictures of your drunken exploits on Facebook. There is social recruiting software that crawls the web for specific keywords, and the best way to get noticed is to have a social media profile that includes basic details about your education, work experience, and skills. That is sufficient to let the social recruiting software find you.
The process by which job candidates tailor their resumes to get them noticed by ATS is similar to the process of search engine optimisation, or SEO. This is when companies tailor their web content to make search engines notice them and rank them high on the list of search results. Matching keywords is an important part of how search engine optimisation works; if your website contains the words the user typed into the search engine, then it will appear in the search results. Thus, the best way to get an ATS to notice your resume is to anticipate which keywords the ATS and recruiters will be trying to find. We can analyse your resume using our proprietary suite of tools, compared it to the job description and make recommendations in order to increase your ranking within an ATS, thereby increasing your chances of landing an interview.
You may have heard the advice that you should tailor your resume specifically for each job application you submit. Whether this means making major or minor changes, your resume should make clear why you are a good candidate for that specific job. Every employer is looking for certain qualifications, whether resumes will first be scanned by a recruiter or by keyword-seeking ATS. You should find out as much as possible about the organisation to which you are applying. If current employees of the company have social media profiles, especially on LinkedIn, see if you have similar qualifications or keywords.
When recruiters search for keywords in applicant tracking systems, they are usually looking for certain concrete skills in your resume. If you are applying for a job as the manager of a hotel restaurant, for example, a recruiter may search for phrases such as “restaurant manager” and “hotel restaurant” or for the word “hospitality.” Recruiters will probably not look for words and phrases such as “outgoing” and “team player.” One of the main purposes of the ATS is to ease recruiters’ search process for candidates whose resumes are most closely in line with a particular job. An applicant tracking system’s decision about how your resume ranks among other candidates is based heavily on keywords, whereas recruiters base their decision not only on keywords but also, to some degree, on at least a little bit of arbitrary human judgment.
Applicant tracking systems make the recruitment process much more streamlined for recruiters, shortening the time it takes before a hiring manager contacts applicants who seem like good candidates for the job. For most jobs, it is not possible for the hiring process to be entirely automated. If you think your best qualities only show once you meet your potential employers face to face, you can boost your chances if you can rank highly in the ATS. Researching jobs and optimising your resume with keywords before you apply is the best way to get interviews.
Get in touch with us to get your CV / Resume audited against the ATS