These days, more and more large companies are relying on technology to screen job candidates.
And although it seems like a smart, timesaving tool, it also means your chances of landing your dream job could be blown before your CV is even seen by a pair of human eyes.
According to The Australian, most large firms in Australia use computer programmes, or algorithms, to screen applications for junior positions.
Although you can’t cheat the system, people management specialist Karen Gately, director and founder of human resources firm Ryan Gately, said it all came down to understanding what the programme was looking for in your CV.
She said it was essential to include keywords in your application that matched your potential employer’s criteria.
“Applicant-tracking systems focus on skills and qualifications during the initial screening to remove noise within the applicant pool, because a lot of people throw their hat in the ring just hoping to get on the radar, but they don’t actually have the track record and the working history,” Gately said.
“If your capabilities, success and achievements are too generic and nondescript, the system won’t be able to pick up enough to know you’re worth talking to.
“That’s the point of the job ad — they list the non-negotiable criteria they’re looking for, and that will likely go into the system to filter out the candidates who don’t talk to the specific questions.”
Gately said applicants needed to scour the original job ad to figure out which terms to use in their own application.
“It’s important to use your own language, and allow your own style and character to come through when you’re writing your CV, but at the same time, you need to use certain words,” she said.
“Don’t parrot the job ad completely, but understand what the keywords are and what competence they’re looking for.
“It’s about having a tailored CV, not one generic document you’re throwing out to everybody.”
She urged jobseekers to carefully consider the job they are applying for, and then write their CV with specific experiences and achievements.
Instead of listing a generic description of previous jobs, your resumé should “show the part you played and the successes you directly contributed to”.
“Help them see what you learned and how you tackled different contexts to give a deeper understanding of what you’ll be capable of in future,” Gately said.
The Australian also revealed many large companies, such as Vodafone and Intel, were using a video interview service which quizzed applicants while an artificial intelligence program studied their facial expressions and language patterns.
Eye contact, confidence and good posture were all keys to getting past this crucial gateway — but Gately said the technology could clearly disadvantage introverts.
“I understand why employers are doing that — to try and see how confident, articulate and honest candidates are — but if you’re not comfortable on camera let alone on camera in front of people, it’s a tough thing to do,” she said.
“Employers should keep in mind that while this process works extremely well for extroverts, for introverts it’s another thing entirely.
“Facial recognition can read emotion and honesty and reactions to certain things so in my view the only thing you can do is be honest and be yourself. You can’t beat the system and fool it into thinking you’re someone you’re not, and it’s more likely to pick up an inconsistency if you’re not presenting yourself fully.”
Gately said technology could be a handy tool in the application process but nothing beats face-to-face contact.
“I’m a passionate believer that you should allow a candidate to be themselves and to see who they are and how they respond and feel and think — a lot of employers feel they have to create a formal, stiff, ‘we’re judging you’ environment rather than building rapport and letting the candidate relax,” she said.
“I understand it’s tempting to leverage technology to take out some of the risk in the hiring process, but the surest thing is to genuinely understand what makes someone tick.”