Is technology impairing our ability to discover talent?

Is technology impairing our ability to discover talent?

Candidates often want to know what happens to their resume when they apply for a job.  It can be a sore point, particularly for those who have applied for numerous roles and find they are not getting past the first screening stage. 

Parallel to this, while clients are often impressed by the kind of technology available that claims to find the best talent through advanced search functionality, we often hear the complaint that there is a general lack of good talent available in the market.

Here’s the truth:

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have become necessary for recruiters to use ever since the birth of the online job board. Because it is now easier than ever to indiscriminately send a CV for a large number of jobs, recruiters are flooded with applications for every job they advertise.

To combat this, an ATS will allow a recruiter to search on keywords; thereby narrowing the influx of applications to only those that are relevant to the job.  The benefit of this technology is that a recruiter can find applicants with very specific skills for a very specific job. For example an IT coder who must have experience in Java and C++ can be identified immediately by simply searching against those specific skills.

The disadvantage is that great talent can be missed if the recruitment process is reduced to a keyword-searching machine, particularly when it comes to roles in sales, marketing or communications. For example, the title of Marketing Manager can often be synonymous with Brand Manager, Product Manager, Group Category Development Manager or Customer Experiences Manager – just to name a few! 

Good recruiters use ATS technology as a small part of the recruitment process rather than the be-all and end-all.  This means that resumes are sorted by relevancy to the specific job they are recruiting for, but other applications that might be relevant for other jobs are still assessed, ensuring that good talent does not stay undiscovered. This human approach is the hallmark of a good boutique agency; one that knows the space they recruit for intimately.

While we advocate for a more human approach to recruitment, using an ATS is a necessary evil. If you are a candidate and have found it difficult to get to interview stage, it could be because your CV is not keyword friendly. Make sure you are using universal terminology in describing your qualifications, responsibilities and achievements, rather than company-specific language or abbreviations.

For companies, be aware that a lot of recruiters will try to sell their services to you by saying that their ATS will solve all your staffing problems.  Remember that while the technology is useful, it is the expertise and assessment ability of the recruiter that really counts in finding the best talent out there.