Career Connection: A Job Seeker’s Guide to Applicant Tracking Systems | AIChE

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Career Connection: A Job Seeker’s Guide to Applicant Tracking Systems

Career Connections

Modern technology has changed the recruitment and hiring landscape. When you submit your résumé online, you interact with a crucial part of the job application process: the applicant tracking system (ATS). Companies use ATSs to manage and automate their hiring process, from posting jobs, screening applicants, and storing applicant information, to automating communication, scheduling interviews, and onboarding new hires. Over 98% of Fortune 500 companies have adopted an ATS. Additionally, 66% of large- and medium-sized organizations and 35% of small companies rely on them to streamline their HR operations and ensure compliance with equal employment opportunity laws.

As you might expect, an automated system has drawbacks and limitations. It takes away the human element. One of the most frustrating hurdles job seekers encounter is an ATS making it harder to get their résumé seen and in front of the right people. Over the years, I have worked with many highly accomplished scientists and engineers who apply for job after job without getting a response or a call for an interview. Numerous factors can cause a qualified candidate to slip through ATS cracks, such as a lack of keyword optimization, unfriendly formatting, or knock-out questions.

How does an ATS work? There are four basic steps. First, a job requisition detailing the position, requirements, and other desired qualifications is entered into the...

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