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Written by:Peter Thornton MAConsultant
Automated software is increasingly becoming the industry standard tool for employer recruitment, for companies both large and small. It is no surprise that with the rapid development of technology, employers are looking to exploit it wherever possible to benefit their objectives. Importantly, this software has not yet reached its vast potential, and this poses numerous questions for those applicants who merely appear as numerical entries in this software. Of primary concern is the question – is using such software fair for job applicants, for whom the job hunt is a real life-changing struggle? Such automated software comes in many forms, so let’s explore these, and evaluate some of the challenges that automated CV parsing, in particular faces.
Automated software is an umbrella term for those software programs used by companies as part of their wider recruitment processes that generate candidate reports, feedback, and even decisions based on an algorithm. This may include résumé parsing software that sifts through CVs and application forms, or Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is able to decipher an applicant’s facial expressions, behavioural competence and make a decision on who fits the role’s requirements.
From the moment you apply for a role, it is possible that your application is being fed into automatic software that can help employers evaluate and filter your application. For example, automatic CV software looks for certain key elements in the information provided and draws these out to paint a picture of you as a potential employee. Some common elements of your application that they identify are the location of the applicant, the employment and education history, the important competencies and skills mentioned, and how you score on any required assessments.
The competencies that companies look for in job applications varies, however these should be made clear to you in the job description. The competencies that will be particularly valuable depend on the company’s values and the position being applied for. However, the keywords most frequently identified by automatic software are ‘hard skills’ rather than ‘soft skills’. Hard skills are those qualities that you have evidence of and training in, such as your degree, maths ability, IT skills, foreign languages and many more.
Another frequently, and more contested form of automatic software is Artificial Intelligence in Video Interview Software. This software is capable of automatically reading many aspects of your performance, including micro expressions, tonality of voice, and the speech at which you’re talking. These data points that are collected help form a verdict on the behavioural competency of the candidate taking the interview.
There are many providers of Automatic software solutions, some of the most popular being HireVue for AI Video Interviews, and Daxtra, Indeed, Hiretual, and many more for résumé parsing.
It is estimated that more than 60% of companies use résumé and CV screening software, with it becoming increasingly more common the bigger the company is. Résumé and CV parsing software has become a common aspect of many companies that already use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), with this requirement most commonly appearing near the very beginning of an application process.
Artificial Intelligence in video interviews on the other hand, has become increasingly popular in previous years, particularly so since the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world and forced a shift towards distanced working, learning, and hiring. Some examples of companies using this automatic software are Procter & Gamble and CapitalOne, with HireVue alone having had 700 companies use their Artificial Intelligence supported Video Interviews in some capacity.
Simply put, the reason that companies are so keen to use Automatic Software is to save time and money, legal reasons, and to improve the quality of candidates being hired.
Despite the increasing popularity of this technology, there are some drawbacks of using Automated Software in applications made by those that will be fed through the companies’ hiring system. These include:
As we can see from these limitations, it is fair to say that automated software is far from perfect. These systems have yet a long way to go and organisations should in fact be using these with caution.
Despite these drawbacks and the vast enhancements that are needed for automated software systems to be effective, they are here to stay. In fact, these systems are highly desirable for most companies with the relatively cheap solutions that are on offer and the ease which they bring to the hiring process. This means that irrespective of the fallibility of the software, candidates will have to work with them, at least until they become more sophisticated and refined. Let’s take a look at how you can overcome CV parsing software.
It would be unprofessional and unethical to suggest that candidates add numerous hidden keywords (undetectable to the human eye) to their CVs. Instead, we have some tips that aim to mitigate the drawbacks of automated CV software. These are provided with the hope that candidates can increasingly learn to improve their chances of progressing in the application process. We provide these in a nice easy acronym of the vowels, AEIOU, to help you remember the steps:
As you may have noticed throughout this article, there are many aspects of a CV that play a role in determining whether it will make it past an automatic software; these aspects include your job description, minimum requirements for the role and formatting. This highlights an important issue with the system in that candidates are unable to present themselves as creative individuals, as is often an option through traditional CV writing, motivational questions, or Video Interview responses. Rather, you are now in a world of Automated Software Technology, required to jump through hoops. These hoops, or requirements are fixed and are rigid, leaving little or no need to express yourself and stand out. Although please note, that your CV may be reviewed at a later stage such as an Assessment Centre or before a face-to-face interview.
Automated software is now a beast of its own and an area where we can and should expect company recruitment to advance and head in the future. Automation that is able to incorporate the advantages of being cost-effective, anti-discriminatory, and highly accurate, whilst also having the functionality to interpret creative expressions in a CV, allowing people to truly stand out should be the focus of providers moving forwards. Despite this, one thing that is clear, is that traditional methods of CV sifting are quickly becoming a thing of the past for these large organisations; and with the rest of the world and industries embracing automation in all areas of life, we cannot expect recruitment to stay behind.
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