While there are numerous forms of HR tech, broadly the term describes technology that employers can use to efficiently remove applicants from their recruitment processes and speed up their journey towards the right candidate.
Companies love HR tech as the automated processes make it quicker, more efficient, and highly scalable. HR tech can even make the hiring process less biased. Around 60% of companies say they use HR tech of some kind; among Fortune 500s, experts say the number rises above 90%.
So what do you need to know about HR tech to make sure you get hired in 2023? BusinessBecause spoke with Amber Wigmore Alvarez, chief talent officer at recruitment platform, Highered, to find out.
Design your resume to bypass applicant tracking systems
Arguably the most common form of HR tech, an applicant tracking system (ATS) uses algorithms to analyze job applications and filter out those that don’t match up with the company’s preset criteria.
Using information provided by employers, an ATS comes up with a profile of an ideal candidate and filters applications according to the candidates who are the closest fit.
“It has very powerful search and sorting features that quickly search for candidates based on keywords, phrases, skills, or experience,” Amber explains.
Often an ATS is looking for specific keywords in your resume. If the job description says five years of work experience are required, for example, any resumes with numbers below that are likely to be filtered out.
As an automated screening process, it’s therefore important to design a resume that will not only impress your potential recruiter, but will get past the ATS and get you into the next hiring round.
“The more you understand about applicant tracking systems the easier it will be to advance in the process,” Amber says.
That means choosing a font that an ATS will find easily readable, avoiding QR codes or external links that algorithms don't recognize, and above all making sure you include relevant keywords.
“Find an online free word cloud generator and copy and paste in 20 to 30 job descriptions—that will generate a cloud with words that appear most frequently,” Amber advises. “These are the words you need to have in the first third of your resume."
Be aware you might be part of a blind recruitment process
There’s a growing movement away from resumes and cover letters, and towards blind screening during recruitment.
Blind screening means instead of informing employers about any of your personal information at the start of your application, you are solely evaluated during their assessment process. In some cases, employers even prefer not to know your educational background or work history.
“This benefits bias control,” Amber explains, “omitting out all personally identifiable information so you can focus on the two things that matter most: the candidate’s personality and their raw skill.”
Employers are shifting towards blind screening as prevention of bias—whether subconscious or otherwise—incentivizes a more inclusive hiring process. This encourages those candidates who may be reluctant to apply based on past experiences to take part in the process.
Of course, it's still highly likely that an employer will ask for a copy of your resume when you next apply for a job. But if you are part of a blind recruitment process, it’s important to ensure that your job-specific skills are as sharp as possible when it comes to assessment.
“The highest skilled individuals are most likely to be the ones that would surpass the bias free assessments,” Amber says.
Remember: you still need the basics to land a job
Whether you’re involved in a blind screening or a more typical hiring process, remember that you still need to get the basic elements of your job application right in order to land a job.
While an ATS filters candidates during the first part of the application process, in the following stages you will need to impress people at the company who could later become your coworkers.
That means balancing your resume to impress humans, as well as algorithms.
“The industry average is six to nine seconds that a recruiter will be reading and scanning a resume. So in that time, the best candidates are people who have the most relevant information in the top third,” Amber says.
To give yourself the best chance of success, make sure to properly analyze job descriptions so that you can bring the key required skills to the heart of your application. Any unique elements such as language capabilities or professional certifications should also be clearly marked for employers.
Likewise, when writing your personal bio, you should highlight how your this role with this employer would fit into your overall career plan.
“It needs to be employer focused. So yes, it is [about] what you've done in the past, but you always need to be forward thinking and showing where you are headed in the future,” says Amber.
If you’re unsure about what recruiters are looking for, reach out to people working there to get advice and key information about the company. You may even find alumni from your business school already working there.
While you should be aware of the technology that’s in place, above all you should be prepared to impress recruiters with a solid application.
“Despite the changes in HR tech, successful candidates are those who are strong, consistent, and clear, who are focused in their communication and on the employer," says Amber.
"They know that, it’s not what the company can do for them, but what they can do for the company.”