In part I of “Beat the Bots” we provided advice on tailoring your resume for the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Human resources departments are increasingly using these algorithms to screen resumes. Our second chapter focuses on the automation of other human resources workflow.
HR departments of large corporations use many types of software tools. The most common sets of tools are:
These tools interpolate applicant data to provide a 360 degree view of the candidate. These tools scrape candidate information from public sources like social media sites (e.g., LinkedIn and Facebook, Q&A forums like Stack Exchange, and other public repositories like Github). The data they scrape is combined with the information that the company already has on the candidate to form their 360 degree view. The HR person or hiring manager uses this comprehensive profile to make a decision.
There are a host of services that use candidate information to match them to companies, or even teams. Some of these tools not only match the candidates job fit, but also identifies their propensity to switch jobs. These are important tools in the hiring of experienced professionals that may not be actively looking for a job.
As the number of applicants per job rises, companies use personality assessment tools to help them screen candidates. These tools are largely being used for specific positions in areas like customer service. The WSJ reports that nearly 57% of employers used some form of pre-hire assessments.
Unlike the tools of the early 2000s that primarily gauged basic personality types, today’s tools can score personality, working styles, customer friendliness, and a range of other attributes. Moreover, employers can customize the assessment tools for a specific job or team they are hiring for.
These HR tools don’t dramatically change how jobseekers should approach the search process. Most of them are focused on improving the matching process, but we have found that less tech savvy professionals are at a slight disadvantage. Additionally, candidates looking to make a career transition are sometimes biased out by the algorithms.
We have 5 simple tips to stay ahead of the bots:
Before starting your job hunt, perform a thorough google search for your name. Be aware of how you appear on social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Don’t forget about other sites that might not index as well on a google search like Reddit, Quora, Yahoo Answers, or personal blogs.
It’s also important to think about how a tweet, or a comment on reddit might be perceived as they may be taken out of context.
If you do have content on social networks that you would rather not share with a future employer, update your privacy settings. Remember that Google keeps cached versions. You can explicitly ask Google to remove search results that are no longer valid or sensitive. This can take a few weeks so budget the appropriate amount time prior to your job hunt.
Update your LinkedIn profile to make it easier for tools to find your skills and experience. Similarly, look at your active profile on other forums. Now is that time to write a thoughtful piece on Medium, or to be more active on Github, Stack Exchange, or Quora. You don’t have to, but these tools can help, especially if you are transitioning to a new career. Having a great online presence can encourage recruiters to reach out to you even if you’re not actively looking for a job.
These assessments consist of common sense questions, so it’s not as much about preparation as it is about frame of mind. The important thing is to not feel rushed, and be in a place where you can be calm and thoughtful.
Companies will always value inbound employee referrals and use them to fill their recruiting pipeline. As such, networking remains key, and today it’s easier than ever. Try to meet people at the organization you are interested in, and express your desire to work for that company.
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