Applicant Tracking Systems Don’t Work

 In Career Tips, Job Search Strategy

Applicant tracking systems don’t want you to apply.

The people using them agree… on both sides of the equation.

A recent post by blogger Liz Ryan detailed the horror of online job applications in a recent Forbes.com article.

The actual people using this technology also decry about how they are broken, and go from one system to another searching for a better solution, sort of like wandering travelers lost in a desert.

What this boils down to is that for the candidate (aka job seeker), even the people who run applicant tracking systems hate them, and despise how they don’t work.

This means that as someone looking for work, you can’t just sit at home and apply online.

At the National Resume Writers’ Association conference in September 2014, one of the speakers revealed the startling statistic that if you apply via websites using applicant tracking systems, you have a 2% chance of getting an interview.

Where the real mojo lies is in getting yourself in person, live, in front of the decision maker through networking. Which means a 50% chance of getting an interview for a job.

So where do you want to spend your energies? Where is your ROI?

Everyone is harping on focusing on networking for a reason… because it works. Applicant tracking systems do not.

When you have both candidate job seekers AND human resource managers complaining about how applicant tracking systems don’t work, then the answer is pretty dang clear.

You need to get out there and start shaking the interview tree using good ole-fashioned networking, personal contact, and more importantly, the follow up needed to build up meaningful, real relationships that will pave the way to interviews.

There is no easy button (read: sitting at home and clicking “send” using applicant tracking systems) here.  It takes much more than that.

The people getting interviews are the ones who have taken the long-tail approach of building connections BEFORE they needed a job.

Think about that, and remember that anything worth doing is not easy. And run with it.

Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search