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Published: October 1, 2021

Frustration with Application Auto-Filtering – Part 1

Author: Beatrice Roets

You’ve just spent hours researching the prospective employer, fine-tuning your CV and writing the best cover letter you’ve ever grafted. This one is in the bag. I mean, the job ad specifications read as if it was written for you specifically. You’re feeling very chuffed with yourself; you are EXACTLY what they are looking for.

You sleep very well that night.

Just to be rudely yanked back to earth by a no-reply-email-address, generic ‘Dear Joe’ email the next morning: “… although we are very impressed with your achievements, we have selected candidates that more closely match what we require for this specific role… blah-blah… we appreciate your interest… follow our careers page… best of luck…”

Well, &$#%@! How is it even possible?

Welcome to the world of ATS (Applicant Tracking System), the pesky auto-filtering software that over two-thirds of companies and recruiters (in the case of large multinational companies, 99% of them) use to narrow the applicant pool and highlight top candidates. If you applied through any online form (even sites like LinkedIn, Seek and Indeed and here on KoruTalent, use built-in ATS) you are definitely applying through an ATS. This means a human has not laid eyes on your application.

In theory, ATS is used to save time, especially when hundreds (even thousands) of applications are received for a specific role, filter out unqualified “chancers”, help recruiters and hiring managers stay organised and highlighting top candidates with some kind of scoring system. This scoring system allocates pre-allocated points to specific qualifications, skills, experience, keywords like job-titles, and achievements. And if the system does not pick up a score higher than a pre-set threshold from your application, bad luck, Jimmy: You are receiving the ‘Dear Joe’ email.

It might well be that you are actually a great candidate, but for some reason, the bot did not pick up the required points from your application and score you incorrectly. Truth is, some ATS systems and its parsing algorithms are quite outdated and dumb, causing your CV information to be distorted or lost.

The best advice we have for you on how to get past the auto-filtering bots with your application, is to ANSWER THE BRIEF. Make sure your cover letter and especially your CV is simple, to the point and addresses the requirements from the job ad.

In part two of this blog, we address this answering-the-brief with some advice on bettering your chances or getting human eyes on your application. Read Beat the Frustration of Application Auto-Filtering – Part 2

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