Ask the Coach: Artificial Intelligence and Your Job Search

Hello all!

Last week, this office presented an engaging webinar on the subject of Artificial Intelligence in Your Job Search.  The program was well-attended, and the audience very engaged – so much so that we were not able to answer all of the questions on the broadcast!  Therefore, we have taken the time to answer some of those we didn’t get to on the presentation for you here – enjoy!

What if you left employment to regroup, decided to launch a business, but now want to return to the corporate world…how do you best speak to this?

Well, the answer to this actually depends on how successful your personal venture was, and the reasons that you chose to re-enter the corporate world.  Generally speaking, however, I would recommend that you put your business on your resume as an entry under “Professional Experience” and describe the work that you did, and things that you accomplished the same way that you would a job for a company that was owned by someone else.  This will allow the applicant tracking system to read your experience and parse it the way that it would a typical experience point, and give you the appropriate credit for it.

Do systems track applications from the same applicant across companies that use the same tracking systems and report that data to their clients?

No, each company has a specific license, and theirs is a “closed system” – so, while you may apply for several different jobs through an ATS, the various companies only see (and rate you on) the positions that you applied for specifically with their company, using their site.

If you upload your resume and other docs, and get no response at all, are there typically ways to follow up in person (phone or email) to talk to a person to get attention to your resume?

That’s where networking comes in!  I recommend that you search for someone from that company’s HR department using LinkedIn and connect with them there.  For a more formal approach, you can use LinkedIn to find out the HR personnel’s name(s) and Hunter.io (the Email Hunter) to locate the person’s email address and send them an email.

Who determines the key words?  Hiring manager or the tool or HR Manager?

For the purposes of scoring your resume, the ATS itself determines the key words based on the frequency and ranking with which they appear in a job description (example:  words that appear under “Requirements” or “Duties” would be prioritized, and have more weight when your resume is scored by the system).

When recruiters, HR personnel, and hiring managers are using key word searches to sort through resumes, the key words are determined by the individual performing the search.  This is why it is important to state the title of the position on your resume, and to incorporate as many key words that you can identify as possible.

Are candidates ever hired based only on AI with no personnel interactions?

Yes!  Some companies have transitioned to automating the entire hiring process, only getting human personnel involved when it is time to make an offer to a candidate and discuss start dates, salary, etc.

However, keep in mind that this method is typically used for positions that are highly repetitive and require little to no technical skills.  For more specialized positions, it is much more common to see human personnel introduced early on in the hiring process.

Is there anything to do to avoid the spam-y type jobs that reach out when using sites like Indeed or Zip Recruiter? Is there any advice or recommendations you may have for those sites?

For each of those websites, you have the opportunity to adjust your communication settings so that you are not receiving tons of emails about jobs that you may not be interested in.  To adjust those settings, select your account and navigate to email subscriptions.  The default for these sites is typically to send you emails daily – change that to whatever fits you best (or tell them not to email you at all).

This way, you are still matched with jobs that are determined to be a potential fit for you, but not inundated with emails – especially with irrelevant notifications.

How prevalent are ATS systems in hiring faculty and administrators in higher education institutions?
Many institutions of higher education are using ATS to source candidates, especially as automation continues to streamline the hiring processes.  Remember that an ATS is more than a resume collector – these systems allow institutions of higher education to keep notes about conversations with candidates through the interview process, simplify tracking and reporting of candidates in the event of an audit, eliminate many of the concerns that someone may be discriminated against and bolster efforts toward equal opportunity and affirmative action reporting.

I am a healthcare provider and have a CV, should I apply for jobs with it, or use a shorter resume?

Typically speaking, a resume scores better in an ATS when it is 1,000 words or less in length.  Since most CVs are significantly longer than a resume (and usually more than 1,000 words), a shorter resume has a higher chance of getting passed on to a human recruiter for further review.

What if you are qualified for various jobs in a particular company? What is the risk in applying for too many positions within same category?

If you are well-qualified for several jobs at a company, prioritize which position(s) you would most like to be interviewed for, and apply for those.  I would not recommend applying for more than 3-5 jobs at a company within a short period of time (30-60 days).  If you would like to be considered for several different positions and feel that you are truly flexible, I would instead recommend doing some networking with personnel who work at that company and getting recommendations that way.

Regarding resume format: What font style(s) and size(s) do you recommend?

For an ATS-friendly resume, you should use 1 inch margins and 10 – 12 point font formatting.  You should also use a font that is clean and easy to read (examples:  Helvetica, Arial, Tahoma, Verdana), but stay away from Times New Roman.  Avoid using tables or graphics, as those don’t necessarily parse correctly, and be sure to save your resume as a .doc or .docx document.  Other formats likely will not parse well, either.

For more individualized advice on your resume and other topics related to your career development, feel free to make an appointment with a career consultant in our office by calling customer engagement at 1.800.635.8944.