Eligible Job Candidates Are Having Their Applications Rejected Due To Automated Hiring Tech

Business woman online at work, in a home office setting. A student studying online classes.

According to a new report from Harvard Business School, reliance by companies on job hiring software has led to numerous viable candidates being rejected from roles they are qualified for.

The software often used to filter job applications has helped contribute to what the report’s authors describe as “hidden” workers.

They define these hidden workers as, largely, workers who are seeking employmenr, but who “experience distress and discouragement when their regular efforts to seek employment consistently fail due to hiring processes that focus on what they don’t have (such as credentials) rather than the value they can bring (such as capabilities).”

This has been enhanced with the widespread prevalence of resume-filtering tech.  Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are designed to filter out candidates, rather than widen the parameters of what a potential employee could bring to the workplace.

ATS are used by 99 per cent of Fortune 500 companies, and Recruitment Management Systems (RMS) are used be 75 per cent of employers in the US. Because of the specific recruitment filters used in this software, “a potentially qualified candidate is “hidden” from the recruiter”, according to the report.

For example, this software may filter out a candidate because they have a gap in their full-time employment, but are otherwise the ideal candidate for the role. Similarly, 48 per cent of the surveyed employers filtered out middle-skill candidates if they had a gap of more than six months in their employment history.

However, this fails to give candidates a chance to explain why they were unemployed: for example, travelling, caring for family, illness, or simply being unable to find work in their field.

According to the report, the software often excludes people who would be able to perform a role with training, but don’t meet other criteria. Potential employees are excluded from jobs because the language they have used to describe their skills and experiences differs from the vocabulary used in the job description.

This tech emerged in the 80s and 90s, and has been a staple of hiring processes since, allowing employers to sift through increasingly high volumes of applicants for roles.  The increased reliance on automation, point out the report authors, has ironically “simultenously exacerbated the very talent shortage they were intended to address.”

However, there are solutions. Broadening job descriptions, and dispelling with a long list of specific requrements, could help “hidden” workers progress with applications. While overhauling job listings would require work and co-ordination, it could also help address the issues of automated filtering.

Feature Image: iStock/globalmoments




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