Did you know that Google received 2 million job applications in 2017? And, Facebook receives somewhere in the ballpark of 250,000 job applications each year? When applying for a vacancy with large engineering or tech companies, many candidate’s CVs must first survive the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before an actual person looks at them. Read this article to find out how to get your CV ranked highly within applicant tracking systems, so that it can then go through to the next stage of the recruitment process and be seen by internal recruiters and hiring managers.

What is an applicant tracking system?

An ATS is a type of software application that handles the recruitment process, namely by scanning, sorting and ranking thousands of CVs, to determine which ones are the best fit for the positions for which they were submitted. ATS are programmed to process your CV in a similar way to how a recruiter would glance at your CV, as both are looking for certain criteria for inclusion. Whereas human recruiters are often looking for grounds for automatic rejection, such as lack of relevant skills or spelling errors, ATS operate by searching CVs for keywords. But it doesn’t stop there, most ATS does all the other hectic work including interview scheduling and event tracking. From job requisition to tracking candidates to on-boarding of the applicant.

Why do employers use ATS?

Regardless of whether it’s for a Graduate Engineering, Project Management or Executive position, reviewing CVs is most often the most time-consuming task in recruitment. In some cases, all that effort, can produce little or no reward if the ideal candidate isn’t found. ATS help employers save time and resources and should allow everyone involved in the hiring decision to remain unbiased and organised. An ATS makes it easy for employers to keep tabs on the hiring process and to communicate with applicants directly. Plus with ATS, there is also no risk of an employer accidentally deleting the email containing the CV of the applicant the company wants to hire.

How do applicant tracking systems work?

Applicant tracking systems process all the CVs submitted by applicants and even use social media to actively recruit prospective employees. When you apply for a role via an ATS, it stores your CV and an entry in the database. The recruiters then search for keywords for the particular job opening. If your CV contains the keywords the employer wants, then the ATS will rank you higher in the search results. The keyword searches by recruiters include the technical and soft skills and experiences specific to the particular job opening. The employer can even command the ATS to search the company’s entire database of CVs to look for candidates with certain qualifications. This means that even if you submitted your CV a long time ago and never got a response, the company may have kept it on file in its database, and the ATS might identify you as a good candidate for a different position long after you originally submitted your CV.

What about social media?

Over the years, we’ve regularly blogged about the importance of social media as part of the job seeking process. Of course, when it comes to attracting ATS, it is more than just a matter of not posting pictures of your drunken exploits on Facebook. This space is rapidly advancing and there’s a wide range of social recruiting software such as TalentNow’s RecruitX which analyses information pertaining to candidates who spend most of their time on social media platforms. Then there’s Talenthire which keeps a constant lookout for applicants in social media platforms and enables employers to save profiles for further times of need. In summary, the best way to get noticed is to have social media profiles that include basic details about your education, work experience, and skills.

Does ATS work the same way as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

The process by which CVs should be tailored to each job application to get them noticed by ATS is similar to the process of search engine optimization, or SEO. This is when companies tailor their web content to make search engines notice them and rank them high on the list of search results. Thus, the best way to get an ATS to notice your engineering CV is to anticipate which keywords the ATS and recruiters will be trying to find. That said, the algorithms within modern ATS are clever, so simply stockpiling your CV with keywords repeatedly is not enough. Basic ATS will analyse your CV compared to the job description however advanced software, powered by deep learning (artificial intelligence) software will be looking for the context and positioning of each keyword.

How do I increase my ATS rankings?

In order to increase your ranking within an ATS, thereby increasing your chances of landing an interview, it’s essential to produce a clear, relevant and informative CV. You may have heard the advice that you should tailor your CV specifically for each job application you submit. Whether this means making major or minor changes, your CV should make clear why you are a good candidate for that specific job. If you’re having difficulties expressing your skills, achievements or future potential, contact ABCV Solutions. 100% dedicated to the engineering sector, the team at ABCV Solutions are specialist CV Writers for engineers and technical specialists.