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Considering Resume Screening Software

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Businesses are constantly looking for more efficient technological tools to ease their sourcing and recruiting duties. Resume screening software is touted as a hiring manager’s dream technology, capable of saving time and eliminating the tedious task of manually going through resumes. The technology can be a mixed bag, and managers who rely too heavily on it may not be getting optimum productivity from their systems. Software uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to pinpoint keywords in resume text and can be programmed to identify specific job skills and qualifications. The benefits of paperless recruiting can help your business get a handle on the seemingly constant flow of resumes in today’s tight labor market, but automated resume screening has its share of snags as well.

“The resume screening program we use shaves some of the time off our hiring process,” says Staffing Specialist Heather Fordham. The system she uses is customizable, and as job classifications evolve new information can be added. “It’s like having an office assistant that rarely makes mistakes,” she says. A sizable number of resumes are quickly eliminated, leaving only the most desirable candidates. On average, about 75% of resumes submitted are rejected, but this still adds up to a sizable applicant pool.

Processing countless resumes and zeroing in on top talent saves time for hiring managers, which ends up saving money for companies. “The recruiting process I go through can be stressful, and our resume screening software takes care of many of the details,” says Fordham. She notes that the system is more practical and economical because it eliminates storage space used for resume hard copies. A drawback is that it discounts so many resumes for various reasons that valid candidates sometimes fall through the cracks. “We’ve had instances where applicants did not meet the criteria of one department, but would have been a good fit in another,” she admits.

Many businesses acknowledge the limitations of resume screening software and augment the automated approach with a human touch. “Initially, we use an automated system to sift through candidates,” says Procurement Manager Ben Smith. “But some of the qualification work has to be done by hand.” He doesn’t see resume screening software as a silver bullet that takes care of everything with the push of a button. An example is the issue of length of time in a position. According to Smith, “The time a candidate spent in a position fluctuates in different economic climates, and resume screening software can’t look beyond the sheer numbers and weigh in factors to make value judgments.”

Personal touches have also become more prevalent, and an automated system can’t be programmed to measure a resume’s originality and character. “Recently, someone included a quote from a former boss on their resume. It gave a lot of insight into the person’s character and ability to operate as a team player and made the candidate more distinctive,” says Smith. The capabilities of an automated system may dazzle businesses, but there are some tasks that still require perceptive decision-making.

The issue of automating tasks traditionally performed by people has been debated since the Industrial Revolution. Futurist Joe Coates predicts that within ten years, automation will result in a massive labor surplus and eliminate nearly a third of jobs. In the next eight years, the occupations requiring the greatest number of employees will be registered nursing, food preparation and service, and retail sales. However, other economists see the threat of automation eliminating jobs as exaggerated. They point out that as the population grows older, the care required cannot be provided by automated nurses. Simply put, some jobs require a human touch. Getting the most out of your resume screening software means that you probably have to mix and match the capabilities of a system with old-fashioned human ingenuity.


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