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Getting Past the Gatekeeper

Interview with an AI

We're entering the era of the robot interviewer. HireVue uses AI algorithms in their candidate assessments platform. The AI software uses facial recognition technology to analyze the tone and language the candidate uses to answer interview questions.

HireVue says the technology will help employers find the "perfect candidates" and hire faster. But, this presents another potential technology hurdle for job seekers, who now have to beat the AI into submission to get to a real person during the candidate screening process.

It's always been hard to make it past the gatekeeper, whether they're the receptionist or the applicant tracking system (ATS). Now it appears there's going to be an even tougher layer of intelligent software that applicants will need to navigate if they want to ever talk to a human interviewer.

What can job seekers do to improve the chances they make it that far?

You Have Seven Seconds to Make an Impression

Ladders Inc. did an Eye-Tracking Study in 2018 that showed the average time recruiters spend initially screening your resume is about seven seconds. The good news is that it was one second less on average in 2012, but today's numbers are still frustrating most job applicants. Today, submitting your resume blindly into an online candidate hiring process is like pitching a rock down a sinkhole; you may never even hear it hit bottom.

Recruiters usually receive a high volume of resumes for a job, but spending seven seconds reviewing your credentials hardly feels like it's worth the time spent writing a resume. Is the answer more bullet points? Does your resume need a different font? Is the layout too cluttered? How will you know if you never have the opportunity to speak to someone?

It's a conundrum that could strike fear into even the most experienced job seeker, but we do have some tips to help you get past the hiring gatekeepers to (at the very least) get to the human interviewer.

Getting Past Recruiting Technology

Before you even hit the AI, if the company has it, your resume will be automatically selected from the ATS database by a computer algorithm.

Initially, the recruiter will complete a contextual keyword search for the resumes that best fit their job description. They do this via a word match between your resume and the job requirement. Your resume is more likely to be selected during this process if you're using the same words from the advertisement. That's why you should slightly revamp your resume for each job you apply to. Make it an easy fit for the hiring team to see you have the skills they're looking for.

One caveat? Don't go overboard on keywords. Just repeat those that seem to be most important two or three times (any more than that can become annoying to a human reader).

Getting the Attention of the Recruiter

If you make it past the ATS, your resume should also be designed to capture and hold the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager. HR Dive suggests the following tips to get your resume noticed:

Use a simple layout with white space to make it easy to read.Use clear heading titles and short sentences.Avoid multiple columns.

Making use of any easily recognized company brands. For example, if you worked for IBM or Facebook, don't hide the name under a bold section header and fail to also bold the brand. If you worked for Google, chances are the recruiter will be curious about what you did there. Being strategic in how you name your section headers. For example, if you're a sales executive, call your "experience" section "sales experience." If you're a project manager, name the skills section "project management skills."

You can also leave off the career objective section; most human recruiters believe it is a waste of space. However, you can have a summary at the top that distills your experience into a snappy resume highlight that will entice a hiring manager to read more.

Use Your Connections

Robots aside, let's not forget about the power of human networking to get an interview. Finding a mutual connection between you, your contacts, and the company you're targeting is one of the benefits of a social site like LinkedIn. You can also research hiring managers, but be careful; you don't want to come across like a stalker.

Also consider that the easiest way to bypass the typical digital gatekeepers is to simply reach out to an employment agency to talk about the opportunities they have. A staffing recruiter can:

provide feedback to help you revamp your resume offer a safe environment in which you can practice your interview skills get the inside scoop on the employer and hiring decision makers help sell your total value as a candidate (not merely a collection of skills and experience) you stand a better chance of landing (and nailing) the interview - and getting hired.

Jump the Hurdles, Get the Job

Competition for the best jobs has always been high. What's different today is the number of electronic gatekeepers you must get through before a recruiter ever sees your resume. Putting your best foot forward on your resume, along with partnering with a good staffing or recruiting firm, will help move your candidacy forward.

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