Recruitment: Tech vs. Tech

In a recent study, over 85% of recruiters and hiring managers believe they’ve caught at least one lie on a candidate’s resume or application. The range of exaggerations varies from dates of employment, titles and responsibilities. More than 25% of the applications you see have a lie about an academic degree. These numbers represent a significant rise in over the past few years and many speculate tech is to blame.

Recruiters, looking for a way to thin down the mountains of applications that cross their desks, turned to applicant screening software to prescreen candidate’s credentials before they looked at the first resume and for a short while it was working. The software looked for critical data points – number of years’ experience, degrees, and keywords to match candidates to the available opening.

 Gaming the System

The honeymoon was soon over as candidates realized their resume had to meet specific criteria to score an interview. Algorithms can’t see nuance, so let the games begin. Changes to the application and resume are quickly made: just short of that 2 year minimum on work experience? No worries – a little adjustment of the dates here and there will do the trick. Don’t have that degree required? Easily added at the bottom of the page. Your responsibilities didn’t meet the criteria? Change a few of the buzzwords in your resume to match the ones in the posting you think are important and you’ve beaten the system.

You can hardly blame them – the posting calls for 3 years’ experience and you have 2 years, 10 months. What possible difference can 60 days make? The temptation is great and so could be the rewards – a new job. For candidates looking for a match through an impersonal algorithm, the lure is irresistable.

The software that was supposed to make it easier to screen for qualified applicants has actually made it easier to hire the unqualified. While recruiters spend less time with initial screening, they’re probably spending that much time and more verifying credentials: often restarting the hiring process if  exaggerations are found.

Gaming the Gamers

What can hiring managers and recruiters do to get back to honest applicants? Unless and until blockchain goes mainstream in the recruiting space to help employers verify credentials automatically, there are a few ways to get ahead of the gamers.

Screening software works by parsing the resume into readable data, then sorting it by categories: contact information, education, experience and skills. Each of these data points is ripe for exaggeration. To beat the gamers, be more subtle in your requirements, at least in the posting.

Rather than setting a firm minimum requirement for experience, set a range: 2 to 3 years instead of minimum 3 will not only open up the amount of candidates you screen, but will give those who are on the cusp of hitting your maximum an opportunity to be seen. You’ll have an easier time screening to the higher end if you choose, but iIn a candidate market, with talent shortages hitting the headlines daily, it’s probably wise to cast a wider net anyway.

Leave out keywords in the posting itself and incorporate them only in the employer side of the software. If possible, work around adding the keywords in the body of the posting. Although most algorithms have synonyms built into the system, if your main keywords aren’t repeated and prominent, applicants who don’t know the synonyms and are looking to fudge the system may not include them.

Ignore headers and footers. If the software you use doesn’t parse header and footer information into the body for screening, it should. Sneaky applicants put keywords there to confuse the bot – that’s why you sometimes see resumes that don’t match any of your keywords come through the system. Others put header/footer text in white: visible to the bot but not to you. Points for cleverness, at least.

The easiest way to find qualified candidates? Rankdone. We prescreen for talent, not talk: and not just for tech positions – Rankdone helps you screen out highly qualified sales representatives, finance professionals, service workers and more. We can even help you screen for written and oral communication skills. Find out how we can help you win the tech vs. tech war today.

 

 

 

 

 

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