Walking down the street, it’s rare to spot a business that doesn’t have a “Help Wanted” sign in the window. The “Great Resignation,” and the number of people who abandoned their 9-to-5 jobs for a side hustle or entirely new career, has resulted in a talent shortage for almost every industry.
However, it may not be a dearth of viable candidates that have made it difficult for you to fill a position at your business, but rather your hiring software that’s rejecting decent job applicants before you get a chance to see them.
HR Software That’s Too Smart?
The days of the paper application are largely gone by. Now, many companies, even small businesses, use Human Resources software to automate the hiring process. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and Recruiting Marketing Systems (RMS) manage the job application pipeline and streamline the recruiting process. Hiring managers can use ATS to sort through dozens of online applicants for entry-level positions, while the RMS allows recruiters to filter and rank potential applicants for middle-to-high skills positions.
While these automated hiring software systems can help employers quickly find a strong pool of candidates, the protocols in the programming may automatically reject otherwise qualified candidates, such as those with a gap in employment history or those whose experience from one industry could easily transfer to another industry that requires similar skills.
As a result, ATS and RMS systems automatically exclude viable job candidates from consideration. Hiring managers never see the resume and cover letter, the latter of which could address an employment gap or demonstrate how a candidate could apply cross-industry skills.
High Skills Candidates Being Vetted Out?
Some Chamber members note that qualified high-skills candidates may be automatically vetted out of the hiring process because they don’t match the exact criteria of the ATS or RMS algorithms. The numbers of middle-skilled workers vetted out are even higher.
However, the criteria used by the hiring software didn’t appear out of thin air. In fact, many qualified candidates are rejected because they don’t match the job description posted by the company. Oops. Some recruiters may use a stringently written job description to remove the marginally-qualified candidates and thus minimize the number of potential job applicants.
How Can Businesses Increase Their Hiring Pool?
One way to increase the number of available applicants is to re-write the job description, re-evaluating it to include more “soft skills” such as work ethic, engagement, and innovation. Firms open to seeking “hidden workers” — talent that was automatically or arbitrarily weeded out of the automated process, may discover an untapped asset. Instead of adding new skills and requirements to existing job descriptions, switch the filters on your hiring software from “negative,” which weeds out more applicants, to “positive,” which increases the hiring pool and includes candidates with a broader range of experience.
Hidden workers are those who, like the examples above, aren’t an exact match for the specifications of the job description but who may have plenty to offer employers, especially companies that are willing and able to provide extra training for applicants with drive and potential.
If you’re struggling to fill a position in your company, or if you’re suffering from a lack of available front-line workers, take a closer look at your hiring software. A few simple tweaks to the conditions set in the system and some revamped job descriptions may yield remarkable results.