Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are an outcome of our economy. We have record levels of underemployed. Layoffs are getting bigger and are simply routine (I’m almost done with an article about this very topic). HP alone could end up dumping more than 80,000 people back into the job market since 2012. ATS are AI systems to help recruiters handle thousands of applicants. The irony of ATS is they also put people out of work. Automation exists to remove the human element.
I’ve been in IT for over 20 years and this was news to me until last year. I’m no Luddite either. Not everyone is technically savvy and those of us who work around technology all of the time can easily forget not everybody invests a large amount of personal time into learning every aspect of every system they come in contact with. I would rather hire someone who spends time developing work-related practical skills rather than knowing ATS inside and out, especially if the job in question isn’t in HR.
So I’ll respectfully disagree on that point. Layoffs are devastating enough. From personal experience, I can tell you there’s no way to prepare for having custom, keyword loaded resumes. The stress of job hunting plus needing to support families plus trying to learn new skills all add up. Most rock star practitioners I know sacrifice something personal, usually family, to keep themselves marketable. Just knowing you’ll probably never even be seen by a human for most jobs now plays mind games. I spent weeks tweaking resumes, burning midnight oil preparing documents for what is essentially a job lottery.
In that light, I hope one day we will figure out how terrible this is for everyone. Universities should prepare people to think conceptually rather than rote learning how an algorithm, which they have no insight into, picks apart keywords in 2016 but will probably change with each release.