How Recruiting Systems Exclude Viable Tech Job Candidates: Report

Automated recruiting systems may shut out a percentage of workers applying for technology jobs, suggests a new report by Harvard Business School and Accenture.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and Recruiting Management Systems (RMS) are supposed to help recruiters and hiring managers do everything from source key talent to follow applications moving through the company’s systems. In a quest to make these systems as efficient as possible, however, the candidate parameters are often very tightly set, which can exclude viable workers. 

“For example,” the report stated, “most use proxies (such as a college degree or possession of precisely described skills) for attributes such as skills, work ethic, and self-efficacy. Most also use a failure to meet certain criteria (such as a gap in full-time employment) as a basis for excluding a candidate from consideration irrespective of their other qualifications.”

The outcome is terrible for certain candidates, the report added: “A large majority (88 percent) of employers [tell] us that qualified high-skills candidates are vetted out of the process because they do not match the exact criteria established by the job description. That number rose to 94 percent in the case of middle-skills workers.”

Tech candidates everywhere, of course, have complained for years that automated recruiting systems exclude perfectly good workers from consideration. With the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.) as potential recruiting and hiring tools, those concerns have only grown, especially since self-learning algorithms have a history of displaying bias

So what’s the solution? In the short term, the report suggests that companies adjust their application and recruiting systems’ filters. Instead of setting filters that eliminate candidates because they lack a college degree (for instance), employers should apply logic that selects candidates for having certain attributes: “Configuring systems to identify applicants with the specific skills and experiences associated with fulfilling the core requirements of the role would promise to be more efficient and inclusive.” 

If companies opt to embrace that kind of change, it could help lots of technologists land that first interview. But whether or not there’s actually an “affirmative” shift in companies’ application filters, this report is a good reminder that technologists should always tailor their application materials to fit the job posting and requirements. If you know the skills listed in a job posting, make sure to detail them on your résumé and cover letter; it’ll help ensure you survive that initial cut.  

One Response to “How Recruiting Systems Exclude Viable Tech Job Candidates: Report”

  1. jake_leone

    Companies whine about not having enough STEM/IT candidates, yet they fail to really read the resumes that come in. That shows laziness, not a shortage of STEM/IT candidates, is what is really going on.

    I have faced this for decades. I have worked as a full stack programmer at a company that provides tools for AI scientists, and I have done so for decades. But the reality is, the only reason why I received an interview was because a recruiter was willing to actually read my resume. Applying to Google, Apple, or Microsoft they never even read my resume. And the reason why, I don’t have a computer science degree.

    Facebook admitted, to Federal investigators, that it receives 200+ resumes for every STEM/IT job it advertises on its website. Facebook further admitted to Federal investigators, that of those 200, 30 or more are fully qualified and Facebook would hire them, if Facebook actually had the STEM/IT jobs (that Americans were allowed to compete for). Facebook further said that it NEVER forwards the resumes of the 29 fully qualified local STEM/IT candidates, that it doesn’t hire to the hiring managers involved in the PERM process. Facebook further admitted to Federal investigators that those 29 fully qualified local STEM/IT candidates had more experience and were better qualified than the foreign workers Facebook protects from local competition, during the Green Card PERM process.

    You’d think, instead of whining about a STEM shortages, companies would work on their HR processes. If Facebook would just be honest and allow American to compete for jobs at Facebook here in the U.S., Facebook would be able to fill every open STEM/IT job, and replace every foreign worker with a better qualified local U.S. candidate.

    But the dirty secret is that foreign workers are preferred because a foreign worker, trapped in the green card process, can’t leave their job, forever until Green Card day.

    Keep in mind this all comes from what Facebook told Federal investigators, and is in a Federal indictment of Facebook for 2600+ counts of discrimination against U.S. citizens based upon their nationality. If those Facebook employees had given any false information to Federal investigators, they would be facing a Federal obstruction of Justice charge.

    And don’t kid yourself, Apple, Google, Microsoft all the Big Tech companies use the same tactic of discrimination against local U.S. candidates, and have developed a preference for foreign workers, because foreign workers are trapped in their job, forever until Green Card day.

    If companies would actually read the resumes their receive, we would never hear them whining about a mythical STEM worker shortage. Instead they choose to massively discriminate against American job candidates for their Tech jobs. For no other reason than laziness, greed, and discrimination against those who cannot indenture themselves because of the 13th amendment.