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Discussion on: Remote Work Interviews, Part I: Applying

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andrezzoid profile image
André Jonas Author

Hi David, thank you for your words! 🙏 I'm sorry but I'm not aware of what ATS means or what's suppose to happen, could you expand a bit?

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davidmaceachern profile image
David MacEachern • Edited on

Of course, abbreviations aren't helpful! I believe it stands for applicant tracking system and it's what compares the applicant's CV against the job spec to filter out applicants that don't use any relevant words.

Some of these systems use word stemming which means that the system might give the same score to a CV that has variations of the words that appeared in the job advert. The variations "engineer" and "engineering" for example, the system might view them as equal.

So maybe our rule of thumb could be "place keywords, communicate meaning", or something to that effect since the meaning of achievements might be irrelevant if the ATS doesn't see the keywords!

What do you think, have you encountered something similar in your process?

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andrezzoid profile image
André Jonas Author

Thanks David, think I understand now!

Well, first of all it seems a shame to place an algorithm to do the initial screening process for a company. I understand the need to cut some time off, but they'll probably cut some pretty good candidates inadvertently. On a personal level I'd also argue against working for such a company that tries to cut corners in hiring - if they don't invest in their hiring process, what else don't they invest in?

Aside from that personal opinion, when I say "less keywords, more meaning" I don't mean don't use keywords at all, they're still there but surrounded by text that give meaning to what you've done with those technologies/practices/whatever. So instead of:

Software Engineer at CompanyX

  • React, MobX

You could try something like:

Software Engineer at CompanyZ

  • I was part of the team that completely re-architected the app sign-up process. We've used React and MobX in an intense 6 month project that resulted in a 200% speedup compared to the previous version and an extra 30% sign-ups in the app.

Although the first one probably makes it easier for the ATS to parse, the second one is far more powerful:

  • It also has "keywords" for the ATS and recruiters to match against the job requirements
  • It's far more relatable for both non-technical or technical recruiters
  • It can convey other skills like communication or management skills
  • You're showcasing what you've done and the value that your work brought to the company
  • And it gives you something to talk about during interviews.

Hope it helps 🙏