DEV Community

Cover image for How to Beat the Bots in Your Job Search
Stout Systems
Stout Systems

Posted on • Updated on

How to Beat the Bots in Your Job Search

Written by Samantha Ogletree, Marketing & Media Manager at Stout Systems

Have you been victimized by AI hiring practices? You are not alone!

In a February 2022 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, 79% of employers stated that they use artificial intelligence for recruitment and hiring. Ian Siegel, the CEO of ZipRecruiter, estimates that 75% of resumes submitted for job applications in 2022 were weeded out by AI. While businesses aren’t (yet) required to disclose whether they use AI to source and qualify candidates, new legislation may be on its way to attempt to regulate this practice of “algorithmic decision making”. But you probably don’t have time to wait for this change if you are currently in the job market! Although Stout Systems harnesses the use of Human Intelligence in our hiring practices, we thought we would share some tips for job seekers to “beat the bots”!

  1. Do not put anything on your resume or application that may disclose your age. This could include high school and college graduation dates, as well as outdated email addresses (leave the for your personal emails). Generally, employers are not intentionally trying to discriminate against candidates–that would only narrow their pool incredibly and get them in legal trouble. But, as we’ve seen in many cases with AI-based hiring models, discriminations can happen.

  2. Ditch the fancy formatting. There is no benefit to using fancy fonts and colors on your resume if it is going to be read by a machine. Stick with the same font throughout your resume. This also means no images, graphics, or special characters. While there's no definitive answer when it comes to the PDF versus Word document debate, there is a consensus to steer clear of other file formats.

  3. In order to make your resume machine-readable, use short sentences and keywords. These keywords can be derived from the job description for which you are applying. You can also search on any job posting site, like Indeed or LinkedIn, for similar roles and extract keywords from there. Make sure they are relevant to your skills and experience.

  4. List any and all licenses and certifications on your resume. Make sure to use both the acronyms as well as the full title.

  5. If there are gaps in your resume work history, fill them in with as much information as you can about what you did during that time. If you were a new parent, on a military deployment, or caring for a family member, try to account for that time by describing a project or learning assessment that you may have done to keep your skills current. Even if this isn’t much, addressing the elephant in the room (the gap) will not only prevent an algorithm from disqualifying you, but it will humanize you in the long run.

According to the Harvard Business School, there is an entire market of “hidden workers” that are being affected by AI constantly rejecting them in their job applications. They cited the following criteria as having disqualified them from securing work:

36% – years of experience

30% – employment gaps in resume

29% – academic performance

29% – professional credentials

26% – career progression (previous job titles and employers)

22% – skills

The reasons employers may have for using algorithmic tools in hiring are efficiency and cost-savings. But this practice presents a lot of roadblocks for candidates. Many applicants may never get in front of a hiring manager, even if they are the most qualified for the job. Fortunately, when you apply for a role with Stout Systems, your resume and application will not be fed to a robot and tossed into a black hole. We have humans that assess your skills and experience with the time and attention that you deserve. We pride ourselves in our communication with candidates, whether they are the right fit for a role or not. Recognizing potential in a resume requires reading between the lines of the candidate’s achievements and experiences. While an AI can certainly find every resume with the word “Java” on it faster than a human can, when it comes to making a match between the right candidate and the right role, it takes Human Intelligence to connect the dots.

Enjoyed our Getting Hired article? Sign up to receive a monthly article in your inbox!

If you're looking for a job in the tech industry, visit our job board to see if you qualify for some of our positions. If you're looking to hire technical talent for your company, please contact us.

Stout Systems is the software consulting and staffing company Fueled by the Most Powerful Technology Available: Human Intelligence®. We were founded in 1993 and are based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We have clients across the U.S. in domains including engineering, scientific, manufacturing, education, marketing, entertainment, small business and robotics. We provide expert level software, Web and embedded systems development consulting and staffing services along with direct-hire technical recruiting and placements.

Top comments (0)