Job Application Screening Software Has a Patchy Track Record

Waiting to hear back for a job interview? Your résumé might never have gotten into human hands. Based on new Harvard Business School research, popular job application screening software used by companies to screen job applicants has filtered out more than 10 million potential employees.

How does the tech work?

An automatic screener largely relies on “negative” logic to reduce the size of the applicant pool.

Résumés — even those of well-qualified candidates — can get lost in a black hole because of things like a gap in the applicant’s employment history, a lack of certain credentials, or keywords that don’t match up with the job description.

Some of those keywords might not seem obvious. Hospitals set “computer programming” as a keyword when they look for registered nurses who can enter patient data into a computer, Joseph Fuller, Harvard’s lead researcher for the study, explained to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters

99% of Fortune 500 companies and 75% of the US employers Harvard surveyed use an automated scanner to initially filter applicants.

While there are 10 million job openings in the US that employers desperately want to fill, automated hiring systems are excluding viable candidates.

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