The impact of AI on applying for your first job

If there’s any universal truth about AI, it’s that it will dramatically impact almost every facet of business, even when it comes to those looking from the outside in: job-seekers.

The impact of AI on the job application process is becoming more and more important as organisations rely on technology in their hiring process. Fewer resumes appear in front of a real person now, it’s an AI who calls the shots when it comes to collecting, reviewing and considering applicants.

We are beyond imagining AI’s potential in better matching job-seekers to open positions, this is happening as we speak. One recent study showed that 491 out of 500 (98.2 percent) of Fortune 500 companies use some form of applicant tracking system (ATS)1. Many online job boards do the same.

University students should pay attention to the emerging technologies affecting job application processes as they could be commonplace by the time they graduate. If anything, automated screenings are an opportunity for first-timers to avoid potential human biases which might favour more experienced candidates.

Modern candidates are more likely to overcome the AI if they understand how the underlying technology acts, so read on to get ahead of the pack!

Job Application and AI

Currently, the main use for AI in job application is resume filtering. AI-powered programs use different algorithms to scan and filter resumes and then assign scores to candidates, all in real-time. In doing so, the AI does a lot of work to form a decision on whose resume matches the organisation’s needs. By default, this means a lot of resumes aren’t seen by human eyes.

These programs filter by analyzing your skills and experience to align with the requirements of the position in question. To a certain extent, including keywords in your resume will help you score with these programs. However, the systems have evolved and become more intelligent, matching phrases, entire sentences and even paragraphs.

Some tools analyse job descriptions and use an existing employee, typically a top-performing one, as a basis for comparison and meaningful ranking. Others use interactive elements such as automated video interviews, questionnaires or games to gauge certain skills. This is especially common when an organisation wants a candidate with skills like critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and communication.

Building a talent pool

Furthermore, AI’s impact in hiring can also help to build a talent pipeline. After all, most companies are sitting on a treasure trove of resumes from candidates who previously applied but weren’t hired.

In fact, you don’t even have to apply for the job to be considered by some companies. The aptly-named passive job search process is a popular method of using technology to find qualified candidate information through well-kept profiles on professional networking and career-focused sites like LinkedIn, AngelList, Hired and others.

For first-time job seekers, AI can be the gateway to discovering an ideal job and securing it. Some businesses have an open-door policy, allowing candidates to add their resumes even if there aren’t any open positions available. This way, both sides profit: an organisation collects information on those interested in working there while candidates are considered for future roles, regardless of whether they actively apply for it.

Being strategic is key

Effective hiring is achieved with the right processes mixed with the right technology. The same can be said for job hunting and applying. With technology advancing inch by inch each day, graduates seeking their first job must practice proper job search and application techniques along with processing the required skills and knowledge.

In order to have the best chance of getting your resume seen, it’s mandatory to know how AI is scanning your application and apply various techniques involving keywords, formatting and virtual interaction2.

Those familiar with optimising their resumes and applications for the technology can gain an advantage, or at least understand what exactly they are facing. The algorithms aren’t perfect, but you can make the best of them to succeed.

Murdoch Marketing Australia

1. Over 98% of Fortune 500 Companies Use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
2. What Is an ATS? How to Write a Resume to Beat the Bots