Employers seeking new talent in a difficult market should reconsider how they screen for applicants, according to a new study of applicant tracking systems, or ATS, by Accenture and the Harvard Business Review. As reported in HR Dive, the study found that setting rigid criteria with these tools systematically excluded 88% of qualified candidates, a massive issue, especially at a time when many industries find it harder than ever to fill open positions.
These findings carry particular weight for companies seeking a more diverse staff, since the overzealous filtering can cut many potential employees from the hiring pool before they’re even evaluated by a human recruiter. Many employers who look at those so-called “hidden workers” excluded from early search results consider the action an act of corporate social responsibility, when in fact, the report argues, it should simply be seen as “a source of competitive advantage.”
The report also suggested that firms shift such filters from negative to affirmative, rewarding clients with the predetermined criteria instead of excluding those who don’t possess such skills or experience. Ignoring gaps in employment history is also a beneficial way to increase the number of potential candidates.