The reason behind job applications getting lost amid automated hiring systems

Next Idea Tech, Inc
6 min readNov 5, 2021


It’s no secret that the US labor market is facing an unprecedented crisis. The Great Resignation is here to stay for at least some time, as seen in recent statistics. With 4.3 million people leaving their jobs and job applications getting lost in the void, qualified coding candidates are tough to find. This means your company needs to be particularly careful during the hiring process while the market is still in a state of crisis. Especially if you want to hire software developers, as the IT sector has been rapidly switching to remote work alternatives.

Still, only a few suitable job candidates’ resumes make it to the hands of HR managers. Even if there are hundreds of other qualified coding candidates, you might never get to see their applications. Why? Because of the increased use of automated resume-scanning software. AI in hiring is not breaking news, as 13% of HR managers already see automated hiring systems as a regular part of the recruitment process. Still, this technology often leads to job candidates never getting a chance, even if they’re perfect for the position. Let’s dive into the automated hiring software dilemma!

Why are job applications getting lost and ignored? It’s all about the automated hiring software dilemma

Companies receive thousands of resumes, so AI in hiring sounds reasonable.

Let’s be real, we all know that companies don’t have the time to go through every resume that responds to a job posting. With every job offer attracting more than 250 resumes, it would be naive to think otherwise. That’s why automated hiring systems are probably here to stay. These AI’s screen resumes in place of HR workers, boosting recruitment productivity and saving money in the process. Some of them even take care of sourcing and matching as well. It’s easy to see why HR managers opt to include AI in hiring, but there’s a downfall to this innovation.

Automated hiring software relies on basic criteria.

The main issue with automated hiring software is that it relies heavily on basic criteria and repeated patterns. For example, some of them reject all candidates that don’t include a specific keyword or skill in their resume. This might sound reasonable at first. Still, job candidates getting rejected for blindly using a synonym instead of a keyword isn’t doing your HR department any favors. On the contrary, it’s preventing US businesses from interviewing potential candidates that can be just what they were looking for.

Take this recent study by Harvard Business School and Accenture as proof of the fault within the automated hiring system. According to it, 27 million people are unable to have success in finding a job because of AI in hiring. These “hidden workers” might have the perfect experience, qualifications, and cultural know-how for the job. Still, because of a few resume details, the system won’t let them in. Just think of the amount of qualified coding candidates your company might never get to interview!

Automated hiring systems can become biased.

AI in hiring works through a set of different patterns according to the company and each vacant position. Of course, this leads to people with the same “wrong” information on their resumes out of the hiring process at the earliest of stages. With so many repeated patterns, the US job market now has to deal with algorithm fairness. An automated hiring software tends to use historical data from within the company to determine which job candidates are a strong fit for the position, culture, and work environment.

Of course, this will inevitably lead to a perpetual bias ingrained into the recruitment procedures, unless the HR department takes deliberate measures to avoid it. The biased decisions made by the automated resume scanning software usually hurts the chances of hiring immigrants, people of color, candidates with mental or physical disabilities, and women. This is because the automated hiring systems learn from the people who are already in the company. So if that particular business isn’t very diverse, chances are things won’t change anytime soon. It’s not that the algorithm has a certain bias, but the patterns and company history act in a biased way.

Creative designs face a disadvantage to getting through AI in hiring.

Not only do automated hiring systems reject applicants based on biased company history and random keywords, but they can also deny certain applicants because of their resume design. This is a huge disadvantage if your company is part of a creative industry — like IT, entertainment, or digital marketing. Many qualified coding candidates want to show their creativity and design skills by including eye-catching elements in their resumes. Unfortunately, this leads to even more job applications getting lost amid automated hiring systems.

According to Michelle Dumas, CEO of Distinctive Career Services, a professional resume writing and career services firm, AI in hiring allows for attractive resume formatting, but if fancy design elements are used in the wrong way it can cause problems in the way the automated hiring software “reads” the resume into the system. These are some of the elements automated hiring software might have problems with:

  • Columns
  • Tables
  • Text boxes
  • Logos
  • Images
  • Graphics
  • Unique section headings
  • Hyperlinks
  • Headers and footers

It is best, advises Ms. Dumas, that job seekers who wish to graphically enhance their resume with modern design elements work with a professional resume writer who understands how these elements impact the parsing of resume content into automated resume-scanning software. For DIY job seekers, another option is to use hiring automation software-friendly resume templates, such as the Distinctive Resume Templates designed by Dumas.

There are both false positives and false negatives.

As with everything, mistakes can and will happen when using AI in hiring. There are always false negatives and false positives, which doesn’t save much time when looking for qualified coding candidates. Perhaps half of the resumes the automated hiring systems send to the HR manager are from those who managed to trick the algorithm but aren’t a strong fit. Or the perfect candidate didn’t optimize their resume for the AI’s and you’ll just never know. Both false negatives and positives prevent qualified job candidates from finding a suitable position.

Candidates don’t know the AI best practices.

At the end of the day, job applications are getting lost in the void because job candidates are mostly kept in the dark about AI in hiring. Those who are unaware of the best practices related to automated hiring systems face a major disadvantage. Even candidates who try to work around the automated resume scanning software can get rejected for the smallest of details. This is especially true within the remote software development industry — as many nearshore qualified coding candidates aren’t familiar with how automated hiring systems work. If we want to lessen the negative impact of AI in hiring, we need to teach job candidates how to avoid getting rejected by the system because of minor details.

Want to make sure you recruit the most qualified developers to join your company? We can help you find them!

As you can see, automated hiring systems are helpful to an extent, especially within the software development industry. If you want to lessen the burden of your HR department and save valuable time and resources in IT hiring, consider outsourcing developers. Here at Next Idea Tech, we offer both staff augmentation and direct placement services. Our recruitment process makes sure developers are identified and assessed by HR professionals and industry experts every step of the way. We guarantee you’ll find our handpicked coding candidates suitable for any programming solutions your company might need. Schedule a consultation with us today to learn more about how we can help you find software developers!



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