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Wednesday, 12 September 2018 01:18

Jobseekers adapt CVs for algorithm screening: report

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Four in five jobseekers have adapted, or plan to adapt, their CVs and online profiles for initial screening by an algorithm, according to an online poll of 6000 people conducted by a major recruiting firm.

The poll by Hays recruitment claims 27% of the respondents indicated they had already adapted their CV and online profiles. But another 54% plan to do so in the coming 12 months – while 19% said they have no plans to adapt.

“Artificial intelligence and automated machine learning algorithms are being utilised in every industry, including recruitment,” says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand.

“Typically, it is time consuming and repetitive tasks that are being automated. In the case of recruitment, one job ad can elicit hundreds, sometimes thousands, of responses. Many of these may be inappropriate but all must be screened in order to identify the suitable candidates. If a recruiter does not advertise, they’ll instead use digital technology and data science to examine large amounts of data to find the most suitable people for a job.

“With the aid of AI and algorithms, such time consuming processes now take seconds, allowing recruiters and hiring managers to provide a more personal service and engage with skilled and experienced professionals,” Deligiannis said.

Hays has the following advice for how one can ensure an application makes it past the algorithms and reaches a shortlist:

  1. Add keywords: Pepper your CV and online profile with keywords relevant to the job/s you apply for. If you aren’t sure of suitable keywords, look at job descriptions for your ideal role. Don’t forget keywords for the required soft skills, too.
  2. Describe achievements: Use these keywords throughout your CV and online profile to describe your achievements. For example, “I used my communication skills to liaise with colleagues in other departments, then applied my analytical nous to develop business case proposals and tenders accordingly.” Make sure you link keywords with proof that you did your previous jobs well. A simple trick is to combine an action verb with a keyword. For example, instead of writing that you “always achieved your target goals”, try “I surpassed target goals by 20% in quarter 1 and 18% year-on-year.”
  3. Use an accepted CV format: Ensure your CV is in the accepted format as an alternative style might not contain the content AI recognises, meaning your application could fail to make the shortlist.
  4. Utilise LinkedIn: Create a strong LinkedIn profile. Many people leave the summary field blank, but you should use the full character count to highlight your successes, skills and value. Of course, use appropriate keywords here, too.
  5. Avoid unusual job titles: Even if your official job title is a little unconventional, use an industry-standard title in your CV and online profile so it will be recognised by an algorithm.
  6. Don’t job-hop: Unless you are a temporary worker, do not change jobs frequently. Hiring managers do value stability and turnover can be factored into the criteria AI screens for.

“Recruitment will always remain a people business,” says Deligiannis. “At its heart are trusted relationships, which means that the value of the human touch can’t be over-estimated. But at the same time, technological advancements are speeding up certain elements of the process. Recruitment is evolving, and we all need to evolve with it.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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