“Studies have shown that up to 75% of qualified applicants are rejected by ATS programs because they can’t be read” (Source: Article posted March 18, 2014, on Forbes.)
But is that true? Let’s have a close look at that statement.
That Forbes article was written by the ‘founder of a resume service’, aka person behind a company that is helping people with their resumes for money. It was more of an advertisement than an article. On April 17, 2018, CIO.com published another article that has been often quoted on the internet, like the Forbes one. That article included a statement, “Most companies have thousands of resumes sitting in a database that they’ve never looked at. In fact, 75 percent are never seen by a real person.” Again, no relevant data or study is cited in support of this statement.
During my research, I found several resume-writing services and many articles that say their sources are these articles I mentioned or the search firm Preptel (which is now out of business), but what a ‘surprise’ — they were also offering resume-writing services.
I found one article from 2013 describing an example of the hiring funnel: “75 of those 100 resumes will be screened out by either the ATS or a recruiter, 25 resumes will be seen by the hiring manager.” That made me believe that this article became a primary source for that 75 percent statement.
Is it really 75%?
75% looks like a good number to get attention and also create frustration in readers that this is not fair that so many applicants are disqualified by ATS software. That’s why so many other articles and career coaches blindly adopt this lie without any proper research.
During the last few years, I spoke with dozens of recruiters about their recruitment process, and that statement doesn’t reflect reality at all. Based on what I heard over these years, 90–95%+ of all applications are viewed by a human. Large organizations also have a team of people dedicated to checking every resume and presenting those resumes that recruiters preselect.
What happens to the remaining 5–10% of all resumes? Many of them are not viewed due to the workload of recruiters being higher than usual. And several resumes could be lost via…