SoloPoint Insights

AI VS Recruiter — Get Past Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

90% of Fortune 500 companies use an Applicant Tracking System or ATS to post open positions and leverage AI algorithms to qualify applicants. 

For job seekers, ATS are a quick and convenient way to apply for jobs but with the benefits, there are some challenges:


  • If the skills you list in your resume are a direct match to the job description, the ATS will rank it above other applicants, putting you in front of the line. 
  • Some ATS include pre-screening questionnaires and skills tests to gauge candidates’ competencies even before an interview. This could potentially shorten the interview timeline since pre-vetting is completed through the system. 
  • Some ATS have candidate application tracking status functions that provide transparency to the hiring process. The candidate can see if their profile has been viewed by the hiring personnel and if it is being escalated to the next stage. 
  • Because the system purely relies on keyword-matching algorithms, age, race, and gender are absolutely nonfactors, ensuring equal opportunity among all applicants.


  • 88% of the human resource and hiring managers who participated in a study conducted by Harvard Business School indicated that ATS’ inflexible algorithms tend to disqualify highly skilled candidates if they are missing certain keywords from their resumes. 
  • That same study also shows that ATS would eliminate resumes that have 6 months or longer gaps between jobs, which tend to eliminate key demographics such as military veterans, immigrants, homemakers, working students, etc.
  • The ATS algorithms could be manipulated, according to a viral TikTok video. The Tik Tok user, Beige Vader, recommended copying and pasting the actual job description at the bottom of a resume, using small fonts, and then using a white font color for the texts to make it invisible. This will “trick” the ATS to identify the resume as a  100% match to the job description and will, therefore, be moved up to the top of the list. Though this may not be effective in getting through the next rounds, it is a good example of how algorithms are not completely infallible in qualifying and disqualifying candidates.


As expected, combining Artificial Intelligence with Human Intelligence is the winning combination.  Applicants who cover their bases by applying for jobs via ATS, and working with experienced recruiters, tend to see better results:

Beyond keywords: 

Having a human touch in evaluating resumes can reduce the likelihood of being disqualified by the algorithm due to missing keywords. Experienced Recruiters will make the connection between technical skills and relevant industry experience and will escalate candidates to the next stage even if key “buzzwords” are missing from the resume.

Life happens:

Career gaps can be explained and discussed with a human recruiter, not so much with AI. The same can be applied to career shifts and other life events that may cause one’s resume to appear to be non-linear.  An experienced recruiter will seek to understand applicants’ overriding goals, and career trajectory and help to overcome inaccurate or negative perceptions.

Economy of scale: 

Job hunting is an arduous task. According to Balance Careers, searching, applying, networking, and interviewing for jobs can take up to 25 hours a week. Working with an experienced recruiter from a specialized staffing firm will help “kill many birds with one stone”.  Specialized staffing firms will typically have visibility on many open positions and can present multiple options that align with the applicant’s job-seeking goals.

The Big Picture:

Recruiters will endeavor to not only understand a candidate’s professional background but also want to understand the candidate’s career goals and ideal lifestyle. This insight allows the recruiter to identify and present jobs and companies that meet the candidate’s professional and personal aspirations.

Are you ready to make a career jump? Schedule a call with one of SoloPoint Solutions’ Technical Recruiters today! We can help guide you in your search for a new engineering position:

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