Network to get out of the ATS Black Hole

Are you applying to jobs and hear nothing back? It could be that you have fallen victim to the Application Tracking System, (ATS) black hole! How do you get out of it? You talk to people, you conduct informational interviews with people you know/want to know in target companies that you want to work at. Did you know that 1 in every 16 referred candidates is hired?

job candidate hiring

Donna Svei at Avid Careerist cited a one-year source-of-hire efficiency study from 2016 by the recruitment marketing firm Lever that demonstrates the power of internal referrals. This graph shows how one in every 16 referred candidates was hired, compared to only one in every 152 candidates who applied and had their resumes land in an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

How can you stay out of the black hole of the ATS process? Get to work networking!

Follow these networking tips to make a strategic first step:

  1. Find someone working at a company that you want to work at. It can be a 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree connection. Connect with them on LinkedIn or ask a mutual connection to connect you.

  2. Write a message and comment on their career and ask if they have 30 minutes to talk with you.

  3. Set up a convenient time to talk and ask them about their career, people love to tell their stories.

  4. Actively listen, take notes, show interest, and follow up to continue the conversation.

  5. Talk about topics that excite you and then the conversation becomes natural.

Networking is all about meeting people and making connections. Your goal is to differentiate yourself from other candidates and be a recognizable brand. You want to build an internal groundswell of support and connections within the organization. Networking will provide you a competitive edge and help you not be one of the 152 applications that never sees the light of day!

Anne Lipsitz