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More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

Don’t be a feline, make a beeline to these employers

➔ The other day our Nifty Tip of the Day addressed the issue of how to get around an employer’s ATS screening process. These applicant tracking systems have been specifically designed to eliminate as many job applicants for a particular position as possible. And with companies receiving literally hundreds of resumes per position, this makes the HR staff’s job immeasurably easier.

That’s not your job

It is not your responsibility to lighten the workload for representatives of the HR department. Sure, you can show a little compassion for those overworked and under paid drones, but at the end of the day, your job is to get through the software jungle to arrive face-to-face with a real, live, breathing human being. And the ATS will do everything within its power to prevent that.

Our piece the other day outlined six ways to slay the ATS monster. They are: 1. Customize your resume. 2. Use standard formatting. 3. Focus on relevant experience. 4. Avoid graphics and images. 5. Apply directly on the company's website. And, 6. Network.

There is another way. This approach doesn’t so much go around the ATS as it avoids it all together. Starting with the premise that ATS software can be very expensive, it would follow that only larger companies that are constantly searching for new employees can justify that kind of investment.

So to avoid the ATS, apply to smaller companies with maybe no more than 50 employees. Their turnover is generally lower; they don’t have large HR departments and they don’t hire as often. Ergo, they are more likely not to have an ATS in the first place.

The downside can be finding such companies may be difficult. Difficult, yes. Impossible, no! Through various databases (see your local librarian), LinkedIn and your own networking, you would be amazed at how many smaller companies there are. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are more than 33 million small businesses in the U.S. and they employ nearly half of all American workers.

When (not if) you find yourself frustrated by the ATS dominated employers, do what Volkswagen suggested in its earliest ads for the VW Beetle: Think Small.


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