Understanding what happens to your resume after you hit submit is key to making sure that you build an effective resume. There are a number of different systems and people that will review your resume to evaluate you as a candidate for the open job. Here is what you need to know about what happens after you hit submit and how that impacts what to put on your resume.
Step 1 - Applicant Tracking Systems
Your resume will go through a number of talent acquisition technology programs after you hit submit. How many and which programs review it will depend on where you are applying to and how you hit submit.
If you are applying directly to the company on their job board, you are applying directly in their applicant tracking system (ATS). Every single field in that application will send your data to a corresponding spot in the employer's system. So, you need to fill out every single field, fully to make sure that your information is getting to the right place when applying. The employer's ATS will then analyze your data to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for the posting as listed in the job description. If you do not have the right keywords in the right place on your resume, you will be rejected by the program or otherwise marked as not a fit in the employer's system. Thus, your application will not make it past step 1.
If you are applying to the job through a commercial job board (meaning one where the company pays to place the ad like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, or Glassdoor), then your information may or may not go to the ATS. If the employer has integrated their applicant tracking system, the data will be pulled over from the job board into the employer's system. So, how you set up your profile on those commercial job boards will matter as that is often the information that is sent over to the ATS - not just the resume that you submit.
If the employer has not connected their ATS with the commercial job board where the job is posted, then it requires someone to download and put your information into their ATS. This requires a person to capture the resume (or other data sent by the commercial job board) and to copy/paste or upload the files. The person doing this is often doing all of the applications at the same time. So, they will be importing a number of files at once. If your file is not properly configured, there is a strong chance that the person won't fix it for you to make sure that it gets in the company's ATS. Instead, that person will likely move on to the next application. This is why some candidates never hear back as your data is dropped early in the process because of technical issues that you may never know about.
Step 2 - Sourcer or Recruiting Assistant
After your application makes it into the company's ATS, a person will review your information. In some companies, this will be the sourcer (person sourcing candidates) or the recruiting assistant. This person is often the one that will import the data to the ATS who then reviews the data in the ATS to determine whether the person generally meets the qualifications in the job posting. This person will use the analytics in the ATS or make quick decisions about a candidate based on how the data gets into the company's system. So, if your data doesn't come through right, then you will be marked as not qualified or rejected for the job (if it wasn't done automatically by the system).
The sourcer or recruiting assistant can rate candidates in some systems based on the strength of the candidate's information in the system. However, many ATS will do this for the recruiters. The recruiters will also change this rating after they review the information and/or talk to the candidate.
The candidates that have made it past this step will be sent to the recruiter working on the job to determine if the person should be interviewed. Or, the sourcer/recruiting assistant will simply schedule the screening interviews for the recruiter. Increasingly, this means automated video interviews that do not require a person to participate in the screening process.
Step 3 - Recruiter
Next, your application information will be sent to the recruiter. Really, this is more of notification in most employer applicant tracking systems. The recruiter assigned to the job will receive an alert that certain candidates are ready for review or that will be interviewed. This recruiter will be working on multiple jobs (regardless of whether they are an internal or external recruiter). So, they may look back to the job description in the ATS. Or, they may look at the analytics in the ATS and what the sourcer/recruiting assistant has done to date.
From there, the recruiter will click a few buttons in the ATS to send you the invites for the screening interviews. This means a series of automated emails or they may send you a direct invite for the interview. Really, this depends on how the company has configured their ATS and how that recruiter uses it.
Next, if you make the cut, you will be scheduled for a screening interview. This could be done by the recruiter themselves or by an automated video interviewing tool.
Step 4 - Screening Interview (Phone or Video)
The next step in the hiring process for most companies at this point is to have the candidate complete a screening interview. The person or system that will interview you will use your resume to ask you questions. This conversation is all about your qualifications for the job and basic fit for the company culture. Thus, these interviews typically last about 15 - 30 minutes.
The person and/or systems used at this stage are not experts in what you do. Instead, they are experts in hiring and they are given directions by the hiring managers or the team to find a person with certain qualifications, experiences, or skills. So, the person interviewing you will ask you questions about those particular abilities or requirements as they are listed on your resume or on the job description.
The person or system will also ask you about some obvious questions that may arise on your resume. This could be things like an employment gap, why you are ready to make a change, your strengths, interest/knowledge in the company, etc. The person or systems that conduct this interview will enter their notes in the system about your responses and how that matches up with your resume. That information will then be sent to the hiring manager or you'll receive a rejection.
Step 5- Hiring Manager
At this point, you have largely been deemed qualified for the role. The hiring manager will make one more sweep of your resume before scheduling an interview with you. They will review your resume to determine if you have the right type of experience that they need for this role. This person is an expert in your industry and profession. So, they will be looking for a greater level of detail on your resume.
Many hiring managers will give deference to the recruiting team that this person meets the qualifications and will schedule the interview with you. Now the focus of the interviewing will mostly shift. The hiring manager will want to know what makes you different and how that could fit into their team. They will ask you questions about your resume to understand the depth of your knowledge and experience. This person will want to know the details and they will understand the jargon or technical information that you want to share. This person may also ask you about shared connections, clients, or others that they expect that you would know based on your resume. If there is overlap like this, the hiring manager may decide to reach out to those people after the interview to further vet you for the position. Most hiring managers won't jeopardize your current job or standing in the industry, so they will do so strategically to learn more about you or the work that you say that you have done on your resume or in the interview.
Based on how this conversation goes and the bigger plan for hiring, it is quite possible that your application will get sent on to the next step of the process which is typically more interviews and/or testing.
Step 6 - More Interviews
Many companies will include another round of interviews after the hiring manager conversation. This could be a round of interviews with colleagues, interviews with the hiring manager's boss, people from departments that will work with the person, etc. The number of additional interviews and who is in them will depend on the particular company's hiring process and the role. It is also not uncommon for this step of the process to include tests of your abilities. This could be a case study type of interview, technical skills testing, personality testing, or other types of knowledge testing to better validate you as a candidate.
Your resume will proceed right along with you through this process. Who you are interviewing with and what they will be looking for on your resume will vary dramatically. Most people at this stage of the process will presume that you are qualified for the role. Instead, they will be looking for fit. Are you someone they like and that they could work with? Are you a threat or will you make their jobs easier? These things matter and the people interviewing you at this stage could make these determinations based on your resume. So, make sure that you are using those nuggets of information from your resume and using them as talking points in these interviews to show how you are a fit for the role and for the company. Do not assume that the person has fully read your resume. Instead, reference your resume and incorporate those details in your conversations.
If all goes well at this stage, you should get the offer for the job. If not, then the process will be over for you with this opportunity. So, hopefully, you have continued to apply to other companies and jobs along the way.
The steps above are the minimum steps that happen in most companies in the current market for most jobs. In some cases, the process will stop at Step 5. But, in most cases, there are some additional interviews beyond the first conversation with the hiring manager. As a result, this process typically lasts about 2 months from the date that you hit submit to the final interviews. In some cases, it can be much longer or shorter depending on the organization. So, when you hurry up and hit submit, know that it could be some time before you know how the opportunity will work out.
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