Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have become a standard tool for HR professionals. They save time and streamline the hiring process by automating repetitive tasks and quickly sorting through countless resumes and applications. Yet, a startling statistic has come to light:

88% of ATS users admit that their systems are eliminating qualified candidates.

– Harvard Business School Report

In this post, we’ll explore the reasons behind this surprising statistic, the consequences of relying solely on ATS screening software, and why you should consider integrating valid and fair talent assessments into your hiring process.

ATS benefits and drawbacks

ATS platforms offer significant value. They help HR professionals manage a high volume of applicants efficiently and can screen candidates based on specific keywords, qualifications, and experience. However, the over-reliance on these systems can lead to unintended consequences. Candidates who may possess valuable skills or attributes not easily quantifiable through keywords or qualifications are often left behind in the process.

“. . . Employers are inadvertently, automatically, screening out really great candidates. . .”

Joseph A. Allen, professor of industrial/organizational psychology, University of Utah

The 88% statistic should serve as a wake-up call to employers. While ATS platforms can be an essential component of the hiring process, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Relying solely on an ATS to screen candidates can lead to the loss of potentially exceptional employees, simply because they don’t fit a specific hiring profile or algorithm.

Consequences of Over-Reliance on an ATS

Traditional screening methods primarily focus on qualifications, work experience, and education, often overlooking critical factors such as skills, adaptability, and cultural fit. As a result, candidates who could bring unique perspectives, fresh ideas, and innovative thinking to your organization might be unfairly excluded from consideration.

In describing the pros and cons of ATS software, recruiting expert Peter Porebski states, “For the most part, an ATS will stick within your boundaries when screening resumes. This means some great candidates might get eliminated from the running because they only have four of the five skills you listed as requirements or are one year shy of the years of experience you requested.”

Furthermore, biases can creep into the process when screening candidates based on qualifications alone. Unconscious biases can lead to the exclusion of candidates from diverse backgrounds, which can hinder innovation and limit the overall growth of your company.

Role of Valid and Fair Talent Assessments

To address the shortcomings of ATS screening methods, employers are adding valid and fair talent assessments to their screening processes. These assessments offer a more holistic view of a candidate’s abilities, potential, and cultural fit within the organization. Here’s why you should consider incorporating them into your hiring process:

Objective Evaluation

Talent assessments provide a standardized and objective way to evaluate candidates, reducing the impact of unconscious biases and ensuring a level playing field for all applicants.

Identifying Potential

Well-designed assessments go beyond qualifications, helping you identify candidates with the potential to grow, adapt, and thrive in your organization, even if they lack certain experience or qualifications.

Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion

Talent assessments can contribute to building a more diverse and inclusive workforce by considering a broader range of skills and attributes.

Better Fit for Your Culture

Assessments can help you identify candidates who align with your company’s culture and values, promoting a more cohesive and productive team.

In pursuit of the best talent, savvy employers strive for balance between efficiency and accuracy.  While ATS platforms provide a valuable service, they should not be the sole determinant of a candidate’s suitability for a job. By incorporating valid and fair talent assessments into your screening process, you’ll safeguard against unwittingly eliminating great candidates.

Remember, the true value of an employee often lies beyond the keywords
on their resume. 

With the right tools, you can unlock their full potential and make more informed hiring decisions.

Have questions about integrating talent assessments into your ATS screening process?  Talk with one of our assessment experts today by  connecting here or calling 888.332.0648. Our consultants can help you strike the right balance so you can start tapping into hidden talent!



Harvard Business School Report.  Hidden Workers:  Untapped Talent

Human Resources Director.  Are Employers Losing Out on Valuable Talent Because of Their ATS?