• How AI Killed My Career and Yours Too

    ***The following is printed with the permission of the author who wishes to remain anonymous as they are still trying to find employment in their chosen field and have a family to feed and a mortgage to pay. The views expressed in this commentary are their own. ***

    I’ve been a hiring manager/recruiter for over 25 years. Now that I am leaving the profession to pursue other goals I thought I would spill the beans and let you know how your job search really works. Maybe I should have titled this ” How Artificial Intelligence  is already killing your Career OR Why You’re Not Getting Your Dream Job Any Time Soon”

    Want to know why you’re not getting that dream job you’d be perfect for? Read on and learn what you can do to flip the tables on all the AI, algorithms and other tech that’s keeping you from succeeding.

    I used to think I could make a difference and find the right people that would push an organization forward to success. After-all you can’t have a wining company with out the right people propelling it forward. Over the last 5 years, all that has changed. Today I’ve become nothing more than an overpriced phone scheduler and social media investigator. I can read the writing on the wall…my profession is doomed. I’ve been replaced by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and computers that management thinks can do a better job of finding the right people for the organization.

    The Future of Work is total bullsh*t. There’s all this hype about creating the “Workplace of the Future“ with all its lofty goals of creating a harmonious and synergistic organizations. HR is supposed to be at the forefront of helping organizations create this “goal“ but that stopped as soon as AI was introduced into the system to “help us”.

    You see, for all the resumes that you’ve sent into all those companies, including mine, I’ve never read one of them… not one. There is this little thing called the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which is an Artificial Intelligence and machine learning system that is supposed to be the “smart“ solution to hiring the perfect candidate. Actually it’s a glorified algorithm that ranks your resume just like Google ranks websites. The only thing it cares about is keywords and keyword density…. oh it also works to determine your age, gender and sexual preferences … but more on that later.

    So what has my job devolved into you ask? Well the shiny Applicant Tracking System (otherwise known as the Artificial Intelligence) spits out about 4-6 reports on individuals that dared to apply to the job posting. I usually only look at the top 2-3 and toss the rest. Then I spend a day or so looking at all of their online profiles and Google them to see what comes up. Usually it’s a doozy! You’d be AMAZED at the number of people I can eliminate just from their online profiles!

    Do you really think that only your friends are checking out your online profiles? I’ve been able to eliminate job candidates that the ATS thought were “perfect” in less than 10 seconds just looking through their online profiles.

    I’ve seen everything from inappropriate or wildly political postings, overtly sexual images or posts to questionable drinking or drug use. I’ll be generous here photos of you doing something stupid, unprofessional or illegal is a job killer. What if you decide NOT to post you photo on LinkedIn or Facebook? Basically, you’re telling me that you can’t even spend the effort to create a professional looking image, after all your online profile is your first impression I have of you and if its not positive then I’ll just move on to the next applicant.

    Here is how you probably THINK the hiring process works.

    1. You see a job posting you feel is a good fit
    2. You take your saved resume and maybe make some minor tweaks
    3. You submit your resume using the online system
    4. The system sends you an email saying your resume is under review
    5. A group of people gather to review your resume to determine if you’re a good fit.
    6. If they all agree, you get called in for an interview along with a few others.
    7. They decide whom to offer the job to

    About 2% of the time you will get an email that says, “Unfortunately, you were not a good fit”. About .5% of the time you will get a call from me or someone like me to set up a telephone interview. Then you’ll compete with 2-3 other people for the position and maybe one of you will get hired.

    How the process REALLY works:

    1. You see a job posting you feel is a good fit
    2. You take your saved resume and maybe make some minor tweaks
    3. You submit your resume using the online system
    4. The system sends you an email saying your resume is under review
    5. The ATS begins ranking your resume against all the other resumes using keyword density, date analysis, position and title and a linked database with so much info about you you’d be terrified.
    6. The ATS spits out maybe the top 5 candidates that it determine are a good fit in its infinite and growing wisdom
    7. I throw out the bottom 2 candidates automatically
    8. I spend maybe 20 -30 mins searching the online profiles and Google search for each of the candidates and make snap judgments based on what I see and how I think you might fit in which helps me eliminate another 1-2 of the candidates. Then I set up a phone interview to make sure you can speak coherently based on the position you applied for.
    9. Now if these 2 candidates don’t work out, I simply start the whole process over again as there is no need to go back over all the resumes that were rejected by the ATS in the first place…which is why it can sometimes take months to fill a position and you might see the same job posting that you applied to pop up several times in a row.

    In the very near future, I wont even have to review your online profiles as the AI is exceedingly adept at pulling a ton of information from your Profile Photos alone, and scanning your online profile and posts is a snap now too.

    Don’t believe me? Go check out: https://www.haystack.ai or https://onlineprofilepros.com/annie/ to get a mere hint of what AI image recognition can do. I occasionally use these systems to test images of candidates I’m not sure about.

    In no small part the AI can make a determination of your gender, ethnicity, age, attractiveness, personality and social presence. What you might not know is that based on a number of images it finds of you across all your online profiles it will soon rank you in terms of perceived wealth, relationships, politics and a host of other attributes you would never expect, like sexuality, sexual orientation and probability of getting pregnant in the near future (if it classifies you as a woman between the ages of 18-38 that is). Of course it can scan your written profile and make sure that it matches your resume and the database will match your past work history.

    All of this get a ranking that determines your likelihood of getting your dream job. Heck the scheduling software is now so good I don’t even need to make a phone call to set up an interview.

    So what does all that mean for you and your chance of getting your dream job? What’s the secret to beating the system? I’m going to lay it all out here and for the foreseeable future this will work to help you start a career, even one your are minimally qualified for.

    Step 1: Get a better photo

    Invest in a professional photo shoot to use across all your social media, its worth it in the long run and will go a long way to creating the right vibe for your profiles. You can use images from the same shoot across all your social media and even dating sites (if you’re using dating Apps). A pro image tells people that you’re a professional that cares about their personal brand and it will earn higher rankings from the ATS than a cell phone selfie, a drunken snapshot in a bar, a group image or worse. Check out “What does your profile Photo say about you” to learn more

    Step 2: Clean up your damn profiles!

    Make sure your resume dates and info match your online profiles. Delete old comments and images you don’t want the ATS/Employers to see. Hell if your on Facebook create 2 profiles, one for friends and family and then one for the “public” Make your friends and family profile a private account to Keep the ATS out of there (for the time being). Basically you do not want anything out there that the ATS can use to down rank you.

    Step 3: Google your name

    Do a basic Google search to find out what, if anything comes up, make sure to check out the “Images ” search results as well in case you need to ask someone to take something down.

    Step4: Wait at least 30 days

    You need to wait for many different system caches to clear after updating your profile photos and cleaning your social media. While this is a good rule of thumb, the truth is the sheer amount of data on you is staggering. There are deep searches that can be done on your past but most ATS/ AI systems don’t need to go to far back to rank you.

    Step 5: Review keywords and keyword density on job postings

    The ATS is just like a mini-Google search of your resume. It looks for exact match terms / keywords and keyword density to rank your resume and hence job opportunity.

    Therefore, your saved resume is rarely going to be a good fit for the ATS. I know you spent a lot of time on the perfect resume and resume format but to the ATS its a pile of Sh*t.

    You need to read the job posting carefully, especially the requirements section. you will need to modify your resume to the job posting completely to rank high enough to make it through to me or one of my colleagues. There are even tools available just to figure out the keywords in a job posting. Google “resume keyword density” and find one that works for you. That way you will learn the key terms the job posting is looking for. Use the exact terms at least 3-4 times throughout the resume. Make sure you use the exact same titles that the requirements are looking for in your previous jobs, i.e if the job is for a Vice President, don’t list your previous title as “VP”.

    One more thing, you might think that once your determine the keywords you can just copy them a 100 times to the bottom of your resume, WRONG the system can detect keyword stuffing easily. You can use the keywords but it needs to be a more organic placement.

    Make sure every “requirement” listed in the job posting shows up somewhere on your resume. If one of the requirement is experience with “Microsoft Project”, make sure “Microsoft Project” shows up somewhere in your resume…even if you’ve never heard of Microsoft Project, it needs to show up. Don’t worry you can watch a few YouTube ” How to ” videos to catch up on all you need to know about it.

    Step 6: Don’t worry about fancy formatting

    Remember you’re writing for a computer AI not “me” all it needs is raw text. While you can literally send in a .txt file most people just send in a MS Word doc, which is fine. Some ATS still have problems with PDFs (not every company upgrades their ATS as often as they should). “Unreadable” resumes ie PDFs, or ones with weird formatting, simply get thrown out by the AI system.

    Step 7: Don’t include a cover letter ..send it directly to the hiring manager

    Some ATS systems allow you to send a heart felt cover letter along with your resume. Why? It never gets read and is waste of your time. Rather, if possible figure out who the hiring manager is or even the head of HR of the company you’re applying to and send the cover letter directly to them via Linkedin. Make sure to mention the job posting title and “job Number” if one is available. While there is a 50-50 chance they will read your Linkedin InMail and cover letter, if they do see it and you make it through the ATS it will give you a huge boost. In fact, occasionally I’ve seen hiring managers secretly bypass the ATS and add a candidate directly to the pile even if the ATS did not spit them out.

    Step 8 optional: Network like crazy and bypass the ATS altogether.

    If there is a company you really want to work for or a position you really want, then start network now. While you will still need a better profile photo and a clean online profiles it is possible to bypass the AI and beat the ATS for the simple reason the at one point a manager rights a job posting for a position they need to fill. If they already know you/about you and your desire to work then they might offer the job before they even bother to stat the whole AI thing down the rabbit hole to conjure up some candidates… or at the very least might get you added to the top of the pile.

    I hope this helps and for Gods sake don’t waste your time pursuing a career in Human Resources, it’s been taken over by AI and there is no turning back. As one of the first white collar jobs to fall to the new AI hierarchy, I will definitely take that into account when applying to my next career. I’ll be sure to use all the tools I just told you about to defeat the AI and get a high paying job so I can feed my family and pay the mortgage.

    You too can defeat the Ai and fix your online profiles with your new found knowledge. Welcome to the resistance!

    *****

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