How automated systems are hurting hospitals' hiring efforts

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Employers are increasingly relying on automated software to sort through applicants, but millions of potential candidates are being skipped over, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 4.

A recent study from Boston-based Harvard Business School showed how heavily organizations rely on automated hiring systems, with 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies employing them to parse through potential candidates. These systems, though, can make it hard for applicants to stand out. The hiring software is easily tripped up by a variety of factors. For instance, the longer a job description, the more challenging it is for applicants to measure up to it. Gaps in resumes or cross-industry jargon also make it less likely that the system will rank potential candidates favorably.

Joseph Fuller, lead researcher of the study and professor at Harvard Business School, cited examples of hospitals scanning résumés of registered nurses for "computer programming" when actually what they needed was data entry experience.

To combat these system downfalls and ensure the best talent is hired, companies are rethinking their strategies. IBM has removed certain educational requirements and rewritten job descriptions more accurately and subsequently saw a 63 percent increase in underrepresented minority applicants. Other companies hire from special programs or have reverted to the traditional approach of relying on human hiring managers.

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