Common Applicant Tracking System Myths Busted ReporterBy Reporter
November 6th, 2023 • 3 Minutes

Trying to find a job can often feel like an attempt to crack a secret code. The applicant tracking system (ATS) is shrouded in myths that add to the confusion surrounding the job search process. It’s time to debunk some common misconceptions and focus on the facts.

An ATS is the software that scans resumes before a human recruiter ever sees them. Many theories abound regarding how these gatekeeper systems work, leading to rampant speculation.

This article will demystify some of the most prevalent myths about these applicant filtering tools. We’ll provide tips grounded in the best current knowledge to help talent acquisition pros educate candidates, while also arming job seekers with information to optimize their approach.

With clarified insights, recruiters can better advise applicants on tailoring resumes to appeal to both applicant tracking software and human eyes reviewing them. Let’s banish misinformation and unlock your potential to ace the screening. The journey of enlightenment starts here.

Myth 1: AI is the Ultimate Decision Maker

A pervasive myth suggests that artificial intelligence within ATS holds supreme power, acting as the sole decision maker regarding your job application. However, while AI has an influential role in resume screening, the truth is more nuanced.

It’s true that machine learning algorithms assess applicants in the initial phases, scanning resumes for keywords, data patterns and more. This automated filtering weeds out unqualified candidates.

But AI is not the final arbiter. Consider it a digital assistant that surfaces the most promising applicants. Human recruiters still pull the strings, reviewing shortlisted resumes with discernment to make ultimate hiring decisions.

The takeaway for recruiters? Educate candidates that AI narrows the playing field but people still call the shots. Advise optimizing resumes to demonstrate authentic skills, rather than simply aiming to appease algorithms.

For job seekers, focus on conveying your genuine value and let AI facilitate matching you with suitable roles. Recognize it as an ally, not a robot overlord.

With insight into AI’s helpful but limited scope, both recruiters and applicants can strategize accordingly. Seek to impress human eyes while letting AI assist in surfacing top talent.

Myth 2: Recruiters Rely on Mass Emails Without Reviewing Resumes

A prevailing myth suggests recruiters take shortcuts, blasting out generic emails to candidates en masse without actually looking at resumes. However, modern applicant tracking systems enable more customized communication flows.

It’s true that some recruiters once depended on spray-and-pray style outreach lacking personalization. But advanced ATS platforms now integrate algorithms matching candidate profiles with job requirements, allowing for targeted, relevant outreach at scale.

Recruiters can include customized details in communications, resonating with the unique value applicants bring. For job seekers, see mass outreach as an opportunity rather than a turn off, engaging with purposeful communication.

The key takeaway for both parties? ATS empowers recruiters to personalize outreach to candidates at volume with resume insights on hand.

Myth 3: Candidates Can “Game” the ATS with Keywords

A common myth suggests candidates can hack the ATS by overloading resumes with keywords. However, this strategy oversimplifies modern tracking systems.

While algorithms scan for relevant keywords, blatant keyword stuffing can backfire by flagging insincerity. ATS technology conducts contextual analysis beyond just keywords.

Even more importantly, recruiters reviewing resumes seek genuine skills aligned with the role. They see through incongruous keyword padding.

The takeaway for recruiters? Advise applicants to seamlessly weave relevant terms into authentic credential descriptions. Educate them on balancing optimization with sincerity.

For job seekers, employ keywords judiciously rather than dubious stuffing. Savvy optimization, not overkill, will carry you through the hiring funnel.

Myth 4: Applicant Tracking System Only Benefits Recruiters

A perception exists that ATS solely benefits recruiters through efficiency and organization. But well-designed platforms improve experiences for applicants too.

While streamlining volume hiring for recruiters, ATS also enables fair, unbiased evaluation processes. Automated updates keep applicants informed throughout.

The takeaway for both? Understand that ATS, when thoughtfully applied, aims to optimize for all parties. Recognize its potential to enable meaningful connections at scale.

Myth 5: Only Big Companies Need an Applicant Tracking System

Our final myth assumes that only massive corporations require ATS. But businesses of any size can realize major benefits from its organization and efficiency capabilities.

For recruiters at resource-strapped small companies, ATS can provide vital productivity lifts to handle hiring challenges. Applicant management builds talent pipelines over time.

Even smaller budgets can leverage affordable, flexible, cloud-based systems. For SMBs overwhelmed by chaotic hiring, ATS may provide needed infrastructure.

The bottom line for all? Carefully implemented ATS pays dividends, whether your business is a giant or a scrappy upstart.

With clarity comes power. Now that we’ve shed light on these myths, the mutually beneficial truth of ATS comes into focus. Thoughtfully applied, it aims to aid recruiters and job seekers together.

For recruiters, remember it makes hiring more streamlined, and educate applicants on optimizing resumes genuinely. For job seekers, see it as an ally that can enable fair consideration when understood.

When the mystique is dispelled, ATS tools work best for all. View it not as a puzzle to outwit, but powerful technology to apply wisely. With knowledge and skill, it can pave the path to ideal matches.

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