How reliable is resume parsing? Busy recruiters are always on the lookout for tools that will make processes quicker. But there’s little value in thinking that a system will speed things up only to find that perfect applicants have fallen through the cracks.
Resume parsing software has been around for quite a while, but recent developments have seen it step up into the HR spotlight. If you’re not using an applicant tracking system (ATS) or CV parsing software, consider how many resumes would pop up in your inbox every day.
It’s difficult to get the exact stats, but a reasonable guestimate is around 10 to 40 per open vacancy. If you have as few as five open roles, you’re receiving anything between 50 to 200 CVs per day. Manually screening that many applications, together with all your other responsibilities, can become nightmarish.
Too many distractions increase human error
Recruitment isn’t a singularly focused profession. Recruiters juggle many balls simultaneously. Added to that pressure, from candidates looking for feedback, and from hiring managers to fill roles, recruiters have a stressful job.
As stress levels rise, so does our inclination to make mistakes or oversights. Also, reading through one application after the next gets very dull, encouraging the mind to stray and potentially miss vital details. That’s where resume parser software comes to the rescue.
What is resume parsing?
Resume parsing technology converts free-form online documents into structured sets of data. This happens through intelligent analysis and extraction of specific information from resumes. The data is automatically stored, and recruiters can source particular skills and experience through search functions.
This process saves recruiters hours every day, allowing them to spend more time on candidate interviewing and engagement. Many manual processes are eliminated by resume parsers for both recruiters and applicants, speeding up the screening process. Suitable candidates are quickly identified, and unsuitable applicants are advised via automated responses.
The candidate experience can be improved considerably by utilizing parsing software.
There is, however, a caveat
Few applicants know how to craft their resume for parsing software, and not all applications to parse resumes online are equal.
Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and Google; “I would like to parse information from my resume”. What you mostly get is technical info about CV parsers. Now try “how do I make my resume stand out,” and there are loads of articles advising people to craft their application to attract a recruiters’ attention. The technology has infiltrated HR tech trends, but candidates are still mostly unaware!
The other potential hiccup is that not all vendors provide the same level of service. You must do your homework thoroughly before investing in parsing software. Some providers pride themselves by staying on the cutting edge of parsing development while others are selling outdated options. Always insist on a free trial so that you can ensure you will get the ROI you expect.
How the perfect candidate can slip through the net
Most resumes get submitted in Word or pdf format. Because applicants want to attract attention to their resume, they often use fancy fonts, formats, layouts, headers, footers, and borders. But resume parsers aren’t interested in those; they only extract data.
CV’s that are not parser-friendly can be omitted from shortlists and declined, even if a candidate is a good fit. That’s simply because critical information isn't presented in a suitable data reader format.
This is a considerable flaw in parsed resume systems that aren’t capable of identifying relevant data. You can lose top talent without knowing it, prolong time to hire, and increase your cost per hire. Also, if an applicant knows that they’re an almost perfect match for the job and they get an automated decline, your employer brand can take a knock.
What should resume parsing software offer?
When scouting around, make sure that vendors prove to you that their software can:
- Be easily integrated with your existing HR systems
- Parse resumes in all formats
- Offer a detailed library of taxonomies to identify a variety of fields
- Allow you to configure fields to suit your individual requirements
- Identify regional locations and support multiple languages
- Extract information into various fields
- Retrieve resume data in bulk
- Match data using semantic search
- Offer a simplified approach to the data acquisition process
- Use deep learning resume parsing algorithms for smarter identification of data
- Be integrated into online applications so that candidates can capture into parser fields
- Allow candidates to apply directly with their LinkedIn profiles
- Create a management summary for recruiters to evaluate candidates
Avoid vendors that claim 100% accuracy; there’s no such thing. Human accuracy under ideal conditions sits at about 97% to 99% (recruiters don’t work under ideal conditions, though). Top-shelf parsing software that harnesses all advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and text mining and analysis ensures accuracy of up to 95% in data processing.
It’s estimated that up to 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS software, as do most international recruitment agencies. Startups and SMEs are catching on too, and soon hiring via an ATS will become the norm.
Many ATS platforms already have parsing software, but if yours doesn’t, you should be able to integrate the two systems seamlessly. If you can’t, there’s a problem with your service provider that needs serious attention because an agile parser must be adaptable.
There are many benefits to using resume parsing with an ATS. One of the prime advantages of an ATS is that it allows hiring teams to collaborate in real-time. They can also access candidate information and share updates. Collaborative hiring results in fairness and transparency and eliminates bias.
Bias in hiring is still very prominent, and if you want to be seen as an employer of choice, it’s something that must be eliminated from your HR recruitment processes. Parsing resumes strengthens a non-bias policy.
Resume parsing fields can be set up to eliminate names, gender, race, and even locations so that shortlisted CVs are selected by skills and experience only. When the hiring team selects candidates for initial screening interviews, they have no personal information. That means that conscious and unconscious bias is eliminated.
What are the pros and cons?
A tool is only as good as its user. HR practitioners and recruiters must understand the value of resume parsing. That way, they not only know how to use it but can also recognize flaws and make recommendations for improvement.
Pros of resume parsing
- It saves recruiters hours because it eliminates manual resume screening
- It eliminates hiring bias and promotes fairness and transparency
- Recruiters can search their talent pool for specific skills in minutes
- It improves time to hire and reduces the cost of hire
- Systems are improving daily as technology advances
Cons of resume parsing
- Poor selection when choosing a service provider could result in wasting money
- If the value of parsing isn’t explained to all involved, some people will ignore it
- Recruiters must be trained on how parsing works, and training must be ongoing
- Top talent can get lost in the system if it’s not set up and configured properly
- CVs with complicated formats, footers and headers can still fall through the cracks, even with top parsing software systems
An ATS with a robust parsing system at its core enhances your employer brand, improves the candidate experience, reduces time to hire and cuts hiring costs.