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Bot builder applies to thousands of jobs at once, shares lessons with job seekers

(TECH NEWS) Battle bots, literally. A man built a bot for his resume to see how the hiring bots act and found valuable info for those seeking jobs.

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coombs

Robot battle royale

Robert Coombs the director of a national non-profit, succeeded in his executive position, but felt stagnant and so started searching for new challenges in different job openings. At the beginning of his search he realized his resume didn’t get a lot of views, and that applicant tracking systems (ATS) or robots, are most commonly used for sorting job applications: not a room full of Human Resource interns like I thought.

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Upon making these two realizations, he created a challenge within a challenge and decided to create a job-application robot to combat the applicant tracking robots he was going up against.

Job app robot vs ATS robots

For his job application robot, Coombs pieced together crawlers, spreadsheets, and scripts to make an automated application process. This automated robot would then collect hiring managers’ contact information, and submit customized emails along with a resume and personalized ** cover letter.

When completed, his robot ultimately applied to almost 2,000 jobs over a three month period.

ATS are what reads and selects job candidates who apply from large recruiting sites like LinkedIn and the like. The system searches for and filters applications by qualifying key words, schools attended, skills, former employees, years of experience and other variables. So while we typically personalize our cover letters with the hope that the actual hiring manager will read it, robots are more than likely going to evaluate it before human eyes ever see it.

2,000 Jobs in 3 months… Did it work?

To test his robot, Coombs created two variable emails, sent them out and tracked to see which received no response, an auto-response, a personal email, a LinkedIn visit, or failed. The first email was personalized and included position title, organization name, skills matched to the job, successes related to the job, relevant job experience, relevant role experience, primary skills necessary and secondary skill necessary. The second however stated immediately that it was generated and sent by a robot and only included the position title and organization name. With those major differences, and If ATS algorithms were in play, one of these letters should have performed a lot different than the other.

In actuality though, they performed similarly, revealing no one, not even ATS algorithms are reading cover letters: not the super personalized ones, or the ones lacking.

So to answer the headline question: Nope. Although Coombs’ robot worked in sending the actual emails and cover letters, it did not help him get a job anymore than if he had taken the time to apply for each job one by one.

Why????

If you’re like me, you read Bot Builder and Thousands of Jobs at Once and felt pretty confident it worked; how could it not? Because human interaction reigns supreme in the job application process.

One 2014 study revealed although referrals make up 6% of job applicants compared to the 94% of candidates who apply on job boards, companies websites etc., referrals are five times more likely to be hired.

“It’s not what you know, but who you know”

Amy Seglin, the president of executive communications recruiting firm Chaloner, said “Out of the box hires rarely happen through LinkedIn applications. They happen when someone influential meets a really interesting person and says, ‘Let’s create a position for you.’”

Recruiters Aren’t As Helpful As We’d Hoped

Not only do recruiting websites or methods receive tons of responses, naturally, but they are typically only looking for candidates “within the mold,” says Scott Uhrig from Agile.Careers and therefore aren’t helpful for people who feel like they offer more unique qualifications.

Aside from these facts Coombs felt as though his bot should have at least worked in the spirit of the law of large, which suggests 2000 emails should have beckoned more responses than the normal candidate who has applied less times.

Uhrig retorted though, that “Roughly 80% of jobs are never posted – probably closer to 90% for more senior jobs,” he told Coombs.

“The competition for posted jobs is insane. ATSs do a horrendous job of selecting the best candidates and -perhaps most important- the best jobs are almost never posted.” To this point, other job recruiters told Coombs most positions on recruiting sites were either posted by an HR person who’s since left, or the position has already been filled.

So, you can submit as many applications as you want, and you still won’t improve chances of being selected by ATS.

So? Meet More People.

Coombs’ bot experiment was more than just a cool technology trick I would have killed for straight out of college; it proved valuable lessons for anyone concerned with joining the job force: First, knowing someone within an organization is your best bet to securing a job. Second, recruiters aren’t helpful and don’t care about candidates who break the mold. Finally, the number of jobs you apply to will not affect your chances of receiving a response, so apply wisely.

Coombs did receive some responses to the thousands of job applications he submitted, but all of the responding companies were smaller with less than 50 staff, and didn’t employ ATS to filter resumes.

So, it is important to remember this bot experiment in your search for a job, but don’t abandon methods like personalizing cover letter’s, or having a polished resume. Even if you meet someone to refer you, you’ll need to have those ready.

#BotBuilder

Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

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Clubhouse finally made it to Android, but has its time passed?

(TECH NEWS) Social media felt the impact of Clubhouse, but the internet moves fast, and even though it is finally on Android, it’s time may be waning.

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Woman holding book and a phone, with headphones, participating in Clubhouse.

Clubhouse finally got an Android release, and while many people clamored for such a thing months ago, others argue that it’s too little, too late.

If you aren’t familiar with Clubhouse, it’s an audio-only “social platform” that encourages discussions through live chat rooms. Users can drop into various rooms and listen to people talk, request the option to chime in, and follow a variety of rooms (or “topics”) to stay engaged over time. Users can even create their own rooms that feature them as speakers.

Clubhouse also has a certain allure to it in that the app requires new users to put their names on a waitlist that creates an “invite-only” culture of exclusivity.

But while iPhone users have had access to Clubhouse since its inception, Android users have been not-so-patiently waiting for their own release—and, now that Clubhouse for Android is available, it may have outstayed its welcome.

Part of the problem is the launch itself. The Android Clubhouse app launched with limited functionality; Android users weren’t able to follow the topics they like, change their account information, and so on. This made the release feel underwhelming, further highlighting Clubhouse’s affinity for Apple users.

A more complicated problem is the prevalence of audio options in other social media services. Slack, for example, recently released their audio-only rooms, and services such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have placed a spotlight on voice-only mediums of expression.

Initially, Clubhouse was the only app to incorporate audio as a strong central focus, but the ubiquitous fascination with voice-posting has expanded to comprise most major communication platforms. As such, Clubhouse’s sought-after exclusivity is no more—something that was also arguably damaged by expanding to Android.

It should be noted that interest in the app itself is decreasing, and not just on Android. Social Media Today reported that, in March of 2021, Clubhouse downloads were down 72 percent from February’s 9.6 million downloads. The publication also pointed out that difficulty finding rooms was a substantial issue that is unlikely to do anything but worsen with a surge of Android users, necessitating some back-end fixes from the owners.

As it sits, Clubhouse is still very much in use, and Android users are poised to reignite interest as iOS users stagnate. Whether or not that interest will persevere in the current social media ecosystem remains to be seen.

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Foster communication from the search bar with Google business messaging

(TECH NEWS) Google added business messaging options on Google Maps and Google Search to make it easier for businesses and customers to have communication.

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Google search bar open to communication with businesses.

Connecting with and understanding your customers is important in keeping your business thriving. So, to help streamline that communication, Google is adding business messaging options to the Google Maps app and Google Search.

To start using this, your business will first need to be verified by Google. If you haven’t verified your business yet, you can get more information on how to do so here. If you’re already verified, you simply need to turn messaging on from your Business Profile.

Once it’s on, customers will see a “Message” button on your Business Profile, and they will be able to message you at any time. From the business messages section in the “Updates” tab on Google Maps, you can start replying to customers. Also, via the Customers menu on your Business Profile, you’ll soon be able to see your messages straight from Google Search.

Google said, “When people look for information online, they want to find the answers to their questions quickly. This is especially true for people browsing nearby businesses. Business Profiles help merchants share information like how late you’re open and what safety measures are in place. But sometimes people are looking for answers to more niche questions such as: ‘Do you make gluten-free cakes?’ or ‘Is there covered parking?’”

To help make it easier for customers to ask their questions, Google isn’t making customers head back to your Business Profile to click the “Message” button every time they have a question. In addition to that button, customers can initiate a conversation with your business on any post you’ve created. Also, when a customer’s call goes unanswered, they will be prompted to send you a message.

And, besides making communication easier, Google will soon be “rolling out more metrics to give you a deeper understanding of how customers discover your Business Profile.” You’ll be able to see Insights on what queries customers used to find your business. You’ll be able to tell whether they saw your business on Google Maps or Search, and if it was on a computer or mobile device.

“We’ve continued to invest in new ways to make it easier for you to bolster your presence on Google. With these updated features, we hope you have more of the tools and information you need to connect with customers and grow your business in today’s ever-changing environment,“ Google said.

Easing the pain between business and customer is always a plus. What do you think about Google’s new messaging options?

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Tired of transcribing screenshots? Put this Chrome extension to work

(TECH NEWS) This new Chrome extension takes out the tedium of transcribing all your necessary screenshots into your writing and does it for you.

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Logo for Docsumo, a transcribing Google Chrome extension

My favorite part of being a writer is getting to interview people from various walks of life. My least favorite part of being a writer is transcribing those interviews.

Slightly easier, but still annoying, is transcribing information from a screenshot, photo file or PDF. Sometimes you have to get this information in a rush and retyping all of it slows you down.

Docsumo is making that process into a breeze. The tool allows for users to grab text from a screenshot for easy copy and paste.

So how does it work? First, it has to be downloaded as a Google Chrome extension. Once it’s part of the browser’s extension, it can be put to work.

A video on Docsumo’s website demonstrates the easy transcribing process. The developer does a Google image search for a shipping label as they need to quickly copy and paste an address. When the necessary label pops up, they click the Docsumo tool that allows them to drag and select the part of the label they want to transcribe (the movement of the mouse is similar to taking a screenshot on a Mac computer).

Then, the text that they’ve highlighted is transcribed into a box where it can be copied and pasted. Simple!

In addition to copy and paste, users can extract, edit, and share data. After that, all of the related information is removed from Docsumo’s server. Examples of when this tool is useful include: Invoices, bank statements, insurance documents, bills, and tax forms.

The tool is made possible through Optimal Character Recognition (OCR) which, according to Ducsumo’s developers, is something that comes in handy in many situations.

“Organizations often receive crucial information and data in image form of documents. These images can be a photo of a document, scanned document, a scene-photo, or subtitle text superimposed on an image. The real challenge for the operation team is to be able to extract information and data from these photos. It can take hours to manually pull out this data and assemble it in a structured way for record-keeping and processing. This process is hugely error-prone too.

OCR technology comes to rescue in this situation.

Optical character recognition or optical character reader (OCR) is the electronic or mechanical conversion of images of typed, handwritten or printed text into machine-encoded text. This technology is suitable for photos of text-heavy documents and printed paper data records such as passports, invoices, bank statements, receipts, business cards, and identity verification documents. OCR technology is the way of digitizing printed texts so that they can be electronically edited, searched, and stored more compactly.”

In a world where pen-to-paper has slowly been fading away, Docsumo is here to give it another push further away.

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