Why are we asked to enter info in job applications that is already on my resume?

I just completed finishing phone screen for an IT Project Manager position my team. I managed to phone screen 5 applicants of which I moved 3 to the next round out of 40 resumes. 40 resumes of which were screened by ATS (applicant tracking system) and the recruiter.

40 resumes is a lot but that is my preference. I don’t want to take the chance to allow ATS or the recruiter to screen out a candidate due to filters I have no control over. Although I cannot review all resumes, I tell my recruiter to send me a generous number of candidates to review.

You may ask, “What is an applicant tracking system?” ATS is a platform that companies use to track job applicants. ATS became widely popular as hiring shifted online.

When you fill out fields of information about yourself, previous and current work experience, skills, that system is an ATS. In the last 10 years, Oracle dominated this market which many companies leveraged. Another popular ATS system is Workday by Salesforce. This is why you find a lot of company’s job application process very similar. The benefit is a consolidated process to screen applicants for recruiters but a convoluted and confusing experience.

ATS system parses information entered by the applicant to streamline their recruiting process and enables the company to create a database and screen skills based on the application. They also use this to document compliance for disability, diversity and consent. Some have capabilities to parse info from your resume onto the job application and do a good job. Most don’t.

This is the main reason why many job applications require you to fill out the same info as what is already on your resume. By entering the information such as your name, job experience, skills, this enables the ATS to enable the recruiter or hiring manager to filter and score each candidate accurately. It also allows them to search for specific skills, years of experience or a certificate that you hold.

At the end of the day, a resume is a single file of text with your personal info, experience, skills, education, certificates and accomplishments mashed up in different formatting and syntax which can be a challenge for systems to decipher. With the high # of applicants, it is a challenge for a recruiter or hiring manager to read through each application and resume.