CVs have changed. Instead of going round your local businesses with a folder full of CVs, handing them out and knowing people will read them, the majority of CVs are submitted as part of an online application process and now, there are even CVs that take the form of web pages – all in order to help people stand out more to try and help them get read.

With the amount of applicants for each job, candidates are trying to do things to make their CV something special to try and get it read. However, since the introduction of Applicant Tracking Systems, will this work?

Enter the CV parsing tool.

With the simplest CV parsing tool, the candidate submits their CV which the tool then populates the application form with by extracting data from the CV. Obviously, this saves the candidate time and takes away from unnecessary administration for the HR team who are doing the recruiting. However, this system wasn’t and still isn’t 100% accurate.

Some companies, when asked about CV parsing tools, argue that if candidates aren’t willing to take the time and effort to fill in an application form then they shouldn’t be applying in the first place. Some stricter application forms, for say banks or government jobs, mean that the candidates have to fill in quite a lot of information, a lot of which might not even feature at all on their CV – the application forms themselves collect a lot of data so there wouldn’t be much time saved using a parsing tool.

On the other hand, where CV parsing tools excel is in the speculative job applications.

Intelligent parsing is capable of conducting database searches in the system and finding suitable candidates for a vacancy you have.

What often happens when candidates submit their CVs as a speculative application, is that the recruiter will put them into a folder and they may perhaps get overlooked after a period of time – generally due to the influx of new applications that the recruiter has to sort through for every time there’s a job opening.

An intelligent parsing tool can sift through this speculative candidates pool and by finding similarities, will be able to identify potentially suitable applicants, saving the recruiter having to firstly remember who is in the pool of speculative candidates and secondly, the recruiter having to manually go through this pool and find eligible applicants.

So with regards to time saving and ease of application process for candidates, I’m not sure that CV parsing tools are an absolute must for all recruitment teams to have – perhaps used as part of an applicant tracking system, but it still wouldn’t be suitable for every company (with the more complex applications I mentioned earlier).

Also, with candidates trying to make their CVs different and innovative, parsing tools are going to have to become extremely clever with their technology to still be able to identify the right data when each candidate doesn’t use a strict CV format.

However, CV parsing is most certainly not dead – when used in the right way, recruitment teams are going to be identifying potentially great candidates who might well have been ignored or left along the wayside of the recruitment process..

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Comment by Filip De Geijter on September 15, 2011 at 11:08am
Interesting!  However with the latest search technology, there is no real need to parse a CV to get great candidates out of your database.  Intelligent search technology is capable of makes the right selections even when documents are simply uploaded without parsing.
Comment by Emily Stevenson on September 15, 2011 at 11:33am
Thanks for your comment - of course with a good ATS you can get great candidates out of your database, I was just trying to identify some good uses for CV parsing tools and therefore make sure I had a nice, balanced opinion about them! :)
Comment by Neil Bolton on September 15, 2011 at 7:39pm

Cv parsing done well is pure gold. To be able to see at an instant, without any data entry or reading of the CV, exactly where each candidate has worked, for how long, whether temp or permanent, what their job title was - all "in your face", and then to get a summary of "who" they are - again with no data entry or having to read the CV. Fantastic. Here's a summary:

"Sally Merrion's experience appears to be concentrated in Bookkeeping, Office Management / Bookeeping Tasks, with exposure to Administrative or Clerical / Accounting Related. Sally Merrion has 14 years of work experience, with 7 years of management experience, including a mid-level position."

Our clients use either Sovren  from the US or daXtra from the UK, depending on the predominant language - daXtra is better on Asian languages, for instance. Here's a snip:And you also get all their contact details loaded so you can email or phone with one click - again with zero data entry.

So I agreee with Filip - there is no need to parse a CV to be able to run a search on it, and we recommend that our clients use good search techniques on the raw CV database, rather than doing keyword searching. (So 1990s!) But removing all the hack work is fabulous.

(Sales stuff: We build and sell a Really Good System, TRIS. (And we use 3rd party parsing tools within it.))

Comment by Peter Dube on September 15, 2011 at 10:20pm

no question about it - CV parsing is invaluable to capture structured data.Critical in quick search and categorization as well as alerts


Comment by Mark Alexender on September 20, 2011 at 8:44am

CV Parsing is a best technique. You can filter out the best candidate from the large pool of candidates with good ATS. If you want your recruitment process should be fast, then choose the right ATS for you.

I am currently using RChilli ATS. My experience says it provides me more than  what my expectation.

The services of Rchilli is a tremendous. I'll suggest to use it once. :)


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