Applicant Tracking Systems: The Good, Bad & Misunderstood

Applicant Tracking Systems: The Good, Bad & Misunderstood
Rigzone gets oil and gas recruiters and HR personnel to weigh in on their use of the ATS and how it affects the recruiting process for employers and job candidates.

As the oil and gas industry inches through its recovery, professionals anxious to return to the industry and first-time entrants are hoping to see an increase in employment opportunities. Over the years, technology has revolutionized everything from field operations to recruiting functions and while the biggest driver behind these changes is efficiency, some job-seekers fear they won’t ever get a chance at work because they can’t get past the dreaded gate-keeper – that being the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

For all intents and purposes, automation has been welcomed by oil and gas HR personnel in the hiring process.


“The ATS really helps with automation and speed. I can contact a candidate, schedule and complete an interview, store a candidate’s resume and information electronically and even forward their information to the client within one day,” Summer Chancey, president of Viking Recruiting Resources, told Rigzone. “It provides the organization, speed and ability to get everything done a lot faster.”

Chancey, who has three years of direct recruiting experience, said her company does Health, Safety and the Environment (HSE) recruiting for the oil and gas and construction industries. They are a small staff of three, with just one other recruiter.

Thomas Grote, senior HR specialist with Diamond Offshore, has six years of experience in the HR/recruiting space and is the administrator for his company’s ATS.

“We have more than 100,000 people in our current system, which provides a large network and audience for the organization to engage with,” Grote told Rigzone. “We use our ATS globally as an organization with a broad variety of functions, allowing us to better support our global operations. With these ATS functions, we have the ability to handle workflows more efficiently and give enhanced insight through data analytics."

Summer Chancey
Summer Chancey, President, Viking Recruiting Services
President, Viking Recruiting Services

Filtering for the Right Candidate

The use of ATS isn’t completely reliant on the computer, however, as recruiters can often configure the ATS to filter through multiple qualifications they create – education, previous job titles and location, for example, said Chancey.

“The ATS picks up on keywords in a resume, but we found if we add in the extra filters, they can still bring the resume forward versus not matching specific keywords and putting the resumes aside,” she said.

Still, some job candidates are convinced the ATS and HR personnel are contriving to keep certain people from getting jobs. One Rigzone reader suggested that oil and gas companies do not want older, experienced managers because “company HR personnel and recruiters have developed programs that automatically kick out a resume no matter how good it is if it sees experience levels which is easily related to age, time frames or a particular phrase or words not used” or if “previous compensation and benefits are higher than what is currently being offered.”

“It’s still a machine, a database and it’s not 100 percent accurate,” said Chancey, who said she’s experienced the ATS pulling only 50 percent of a candidate’s resume from a jobs board. “In those instances, I contact the person directly and have them email me their resume.”

Thomas Grote
Thomas Grote, Senior HR Specialist, Diamond Offshore
Senior HR Specialist, Diamond Offshore

Grote said he uses different filters that are basic in nature, and then filters down more for jobs that require more specific certifications.

“When you’re talking about parsing information from a resume, we won’t disqualify someone just because they don’t have certain buzzwords on their CV,” he said. “We will ask that they apply, then go through specific job screening questions that are based on descriptions for basic requirements. After the basic requirements are met, an individual will review them.” 

Grote personally goes through the CVs to make sure someone who is qualified isn’t overlooked because they answered one of the screening questions incorrectly.

“It’s happened before,” he said.  


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