Replacing Human Decision-Making Through Automated Tracking Systems (ATS) in Hiring Processes (2020)
Curator Team: Daniel Hocutt, Hayley Baugham, Stephanie Beck, Rich Ciufo, Emma Duncan, Jordan Gaitley, Slade Gormus, Maya Khoury, Darcil Lee, Taylor McClain, Madison Ostrick, Matthew Plisko, Tracey Polivka, Genesis Rodriguez, Jamie Rucci, Jack Rusbuldt, Laurie Sanderson, Donaven Tennyson, Hannah Vitkus, and Dessi Zlateva | University of Richmond | January 2021
Collection Editor: Isabel Pedersen
Acquisitions Editor: Daniel Hocutt
Archivist: Sharon Caldwell
This collection seeks to record and track the influence that ATS currently has on hiring processes. ATS platforms are deeply embedded in daily processes across thousands of companies worldwide, and deserve deeper scrutiny in understanding their function and representation. This collection explores the extent to which ATS platforms augment, subvert, and even replace actions and judgments previously reserved for hiring managers and committees.
The use of applicant tracking systems (ATS) in recruiting and hiring functions is widespread, especially among Fortune 500 companies, where a 2019 study by Jobscan found that 99% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS (Qu, 2019). An ATS is specialized “software used by companies to assist with human resources, recruitment, and hiring needs…. Primarily used to help hiring companies organize and navigate large numbers of applicants” (Shields, 2017). An ATS is typically purchased as “software as a service” (SaaS) and used throughout the hiring process. They are deeply integrated into HR functions through ATS extensions that help select and manage contingent workforces, such as shift management applications.
ATS functions as programmed platforms for collating, organizing, and selecting applicants. As platforms, they exert what Tarleton Gillespie calls “the politics of platforms” (2010), the power to “make decisions,” as Dustin Edwards and Bridget Gelms (2016) put it. And more troubling, platforms “often downplay, obfuscate, and/or black box those decisions” (Edwards & Gelms, 2016). ATS platforms exert influence on the way applications are entered and accepted, reviewed and filtered, and ultimately passed onward to hiring managers and selection committees. More specifically, ATS technologies are engaged in programmed and automated selection and sorting activities before human actors intervene in the hiring process.
This collection of corporate advertising artifacts brings together examples of ATS, from boutique to mainstream applications. It also includes relevant technologies that feed data into ATS, like AI-driven video interviewing programs and gamified aptitude assessments. Each application included in the collection influences hiring processes through programmed and automated procedures. References:
Edwards, D. W., & Gelms, B. (2016). The rhetorics of platforms: Definitions, approaches, futures. Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society
, 6(2). http://www.presenttensejournal.org/editorial/vol-6-3-special-issue-on-the-rhetoric-of-platforms/
Gillespie, T. (2010). The politics of “platforms.” New Media & Society
Shields, J. (2017, December 21). What is an applicant tracking system? Jobscan Blog
Qu, L. (2019, November 7). 99% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS). Jobscan Blog