Workday ATS Job Application Tips
In this blog post, I stepped into the shoes of a job seeker, actively applying for open positions listed by companies using the Workday Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Drawing from prior IT experience working with cloud-based Talent Acquisition applications, I'm here to offer ATS best practices to job seekers applying to companies that adopted the Workday Cloud application platform.
Many Companies Use the Workday ATS
Workday has the largest market share (25%) of all companies in the US for applicant tracking systems (ATS) Many Fortune 500 companies use Workday as their HR and applicant tracking system to automate their hiring processes. Navigate to a job search portal, then check the bottom of the website for the Workday logo. If the company portal uses Workday --- use the tips below!
How Does A Cloud-Based ATS Work?
Any company that uses the Workday ATS Cloud operates on a shared infrastructure that provides uniform screens and application processes for any company using the platform. Applicant information is segregated by company for security and data privacy reasons.
Job Application Process Using Workday ATS
Create Your Profile
Creating a profile is very easy and only takes a minute.
The valid statuses of job applications are in 1) progress, 2) under consideration, 3) interview scheduled, and 4) offer extended.
The job application status can be helpful, but not all companies consistently update the information.
For data privacy reasons, job seekers must set up a user account for every employer (even if they both use the Workday ATS Cloud).
Companies that use the Workday ATS Cloud give applicants the following choices:
Use my last application – This option is helpful if applying to multiple jobs at the same company.
Autofill with resume - This option can cause frustrating rework for the candidate if mismatched information loads into the wrong location in the Workday application.
Apply Manually - Applicant has more control over the process as they cut and paste requested information from the resume to Workday, but this option can be time-consuming.
Apply using my LinkedIn profile – This option is the fastest and most accurate! Workday and LinkedIn have a tool that pre-matches information on a personal profile to the correct location in the Workday ATS Cloud application.
💡ATS Tip: If the resume is uploaded using the LinkedIn profile, make sure your profile is optimized, clean, and correct before starting the process. You'll save lots of time!
How Does Workday ATS Cloud Differ Across Companies?
The Workday ATS application process is similar for all client companies but with a few differences:
Knockout questions – Each company chooses the questions that reject the application. Knockout questions are unique to each posted job and usually relate to the minimum job qualifications.
When Applications Reject – Each company can determine when the knockout occurs.
Additional Optional Questions – Each company asks unique questions specific to their organization. One company requested my GPA during the application process!
Chatbots – Companies may install an AI-based chatbot that answers job application questions.
💡ATS Tip: Many applicants confuse knockout questions with the idea that a bot rejected their resume. The most likely reason for resume rejection is a negative response to a knockout question.
Best Practices for Directly Applying
Your LinkedIn profile should include target job keywords before uploading.
The ATS does not allow viewing a resume once it is uploaded. As a result, job seekers will be unaware of data issues when the resume is parsed out to the database.
💡ATS Tip - If the company you are applying to uses a Workday chatbot, attach your resume to the chat and ask the bot what jobs match. The bot will send you a list of matching jobs!
Did My Resume Information Load Successfully?
The Workday ATS Cloud Application Process
When creating a profile, Workday stores the name and email of the candidate.
When candidates apply for a job, the target company stores work history, knockout responses, gender, ethnicity, and voluntary disability identification.
The uploaded resume is attached to the target job and saved as a searchable PDF.
Optical Character Recognition(OCR) parses text from the pdf file.
Parsed information is saved (per Workday, this is name, contact, work experience, skills, education, certifications, and awards)
Data from all three sources ties together by applicant name, is segregated, and stored securely for each company in the cloud.
Recruiters may search the ATS database of applicant information for suitable candidates.
💡ATS Tip: If a candidate is offered and accepts a job, the information in the Workday ATS ports over to the Workday HR application when the applicant becomes an employee.
ATS Resume Processing Notes
Attempts to parse resume information inside boxes, tables, or containing special characters may result in failure, display as unintelligible characters, or output the wrong information.
Data mismatches between the uploaded resume and applicant data will be flagged for recruiters to review. Data mismatches can slow down the application process.
Applicant must choose skills from a Workday list when Autofill with Resume or Apply Manually is selected. Choosing the Apply Using the LinkedIn Profile option will automatically import up to 50 skills.
The Workday ATS does not store all the information on the uploaded resume. It parses and stores personal information, job details, education, and certifications.
Information in text boxes or resume information not part of the upload process (technical section, skills, career summary) will be on the PDF version of the resume but nowhere else.
How to Beat the ATS? There is No BOT!
Resumes are rarely outright rejected by ATS systems. 'Beating the bot' is about cleanly loading all requested resume information into the ATS. It's about uploading a resume with skills and experience that gives the applicant the best chance of matching the posted job for an interview.
Best Practices for Applying to Workday ATS Jobs
Use special characters, headers/footers, text boxes, and tables sparingly on resumes. Recruiters do not generally like anything that could impede loading information to their ATS. This information WILL be on the PDF version of the resume; if it is printed and shared, it could be helpful!
Resume sections (like summary, technology, or volunteerism) will only be on the stored PDF version. These sections will not be parsed or loaded into the applicant database. You can still have them!
Keep resume and job application information consistent to ensure successful parsing and loading to the candidate database without mismatches. For example, the resume and application data should not have different last names or telephone numbers.
Since Workday converts all uploaded resumes to PDF for parsing, the source resume can be in Word, text, or PDF format. Google Docs is not a recommended format.
Workday ATS should not be relied upon to successfully match the data on the resume to the correct Workday. Use a clean, optimized LinkedIn profile, or do it manually. Manual loading takes longer, but accuracy is 100%.
Use the same username and password for each company to save yourself from writing down a different login for every company.
It's necessary to upload a resume for every job application. Although time-consuming, this step presents an opportunity to provide a tailored resume that directly aligns with the target job.
Save valuable job search time by stopping the application process if there is a NO answer to a knockout question. If it's a NO, you are probably not qualified.
Relying on LinkedIn to automatically load resume information and targeted keywords will save significant time over manually entering keywords with the Autofill with Resume or Apply Manually upload process.
💡Tip - Workday has several AI-related improvements planned for the future. Job seekers should expect recruiters to become more efficient in their searches for candidates in the Workday ATS tool. Resumes with cleanly uploaded candidate information and targeted keywords will become even more essential to job search efforts.
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