We know that the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is the first line of filters used by businesses to screen applicants. These systems have evolved into sophisticated tools used by hiring entities. Their development has escalated and there is now an entire market of choices. Consequently, price ranges to accommodate a host of features has made these tools available to companies, regardless of size.
Again, ATS systems are remarkably affordable and I suspect that it is rare when a company would choose not to use one in some capacity. For a small company, hiring one person, a company can “rent an ATS” (for that one hire) for as low as $50.
What’s not to like?
It depends on which side of the system you find yourself. For the jobseeker, it can be a nightmare. That’s why I have been writing about these systems through a series of blogs.
ATS Knock-Out Questions: What are they?
There is a series of filters specifically referred to as Knock-Out Questions. Originally from the boxing arena and now used in the hiring community. This “term” is sometimes referred to as KO-ed…i.e. knocked-out.
These questions are generally overlooked by jobseekers.
I’ve heard hiring professionals talk about their knock-out questions. Most of these professionals are respectful and careful. They are trying to find the right person for the job.
ATS Knock-Out Questions: Where are they?
Generally, these questions may appear early in the application process or near the end, just before the last screen.
WARNING! These questions may seem like innocent, short answer questions.
Six types of ATS Knock-out questions:
Here are six types of knock-out questions. Not all companies use all six types, and some companies use additional questions depending on the specific position requirements. This is a list of the six types that jobseekers are most likely to encounter.
Types of ATS Knock-Out Questions
- Work permissions
- Work experience
- Software ability and technical questions
- Education and/or training
- Work preferences
- Demographic questions
NOTE: I’m going to discuss the first three on this list in this blog and I will discuss the last three in following blogs.
1. ATS KO Questions: Work-permissions:
These questions refer to a candidate’s legal status to work in the United States.
Examples might include:
- Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?
- Do you require a green card to work in the United States?
- Do you have a green card and full permission to work in the United States?
- Do you have an H1-B visa?
2. ATS KO Questions: Work Experience:
Companies find it useful to confirm a candidate’s experience. These questions provide a simple way to eliminate candidates that will not be able to succeed in the position —at least from the employer’s perspective.
Examples might include:
- How many years have you supervised employees in a union-backed organization?
- How many years’ experience do you have managing national accounts greater than $10M.
- How many years have you managed volunteers?
3. ATS KO Questions: Software ability and technical questions:
Don’t be surprised to find technical questions as you make your way through the ATS. These questions could span literacy, math, science, and questions that are specific to the job itself. These questions may remind some people of the SAT exam.
For positions that require technical software, there may be a series of questions that request the level of expertise from the applicant.
Note: These are examples to give an idea of what kind of questions fall into this category.
- For each of the following applications, indicate your ability:
- Math question:
- The larger of two integers is 5/2 of the smaller.
- If twice the smaller is subtracted from twice the larger, the difference is 12.
- Find the two numbers.
- Word meaning questions:
- Number logic questions:
- What is the next number in this sequence:
- 53, 53, 40, 40, 27, 27, ___
- a: 12 b. 14 c. 27 d. 53
Other types of questions may include algebra, geometry, mathematical word problems and so forth.
To receive additional information on how to handle these knock-out questions, please sign up for
Marcia’s Top Secrets to receive more information. I’ll show you more examples of questions and give you solutions. You will be asked for your email address but don’t worry, we’ll take care of it.
The next blog will tackle the last three knock-out questions that were mentioned above.
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