Greenhouse ATS applicant tracking system

A few notable applicant tracking systems (ATS) have roots going back to the 1990s– and it shows. One recruiter told Jobscan that they were stuck using a system that “reminds me of something in the Windows ’95 era.” Even as ATS companies update their software to keep with the times, many are dragging along old code that makes them clunky and complicated for recruiters and job seekers alike. Then there is Greenhouse, an ATS startup that was founded in 2012 and completed its Series C round of funding in 2015. Since then, Greenhouse has been gobbling up market share and gaining ground on long-time ATS king Taleo.

Need to take a step back?
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What is an applicant tracking system?

Greenhouse prides itself on providing an excellent candidate experience, but there are still a few things job seekers should know when working on a Greenhouse application. These insights can be the difference between getting an interview and falling behind other candidates.

Companies that use Greenhouse ATS

A few of the many companies that use Greenhouse ATS include:

  • Airbnb
  • FitBit
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • Instacart
  • TripAdvisor
  • Reddit
  • Warby Parker
  • BuzzFeed
  • J.D. Power
  • Venmo
  • Squarespace
  • Tumblr
  • Shazam
  • Evernote
  • Prosper
  • Gawker
  • Casper
  • Major League Baseball
  • Taco Bell (corporate)

As you can see, the tech industry is leading the way in adopting Greenhouse, but others won’t be far behind.

How to spot Greenhouse ATS

Some companies mask the ATS they’re using, but sometimes you can see the name of the ATS right in the URL. For example, a corporate Taco Bell job will have a URL like https://boards.greenhouse.io/tacobell/jobs/1115634#app .

Other companies, like Airbnb, customize their URL to something like https://www.airbnb.com/careers/apply2/1068766?gh_src= . That makes it a little harder to know which ATS they’re using.

If it’s not in the URL, some clues that you’re using Greenhouse include:

  • A minimalist, single-page application (usually)
  • “Apply for this Job” heading
  • Documents attached via some combination of direct upload, Dropbox, Google Drive, or pasted in
  • Customized text fields (including social profiles or knockout questions)
  • Compliance surveys like U.S. Equal Opportunity and Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability at the bottom
Greenhouse ATS Application
If a company doesn’t stylize their application, Greenhouse applications look like this by default. Among others, this is how Instacart, Fitbit, and Taco Bell applications begin.

(If the URL and application are customized like Airbnb’s and you are a tech-savvy person, you can inspect the application using your browser developer tools to see if Greenhouse or another ATS is hidden in the code.)

Greenhouse ATS doesn’t parse your resume

Some ATS scrape your uploaded resume and attempt to pull the correct info into a digital candidate profile for the purposes of search, filters, rankings, and recruiter navigability. Unfortunately, these ATS aren’t able to account for every resume format, resume template, or creative design choices, meaning sections of an applicant’s resume might not be parsed correctly. As a result, highly qualified candidates tend to slip through the cracks.

Greenhouse ATS doesn’t attempt to do this. Applicants within Greenhouse don’t need to be quite as careful about creative formatting choices or untraditional section labels. That said, the text still needs to be readable by Greenhouse to enable keyword searches.

If you’ve saved your ATS resume as a PDF, double-check its searchability by confirming that the text can be selected and copied, or upload it into Jobscan.

Keyword frequency matters in a Greenhouse search

When a recruiter using Greenhouse ATS searches for a keyword, the system searches applicants’ entire resumes for the keyword. One of the contributing factors for how the results are returned to the recruiter is keyword frequency. For example, if a recruiter searches for “customer service,” an applicant with five mentions of that skill in their resume will appear higher in the results than someone with only two mentions.

Because of this, it’s important to ensure that the most important hard skills and keywords for a job are mentioned in your resume multiple times.

Jobscan makes it easy to optimize your resume keywords for frequency by showing you a side-by-side comparison of the keywords in your resume and the job description.

Jobscan skills comparison is great for Greenhouse ATS.
An example skills comparison in the Jobscan Match Report.

Try it out for yourself here:

Create an attractive resume

When it comes to creating an ATS-proof resume, sometimes visual design can take a backseat to keyword optimization and formatting. However, design needs to be a real consideration when applying through the Greenhouse ATS. In addition to the aforementioned lack of parsing, Greenhouse also prominently displays your resume in the recruiter interface.

Example of the Greenhouse ATS application and resume view. This resume was uploaded as a bare-bones .txt file, which doesn’t look very attractive.

In a recruiter’s Greenhouse dashboard, your resume appears below the text fields you’ve filled out as part of the application. The display maintains your resume’s design however you saved it. When applying through Greenhouse, take a little more time with your resume’s design, consider a snazzier template, and make sure the most important information is located near the top.

Get additional Greenhouse ATS tips

Get more Greenhouse-specific tips by using Jobscan’s “ATS Tip” feature. Learn more by watching the one-minute video below:


Improve your job search with an ATS optimized resume.

 

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