Beat the bot: See how employers screen you out of the candidate pool with AI and learn from it

Author: Celine McArthur Writer: Carolyn Dolcimascolo
Published: Updated:

Whether you’re looking for your dream job or a side gig, you know job hunting can be a long and frustrating process.

You may have applied to dozens of jobs online and heard nothing in return. As you know, employers often use screening programs that could eliminate you from the candidate pool before a real person can review your resume.

A recent study shows that 4 out of 10 companies will use artificial intelligence in the hiring process by 2024. WINK News Investigative Reporter Céline McArthur explores the technology and finds out if there’s a way to beat the bots to get the job you want.

Alessandra Panella is on a mission. After 25 years in the banking industry, she’s looking for a new career.

“With all my experience, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, it’ll be easy to find a job,'” said Panella.

She was wrong.

Celine: “How many jobs have you applied for?”
Panella: “Oh, my God! 30, 40 so far, and received no phone calls. Some didn’t even send a confirmation. So, little disheartening.”

But she’s determined to get a job, so she took part in a training workshop at CareerSource Southwest Florida.

“I’m maybe doing it the wrong way,” said Panella. “And maybe the way I used to look for a job – it’s not the same. Well, it turns out, you know, that’s exactly what it is.”

Panella is learning about how artificial intelligence is changing the way companies hire.

“I live and breathe it every day,” said Chrisann Ruehle, Ph.D.

Chrisann Ruehle, provost faculty fellow for artificial intelligence at Florida Gulf Coast University, explained how businesses use it to screen applicants.

Chrisann Ruehle, Ph.D., Provost Faculty Fellow for Artificial Intelligence, FGCU


“An employer can upload a candidate’s resume, and they can enter ChatGPT, and they can also upload the job description, and ChatGPT can show them how close that match is between the candidate’s resume, and the actual job description.”

Ruehle says this information can help you pass the screening so you can get a foot in the door.

“It’s very important that candidates are using the language that they actually see in the job description in order to make sure that the technology flags that as being a potential candidate,” said Ruehle.

However, the use of AI is not limited to resume reviews.

“There are actually some programs out there that quite a few of the Fortune 500 companies have adopted,” added Ruehle.


Applicants sometimes interview with a chatbot.

“The bot oftentimes will include facial recognition technology. So, in addition to capturing the words, the word choices, the language, the way that people describe their experience, it also, in some cases will track their facial expressions, their micro-expressions, and it takes that information, both the verbal and also the micro expressions and it will create a profile,” said Ruehle. “At that point, the hiring manager has a very important decision that they need to make.”

A decision based on a profile you likely won’t get to see.

“Job searching before all this came up was scary and intimidating for people, even before we had an interview with robots,” explained Stacie Haller, chief career advisor for

She addressed why companies don’t often advertise what AI they use.

“When you’re hired, you want to talk to people. You want to gauge people. It gives you so much information about the company, and companies don’t want to look like they’re just taking shortcuts to hiring, but that’s what they’re trying to do here is really take a shortcut,” said Haller.

Shortcuts where she says great candidates may get lost, “because the process doesn’t work for everybody.”

Social Media

Haller warns technology also makes it easier for companies to collect information not on your resume. A recent survey found three out of four companies will dig into your digital existence to help them make a decision.

“74% say they use it to screen candidates, and 68% are getting answers for illegal questions that they’re not allowed (to ask). That’s very disturbing,” Stacie Haller, Chief Career Advisor,

“74% say they use it to screen candidates, and 68% are getting answers for illegal questions that they’re not allowed. That’s very disturbing,” said Haller. “They say they’re looking for cultural fit. So, what does cultural fit mean? When we got underneath that, they’re looking for your age; they’re looking for your politics, they’re looking for gender identity, they’re looking for if you’re married, they’re looking for race.”

I reached out to Lee Health, the largest employer in Southwest Florida, to find out if and how they use AI in hiring.

“AI has changed HR in terms of helping us to really look at ways that we can automate some of the work that would otherwise be done manually,” said Kristy Rigot.

Kristy Rigot, Lee Health systems director, human resources

Rigot is the system director for human resources. She explained how their virtual recruiting assistant, “Olivia,” cuts the time it takes to screen candidates and schedule interviews from days to minutes of applicants engaging with the chatbot.

“For us, just the sheer volume of applications that we get, close to 4000 every month, this will enable us to more quickly work through those,” said Rigot. “It doesn’t necessarily screen people out forever, but it will help us try to identify the best-qualified candidates that we want to get scheduled very quickly for an interview.”

Rigot said interviews with people, not artificial intelligence, “because we know candidates want to learn more about our culture, our values, what are some of the total rewards that we offer as an employer, so we want to keep that human connection.”

Panella is encouraged by how this introductory knowledge to AI is already changing how she applies for jobs. “I’m already doing it!”


  • Keywords matter.
  • Match your resume to the job description.
  • Practice job interview questions you can find on the internet—on camera.
  • Do mock interviews with friends on Zoom or Facetime, or you can also use paid platforms like LinkedIn where you can practice your answers and get feedback to improve your performance.

Share your AI job stories with me at

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.