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What's up .docx?

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 8:00am Wednesday 12 August 2009    Print Article

Have you ever received a resume in .docx format and were unable to open it? I have, but that was back in 2007! I was polite enough to email the candidate and ask them to resend the resume in .doc format. Unfortunately, not all recruiters/employers will do the same.

Last week I noticed a tweet from Brett Iredale at JobAdder talking about a new function to the multi-posting system. One of the new functionalities in JobAdder allows you to convert a document type from one file format to another.  YAY, now we need to wait for all the others to follow.

In 2007, Microsoft released Office 2007 which included a variety of new file formats including docx, xlsx, pptx etc. These new file formats were not backwards compatible with earlier versions of Microsoft Word.

To fix the file compatibility problem, you can download a patch that will allow you to open docx files in earlier versions of Word.

But... the average recruiter may not have the technical skills (or administration rights) to perform such an upgrade.

There are currently no publically available statistics on the percentage % of received application file types (ie doc, docx, rft, pdf, html, etc) processed by the various systems/vendors. So I asked some of my peers in the industry to calculate their system statistics.

.docx file format, 7% - 20% of all applications processed (approx)

The file format issue is not only confined to .docx - there are a number of recruitment databases, applicant tracking systems, etc that are unable to handle/parse/convert pdf's! So what will happen to the candidate’s unread resume? Will you...
  • email the candidate asking for another version?
  • try converting the resume to another format?
  • reject the candidate’s application?
  • skip and pretend you never received the application?
Most likely you will skip over candidate and move onto the next application. Download and install the upgrade. You never know if THAT candidate will be the one you place.

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Article Tags: doc pdf docx microsoft office resume online application form online recruitment document type microsoft word jobadder recruitment database resume parsing applicant tracking system

Comments Hide Comments (1)

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 grahamw (10:39am Friday 14 August 2009)

Good article. In my recruitment days, one of the other reasons why a word document would be requested was so that it could be edited. Personal details were removed (privacy reasons) and a 'pitch' would be added to the front cover usually with a company logo etc so that it is presented nicely and introduced the candidate in summary.

With regards to Recruitment Software. At Bond our 'Adapt' Recruitment solution and 'Talent' ATS will parse PDF's if the document is 'text'. Some PDF's are images and therefore cannot be parsed. Cheers Graham

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