Prior to the late 1990s, the closest thing there was to an applicant tracking system (ATS) was a file cabinet, a phone, and a rolodex.

HR departments were bogged down in a sea of paper. Paper applications, post-it notes and office memos, newspaper clippings of job openings, and new hire paperwork packets made the job of hiring and onboarding an exercise in paper cuts and filing duties.

As for compliance issues, it is safe to say that there were some gaps between how safe applicant information should have been and how safe it actually was. For many organizations, the different between compliance and non-compliance boiled down to a flimsy lock on an old filing cabinet.

Happily, things have evolved since then.

Baby Steps toward Progress

The 1990s ushered in the era of technology specifically designed for applicant tracking. SHRM’s”Applicant Tracking Systems Evolve” notes: “The ATS revolutionized recruiting by automating the storing and processing of resumes and by protecting companies against lawsuits through greater consistency in hiring practices.”

While it is true that early applicant tracking systems did enable recruiters and HR pros to digitally file candidate information, the earliest of the applicant tracking systems focused more on compliance issues than ease of use for actual applicant tracking.

Easier compliance was a good thing, but there was room for improvement. By and large, companies were still posting their job openings manually, and those tasked with finding the right candidates for the job still spent hours combing through resumes and applications. Hiring managers, in other words, were still drowning in a sea of unprocessed applications.

Advancing Technology Connects the Dots

Though somewhat slower than other departments to embrace the possibilities of state-of-the-art technology, HR has continued to make progress. For instance, in the last few years, solid applicant tracking systems have begun to incorporate things like resume parsing, social media monitoring, and robust reporting metrics that take applicant tracking up by several notches.

Recruiter’s “Applicant Tracking Systems” observes: “Sometimes web based and sometimes client server, these complex systems often scale to hundreds of users. Recruiting teams or entire staffing firms share one installation of an applicant tracking system, and they are an extremely strategic and vital aspect of recruiting. Modern applicant systems can automatically import candidate resumes from social media, job boards, and Internet resumes. They store the resume and auto-populate various candidate fields (data about the applicant). The activities that a recruiter performs are then associated with the profile. Most applicant tracking systems are also sophisticated communication systems, allowing recruiters to email, SMS text, page, or even Tweet with candidates.”

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Thus, applicant tracking systems have moved well beyond being just document management systems and have become real hubs for most processes involved in applicant tracking, recruitment, hiring, and onboarding.

Commenting on the more modern applicant tracking systems, the Recruiter article adds: “A more recent development in the history of applicant tracking or ATS software is that they are being used for post-hire tracking as well as candidate tracking. Once a candidate is hired, the same applicant software can now be used for performance appraisals, talent forecasting, and employee management.”

There can be no denying that today’s applicant tracking systems are a far cry from the filled-to-bursting filing cabinets of yesteryear.

ThriveTRM: Applicant Tracking and Beyond

Consider, for example, ThriveTRM’s solution for VC firms. Providing a bird’s eye view of your entire talent pipeline across multiple portfolio companies, ThriveTRM enables a collaborative, cohesive approach to applicant tracking.

The software enables seamless importing of candidate information with LinkedIn profile parsing, creates a global view of all positions and candidates, and captures search-generated market intelligence. A sleek dashboard makes for ease of use, ensuring that hiring managers, key executives, and external recruiters can all access important information easily and quickly.

Would you like to see it in action? Schedule a demo and discover the features that make ThriveTRM the right solution for your VC firm today.