What were the first applicant tracking systems

What Were the First Applicant Tracking Systems?

In the era of omnipresent applicant tracking systems, it’s hard to imagine a world where a desk, rolodex, pen and phone served as the finest and only HR solution.

In those days, recruiters were bogged down with paperwork, office memos, letters and newspaper clippings mentioning job openings. It was also hard to talk about any compliance and data security. Fortunately, a lot has changed since then. But What were the first applicant tracking systems? And when were they created and what functionalities did they offer?

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When was the applicant tracking system invented?

The first applicant tracking system as we know it was created in the late 1990s. Prior to that, there were only a few software companies that offered basic HR management solutions. However, these didn’t focus on recruitment functionalities.

So, what was the purpose of the first ATS? It was intended and developed to help streamline the recruitment process by automating repetitive tasks, providing a central database for storing candidate information, and ensuring greater consistency in hiring practices.

Although it’s true that the first solutions emerging on the market at the end of the 20th century made it possible to store candidate information digitally, it needs to be mentioned that they focused more on compliance issues.

As you can guess, compliance has always been a must-have in every recruitment process. That’s why the first solutions focused on it completely. However, HR and recruitment specialists quickly realized that there was room for improvement and other functionalities.

This is how the software we know today was created.

The history of the first applicant tracking systems

Over the years, HR departments around the world slowly learned how to embrace the possibilities offered by modern technologies.

As a consequence, the existing applicant tracking systems were complemented with functionalities such as:

  • Resume parsing
  • Social media monitoring
  • Reporting tools
  • Job postings
  • Candidate screening

The development and history of ATS has progressed so much that today’s solutions can automatically import candidate data from their social media pages, or job boards.

As a result, a recruiter doesn’t have to waste time searching for the right talent pool, checking resumes, or sending initial messages. An applicant tracking system is much more than a simple document or compliance management system. It can do all the mentioned activities within a few seconds, streamlining recruitment, hiring, or even onboarding processes.

How did they change the recruitment process?

The applicant tracking systems changed the recruitment process by automating steps such as tracking, sorting, and rating job applicants. This automation made it possible for employers to process and manage large numbers of applications in a quick and efficient way.

In addition, it’s important to mention that ATSs made it easier for employers to identify and assess job applicants who were the best match for open positions.

first applicant tracking systems

What are the benefits of modern ATSs?

Modern applicant tracking systems benefit organizations and recruiters in a number of ways, helping them to:

  • Increase efficiency – An ATS helps an organization to post job openings and track applicants more efficiently.
  • Enhance applicant screening – Modern software typically includes tools that allow recruiters to screen applicants more effectively and quickly to find the best candidates for the job.
  • Improve time-to-hire – If you’re looking for a solution that will help you automate repetitive tasks and speed up the entire recruitment process, an ATS is the right fit for you.
  • Better candidate experience – by providing a more efficient and streamlined process, ATSs have a positive impact on the experience and well-being of candidates.

The first applicant tracking systems. The takeaway

What were the first applicant tracking systems? Although the first solutions developed at the end of the 20th century focused mainly on compliance with the rules and regulations, modern applicant tracking systems are much more complex and multi-faceted.

They have transformed the entire recruitment and hiring process, making it more efficient, easier and less time-consuming.

Want to learn more about getting the best out of your applicant tracking system, schedule a call with us!

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