You know the story that today’s train tracks are actually based on the width of Roman era chariots? It’s not a completely true story, but the gist is real enough: legacy thinking and tools impact how the current generation thinks about things. Because chariots were roughly four and a half feet wide, the gauges of modern trains are also roughly that wide. That means that almost anything we need shipped from one place to another must be broken into pieces narrow enough to fit on a train (the engine of the space shuttle, for example, had a maximum width because of that).

In the recruiting world, we see the same thing: how much of what we do in the ultra-modern social media-driven world, is based on the ATS?

The ATS, which was designed to help recruiters manage oceans of resumes as paper versions were mailed to them blindly, is now being offered as a relationship building tool, which is simply isn’t. At it’s finest, an ATS is a tool that helps you get more applications by standardizing and simplifying the process of collection.

But these days, do you really need more applications? Isn’t the bigger issue that you need better applications?

There is absolutely nothing an ATS can do to help you there. And because it is the central technology upon which all recruiting processes stand, all other tools must live with the ATS’s limitations.

So the next time you are thinking about the issues your team is trying to solve, think beyond the ATS. It’s the only way to come up with better answers to today’s real hiring problems.