When it comes to using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) as a VC fund’s Head of Talent, there’s a huge range of possibilities and no single right answer. You might find yourself deep in the nitty gritty of a portfolio company’s ATS, or you might barely work with an ATS at all. The best ATS strategy is one that’s tailored to your fund, your portfolio’s hiring needs, and your role.

In this blog post, we’ll explore four common ways that Heads of Talent at VC funds work with an ATS when sourcing, filtering, screening, and interviewing candidates on behalf of their portfolio companies. After exploring these options, you’ll be able to choose the best ATS strategy for you and your venture fund.

ATS Strategy Options for a VC Fund's Head of Talent

  • Use lightweight tools: If you’re a Head of Talent who isn’t primarily focused on searches, then a simple approach might be all you need. Some Heads of Talent stay out of an ATS altogether and use tools like Airtable, Excel, or even a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to perform top-of-funnel talent sourcing from their networks. These tools might not give you a lot of bells and whistles, but they will allow you to do basic candidate tracking and organization.
  • Collaborate as a helper: If you actively assist with specific searches or job requisitions, you might find it useful to access a portfolio company's ATS to monitor candidate progress through the hiring funnel. Getting basic access is a good idea if you want to focus on oversight and collaboration without getting bogged down in daily hands-on work within the system. You’ll be able to stay informed and provide guidance as needed.
  • Get a single-company ATS for your fund: Some VC funds employ an ATS platform made for in-house recruiters. A tool like Greenhouse, Lever, Ashby, or Workable can give you more control over workflows, especially if you’re looking for affordability and flexibility. But these platforms aren’t designed for managing roles at multiple companies, which means permissioning and visibility can be a challenge when collaborating with stakeholders across multiple portfolio companies.
  • Adopt a full-blown recruiter ATS: For Heads of Talent who consider themselves full-time recruiters within their VC funds, a comprehensive recruiter ATS platform is essential. Tools like Thrive or Clockwork cater specifically to your needs. Thrive, being the more popular option, allows you to create privacy settings and restrict founder access so that they’ll only be able to manage open roles for their own company. This level of granular control ensures efficient workflow management, even when working on multiple searches for different companies.

Keep in mind that, if you leverage GetroConnect – which was created to help VC funds organize their networks – you can get even more value from your ATS strategy. You can upload candidates from any ATS (or from an Excel spreadsheet, LinkedIn, and a variety of other sources) into GetroConnect to see matches for other open jobs.

Customize Your ATS Strategy for Your VC Fund

If you’re a Head of Talent at a VC fund, there is no definitive best practice for using an ATS. The strategy you choose ultimately depends on the scale of your involvement, your collaboration requirements, and your budgetary restraints.

An ATS is a useful tool, but you need to choose the right tool for the job. Whether you choose a full-blown recruiter ATS with all the fixings or a simple Excel sheet, it’s crucial that you align your ATS strategy with your specific needs and objectives. Once you do, you can streamline your hiring processes, enhance collaboration with portfolio companies, and help founders thrive.

Want to learn more about how to support your portfolio companies with recruiting? Explore GetroConnect to find solutions tailor-made for your fund.