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Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Software FAQs

These are the questions we hear a lot and you'll find answers below. But if you have others, please don't hesitate to contact us – we're here to help.

What is an applicant tracking system (ATS) or a recruitment software?

An applicant tracking system (ATS) helps manage the entire recruitment process, acting as a one-stop-shop for internal and external recruiting within companies. It can mange both active and passive candidates and helps to ensure companies have the best chance to attract, hire and retain talent.

Recruiting can be very competitive and it’s important that applicants have a user-friendly, simple, and responsive experience throughout the recruitment experience. Using an ATS is an excellent way for companies to improve the candidate experience in recruiting, as the recruiting software helps elevate brand awareness through company branded-portals, makes it easy for recruiters to maintain a regular dialogue with applicants throughout the hiring process, and makes it simple for potential candidates to see and apply for a job through mobile-friendly software and personal welcome pages and candidate portals.

Not only does an ATS have benefits for candidates, it also helps make recruiters' jobs easier and more automated. Recruitment software can help HR teams manage candidate sourcing and talent pools more simply, by automating areas like the CV-selection process, bringing the best talent to the top of the pile rather than having recruiters sift through CVs manually, which has historically been quite time consuming.

This automated CV selection through ATS software can also help recruiters avoid recruitment bias – whether intentional or not. Sometimes people can be discriminated against in the hiring process due to personal attributes such as age, race, gender, nationality and more. In some cases, this is due to the recruiter’s experiences, but it can also be due to a subconscious bias where the recruiter doesn’t realise they are behaving in a discriminatory way. Biases can also be subtler than this, such as a recruiter dismissing a candidate because of a place they have previously worked. In having software that helps sort CVs for them, recruiters will be presented with the best candidates for the role on paper, regardless of their personal background, work history and more.

This type of candidate selection can be based on specific keywords, but are more and more using predictive analytics for higher precision and efficiency.

Aside from these benefits, ATS software also helps recruiters with:

  • Candidate referral management
  • Insights and data on time-to-hire and other recruitment patterns
  • Pre-screening and self-assessments for candidates
  • Simplified and GDPR-compliant applicant data management
  • Simple tools for creating hiring reports for management teams

Another very important function managed by recruiting software is about ensuring an ongoing communication with potential and existing candidates, which is why the ATS acronym is often replaced by CRM – Candidate Relationship Management. It helps keeping a talent pool up to date, and making sure existing candidates are kept aware of the status of their application. If recruiters often complain about ghost candidates that do not answer their solicitations, the truth is that ghost companies are almost a “normal” situation for candidates that never hear back from them once they’ve sent their applications.

The benefits of ATS software don’t stop with the recruitment process either, as it can also help support the onboarding process. There’s no point in having a slick candidate experience during the recruitment process, only for people to join and find that the onboarding phase is a mess – both processes must be linked. Recruitment software can help provide ‘pre-boarding’ information for newly hired employees in their candidate portal, such as company information and policies, and allows the HR team to immediately engage with new hires. These features help turn an excellent candidate experience into an excellent employee experience too.

Recruitment software can be highly beneficial for companies looking to overhaul their hiring process so that it is more engaging for applicants, simpler for candidates and recruiters alike, and provides more data on the recruitment process.

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Who uses ATS software?

Applicant tracking system (ATS) software can be useful for many different kinds of people and in many different ways, but generally speaking it used by people who facilitate and manage the hiring process within companies, and also by those people who are applying for jobs at companies.

People who might use ATS software include (but are not limited to) recruiters, talent acquisition business partners and hiring managers. These people will use the software to:

  • Review candidates’ applications and maintain talent pools
  • Arrange and analyse interviews with applicants
  • Upload background documents relevant to the hiring process
  • Score candidates during the hiring process
  • Invite existing employees to apply for new roles they may be suited for
  • Send requests and information to recruitment directors and HR directors
  • Transition people from candidates to employees with ‘pre-boarding’ information

HR directors and other senior HR people also use ATS software alongside recruitment and hiring managers to make their roles more automated and to simplify the candidate hiring experience. They will use the software to:

  • Approve requests from hiring managers and sign relevant documents
  • Review the candidates applying for roles at the company
  • Manage workflows band dialogues between different people during the recruitment process

Recruitment software doesn’t just have benefits for those doing the hiring. Candidates applying for jobs also use ATS software throughout and beyond the hiring process. For instance, existing employees – or internal candidates – will use it to:

  • View current job descriptions for roles in the company
  • Upload their CV and apply for roles via internal career centres
  • View the status of their job application during the recruitment process

From this point of view, a recruitment software can also be used for internal mobility, as the difference between internal and external recruitment is now often blurred.

For external candidates who are newly applying to the company, they use ATS software in the same way as internal candidates, but in additional ways with added tools and benefits such as:

  • Being able to add details about themselves into the system
  • Managing their data in the system throughout the hiring process
  • Having the means to apply for roles through more sources, such as linking their social media sites like LinkedIn and external career sites
  • Being able to partake in video interviews

These functionalities mean that recruitment software makes the hiring process easier to manage and, in some cases, faster for both those involved in recruiting and candidates alike. It also ensures that both parties are able to be kept up to date with the status of an application, reducing the chances of silent periods or ambiguity for candidates in particular.

For all involved, ATS software translates to easier communication, more effective hiring, and streamlined administration processes. Hiring can be fully automated where it needs to be, and it provides a holistic HR solution for recruitment.

Recruiting people can often be a highly competitive process in the UK and Europe and the way companies manage the hiring process can determine whether a candidate will accept a job offer or not. By using ATS software and human capital management (HCM) platforms more broadly, companies can improve the recruitment process to ensure a seamless candidate experience – and when it can be the difference between securing great talent or losing it, it’s better to play it safe!

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How to implement ATS software

Before implementing an applicant tracking system, you need to search for vendors and find the software that will be easy to use and give the most value back to the business. This can be a daunting task for those involved but can be made easier by asking the right questions. Make sure you ask yourself questions such as:

  • What is wrong today in the way we recruit that makes us review our hiring process? Is this because of lack of candidates, lack of quality, low retention…?
  • Are there some significant features or capabilities that our current system is lacking?
  • What are our main recruiting priorities in the next 12 months that recruitment software would need to help with?
  • Will we need to replace existing legacy IT systems to implement this and will that be difficult?
  • Will we need to change any existing functions in order for this to work effectively?
  • Is my recruiting team completely isolated or is recruiting a true part of my global HR and Human Capital Management strategy? Having a tool that can be expanded to other related processes such as employee data management, succession planning, performance management, learning and development… can help simplify your overall HR management.

Answering these questions will help guide you to the right vendor, and by establishing your priorities, needs and challenges you should be able to create a list of needs versus wants in your new ATS software search. Do keep in mind though that good recruitment software will be customisable to fit your company’s needs and shouldn’t require major internal changes to make it work.

It’s also particularly important to consider whether the vendors you are considering will deliver the efficiencies you need in terms of cost and time. Great ATS software will make hiring faster and smarter for companies, enabling them to automate administrative tasks for the HR team and providing useful insights on candidates and recruitment patterns. Can your prospective software do this?

Finally, you need to ensure that the vendor you choose is able to support you throughout the implementation process, and that they can recommend an appropriate partner to manage the project too.

As a company, you need to be careful about all the elements that will help get return on investment. Overhauling your recruitment process is not just about licensing software and implementing it, you have to think about how it will deliver results. There is also the management of the system and keeping up-to-speed with the regular innovation – one of the biggest advantages of a cloud-based platform.

Therefore, not only should you expect your software vendor to advise you on the best system integrator to make your implementation successful, but also to serve you directly and on a constant basis, with a clear commitment to client success and support. Within your own company, you should also engage in regular conversations, both with the software vendor and with other users to learn tips and tricks on how to optimise the usage of the platform.

As with recruiting and onboarding within a company, the dialogue with your chosen vendor shouldn’t stop once your recruitment software is up and running. The software vendor should be in contact with you regularly – often through a customer success manager – to make sure your company is getting the most out of the software, can resolve any problems with it, is seeing a return on investment, and ultimately experiencing a more efficient, smarter, and faster hiring experience for both recruiters and candidates.

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What is included in Cornerstone Recruiting Suite?

Cornerstone Recruiting Suite includes Cornerstone Recruiting, our Applicant Tracking System (ATS), and Cornerstone Onboarding, our new hire onboarding solution

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What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

An applicant tracking system is a software solution that automates and streamlines an organisation’s recruiting processes. Collecting all candidate data, requisitions, and recruiting workflows in one easily accessible location, an ATS centralises the recruiting process. With this technology, you can reduce time spent on manual processes, improve collaboration, and make smarter hiring decisions.

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What can you do with an ATS?

Automate Job Posting – Easily create job ads and post to career sites, job boards, social networks, recruiting agencies, and internally.


Manage Candidate Data – Centralise your recruiting data and track and store all your applicant information in a one place to reduce manual, paper-based processes.


Manage Employee Referrals – Track employee referrals and manage payouts.


Create Career Sites – Showcase your unique culture, elevate your employment brand, and reach more qualified job seekers with an unlimited number of branded, customisable career sites.


Track Recruiting Metrics – Gain the data you need to optimise your hiring process by tracking key metrics and identifying areas that need improvement.


Customise and Standardise Workflows – Define your organisation’s hiring process and the candidate experience. Workflow templates allow you to easily predefine and standardise the information and preferences that make up your recruiting process.

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What are the benefits of using an ATS?

Automate and streamline recruiting processes – Streamline your hiring processes with tools that remove the administrative burden. From easily tracking and managing every applicant through every step of the hiring process, to managing interview and offer letters, an ATS is designed to help recruiters and hiring teams get more done with less time and effort.


Provide a painless and engaging candidate experience – The power has shifted from employer to candidate, and candidates today want and expect great experience. Give them what they want and stand out against the rest with customisable career sites that allow you to elevate your unique employer brand and culture and a painless application process that makes it easy for candidates to apply – across all devices.


Alleviate compliance issues – Minimise compliance concerns by standardising job postings, interview questions, self-assessments, and candidate screening. With comprehensive reporting capabilities, you have all the data you need to properly and efficiently run an audit.


Optimise your hiring process – Centralise all your recruiting data to track key hiring metrics and gain actionable data on the effectiveness of your hiring processes. With real-time data you can identify areas that need improvement, address bottlenecks, and make better hiring decisions – all improving your bottom line.

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What are the features of an Applicant Tracking System?

ATS software solutions can include a wide variety of features, but the following are the most common ones you should consider:

Applicant Tracking – Track and manage all applicants through the entire hiring process.


Job Posting – Easily create job ads and post to career sites, job boards, and social networks.


Employee Referral Management – Track employee referrals and manage payouts.


Career Sites – Branded, configurable web pages to showcase your organisations culture with interactive media, messages, and resource.


Interview Management – Manage the interview process with tools at that allow you to schedule interviews, request references, collect interview feedback.


Offer Letter Management – Create, manage, and track offer letters to support seamless, end-to-end communication with the candidate.


Screening – Configure pre-screening questions and 3rd party assessments.


Reporting and Dashboards – Track and visualise key talent acquisition metrics.

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What is employee onboarding?

Employee onboarding is the process in which new hires gain the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviors needed to become effective members of their new organisation. Onboarding helps new hires adjust to the social and performance aspects of their new jobs and integrates them into the organisation and its culture.

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What is onboarding software?

Onboarding software is a technology solution that facilitates a new hire’s or seasoned employee’s transition into a new role. With tools that make it easy to track the progress of each hire through the onboarding process, collect critical employee information, and route important forms, onboarding solutions improve efficiency and standardise onboarding processes. It allows organisations to provide a personalised experience and ensures new hires have everything they need to be prepared for their new role even before day one. With this technology, you can engage employees faster, ensure compliance, and accelerate a new hire’s time to productivity.

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What can you do with onboarding software?

Centralise onboarding processes – Provide one central place for recruiters, HR, hiring managers, new hires, and any new hire onboarding stakeholder to coordinate, track, and complete onboarding tasks.


Track progress – With the Onboarding Dashboard, ,make it easy to manage tasks for new hires and provide visibility to all stakeholders to help them track progress and stay up to date.


Personalise the new hire experience – With new hire onboarding portals, welcome new hires with messages, videos, and important resources tailored to their specific role.


Go paperless – Eliminate paperwork, filing, and redundant data entry with the capability to create, send, track, and store forms to collect important employee information.

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What are the benefits of onboarding software?

Automate and streamline onboarding processes – Streamline your onboarding processes with tools that remove the administrative burden, paper-based processes, and redundant data entry. Assign onboarding tasks, configure automated alerts, and easily track the onboarding progress of all new hires all in one place.


Improve time to productivity – Provide an engaging and automated new hire portal, even before ay one, that is tailored to the new hire’s specific role to help them feel welcomed and prepared for their new role. A streamlined onboarding workflow makes it easy for new hires to manage and organise their tasks and ensure they have all the important information, forms, and resources they need to get them up to speed quickly.


Improve employee retention – Go beyond forms management and deliver a seamless,
automated new hire onboarding experience that focuses less on paperwork and more time on building relationships, setting expectations, and showing new hires how they can be successful in your organisation.

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What are the features of an onboarding system?

Onboarding software solutions can include a wide variety of features, but the following are the most common ones you should consider:


Configurable Workflows – Implement onboarding processes and tailor the onboarding experience to fit your organisation’s needs.


Electronic Forms – Dynamically create fields, build forms, and send out forms to new hires to collect necessary information.


Document Storage – Easily and securely store important employee documents and data in one central.


Task Management – Task assignment, automated notifications, and progress tracking helps keep everyone on track.

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Employee onboarding vs orientation?

Onboarding is a series of events, which includes orientation, that make up a process that helps new hires understand how to be successful in their new role. Onboarding provides customised information and resources to the new hire based on his role within the company. An onboarding strategy focuses on helping new employees feel welcomed, make connections, and understand how their day-to-day tasks are tied to the company-wide goals.

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Does Cornerstone Recruiting integrate with other applications?

We understand that there are a variety of talent acquisition solutions that could fill the diverse needs of a talent acquisition team, and even more options for each specific area. With Cornerstone’s partners and Edge Marketplace, you can remove the burden of managing multiple disparate solutions by leveraging an ecosystem of best-of-breed solutions. Our pre-built integrations make it easy for your organisation to extend its Cornerstone platform and seamlessly integrate all your talent acquisition solutions to get a comprehensive view into your organisation.

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What is the recruiting life cycle?

A recruiting life cycle is the complete end-to-end recruiting process. The full recruiting life cycle encompasses 5 main stages:

Requisition management – To successfully find the right candidate you must define your ideal candidate and write a job description that attracts the right candidates.


Sourcing – To attract top talent, you must post job openings to job boards, career sites, social networks, employee referrals, and to internal employees.


Screening and assessment – The goal of this stage is to narrow down all your candidates to the very best most fit talent.


Offer and verification – Once you’ve found the perfect candidate, its time to extend an offer and run the necessary background checks.


Onboarding – Onboarding is the process of making new employees feel welcomed and prepared for their new role so they want to stay with your organisation.

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