Recruitment CRM "Gotchas"


It seems these days that large recruiting organizations are increasingly evaluating or implementing recruitment CRMs (or candidate relationship management). That's good. As we've covered before, your ATS isn't designed to build long term relationships with candidates and that's not changing anytime soon. But in the case of CRM, what you don't know could hurt you.

In other words, you should have a good sense of what strategies you are trying to employ and what problems you are trying to solve. But even then, there are several "gotchas" to look out for with CRM systems. Here are a few common CRM drivers and some key tips (and gotchas) as you evaluate solutions.

STRATEGY: Build a database of casual/passive candidates for specialized or high volume positions.

This is a great use for CRM. Oftentimes, organizations will come at this strategy by implementing a talent network or job alert system that recruiters can search and source candidates from. In fact, many vendors call their talent network capabilities recruitment CRM (gotcha).E-CRM. Information Technology Concept. Button on Modern Computer Keyboard. 3D Render..jpeg

The downside here is that your searches are typically limited to your job alert or talent network members. Don't you have a hard time searching and sourcing past applicants in your ATS? What about candidates from recruiting events? What about all those candidates sitting in recruiters' inboxes? Wouldn't it be great to have a single system that would include talent network members AND all your other pre-applicant candidates from agencies and other sources AND all your past applicants?

Yes it would. Don't mistake searchable talent networks with CRM.

STRATEGY: Centralize all your candidates and share them across your team.

This is a foundational value for CRM: Leveraging candidates and past applicants to make your recruiting and sourcing teams more efficient.

Keep in mind, though, that some CRM systems charge by the seat (gotcha). A better fit for this purpose would be to look for a system that charges a flat site license fee, regardless of the number of users. This makes it easier to extend usage across your organization and get maximum value.

In any case you should also be pulling past applicants in from your ATS (a rich source of viable candidates). So having to pay by the seat to access your own past applicants is too much to ask.

And while you are empowering your recruiters to source from your centralized talent pool, wouldn't it be great to get more of the right kind of candidate into that pool for them?

It would. So another feature to look for is the ability to pull candidates in from external resume sources like Indeed or Careerbuilder or any of the other resume databases you may subscribe to. Your CRM should be able to automatically search external sources and download qualified candidates for your recruiters.

STRATEGY: Build relationships ahead of need.

It's called Candidate Relationship Management, isn't it? So what do all relationships need to thrive?

  • Communication. You need to be able to send targeted, scheduled communication via email, sms, social networks, and the like.
  • Understanding. You need to know who the candidate is, what they are interested in, and what interactions they have had with you in the past.
  • Respect. You need to let candidates know where they are in your process at every step and help them to better engage with you.

So a good recruitment CRM system needs for sure to be able to send scheduled messages to keep candidates updated, educated, and engaged.

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But even if your CRM has the capability to schedule emails and keep track of recruiter notes, you may not realize that it needs deep integration with your ATS to facilitate proper communication and respect (gotcha).

How else will you know which jobs they've applied for, or which stages they've reached in the hiring process? All your goodwill is gone once you send a scheduled message to a candidate who is interviewing for another job.

The fact is that how well your CRM integrates with your ATS affects the quality of your relationship management in a big way. Your CRM should sync candidates to your ATS on a near real time basis. And it should sync more than just basic contact info. It should sync hiring stage, recruiter notes, and more. If you have two islands of information about each candidate, how can you develop campaigns and programs to build relationships and fill positions?

These are just a few of the kinds of hidden details that emerge as you get serious about leveraging recruitment CRM into your recruiting efforts. Just make sure you keep your strategies at the forefront of your needs analysis rather than getting caught up in features, bells and whistles. It's the best way to avoid the gotchas.

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