While 79 percent of organizations are using CRM (Candidate Relationship Management) technology today, nearly one-third are dissatisfied with it. (Unfortunately, it seems like its favor is going the route of the ATS…) But it’s up to us to change its course. As much as we love to hate it, the technology (in most cases) isn’t the problem. Often, the issue is rooted in how we’re using (or rather, not using) it.
Now hold on: it’s not your fault! Really. With so many definitions of what a CRM does floating out in the talent acquisition universe, on top of little differentiation or guidance from vendors, it’s no wonder just the mention of these three letters can stir up such animosity and stress.
It’s time to stop the confusion. What exactly should your CRM do for you—and what do you need to do to get the most out of it?
Three powerful functions—automation, workflows and segmentation—are critical for turning your CRM from a glorified database into a relationship-building, workflow-created, recruiter lifesaving tech (what you were probably expecting when you signed on the dotted line). These functions allow you to develop and nurture long-term relationships with interested but not-yet-sold candidates and are precisely what makes the CRM so effective and essential to any modern recruiting strategy. It’s all about timing and relevance.
But many talent acquisition teams aren’t using these features to their full potential—if they’re using them at all. Often (and I’ve heard this from smaller companies all the way up to enterprise organizations), thousands of leads are sitting in a database never being communicated to. So even if you do have a robust CRM, it’s useless unless you have a plan of action for how you and your team will leverage this functionality.
Let’s dive into how you should be thinking about these three critical functions:
The automation features of a CRM are crucial for efficiently building your talent pipeline and closing the communication gap with every candidate. Essentially, it’s a personal assistant that continuously works for you—you just have to know how to enable it in the right ways. It allows you to unsaddle yourself of the administrative burden of tracking and engaging pre-applicant candidates (in spreadsheets, in resume drawers, in calendar notes…), so that you can focus on more relationship-focused and creative recruiting initiatives.
Tips for using it: Schedule an automatic email reminder to be sent to candidates who started your online application but never finished it. Based on SmashFly’s customer data, roughly 90 percent of candidates who start an application don’t finish it. This means that if you’re not capturing these leads before they slip away, you’re missing out on a huge pool of qualified talent. By inserting a talent network form before the application, a CRM enables you to capture basic candidate information and then automatically sends these people a reminder email, your newsletter or job alerts. Without your recruiters lifting a finger.
With a CRM, you can build unlimited custom workflows to effectively nurture leads through targeted email campaigns to make sure they’re getting the right message at the right time. Workflows can be complex, supporting targeted engagement efforts and allowing you to build on candidate actions and behaviors to develop personalized touchpoints. As an example, one of our customers uses over 20 dynamic workflows that automatically execute based on different candidate actions!
Tips for using it: Set up alerts so that you can quickly follow up with candidates that have shown interest in your employer brand or jobs based on their actions in the CRM record. It looks something like this: Joe signs up for your regional recruiting event in Houston. Your CRM is set up to put any person who signs up for that recruiting event into a segmented talent pool of central Texas-based candidates, as well as an email list for that specific event. Joe then receives automated communication ahead of the event, as well as separate job alerts in that area and email content based on employees and projects in that particular office.
Highly configurable segmentation features allow you to route candidates into different workflows based on the type of events, jobs or content they would like to see—automatically or manually. (For example, a recruiter might want to add to their own list in the CRM of top talent they want to keep in touch with over time.) It helps keep recruiters organized, improves relevancy and personalization of your communications (a college student and a military veteran require different messaging, for example!), and allows you to better assess the impact of your various recruiting campaigns and initiatives. Plus, all of these segmented talent pools can be seen across your recruiting team, so there is a centralized view of your total addressable talent audience.
Tips for using it: Make sure you’re categorizing and segmenting candidates into multiple pipelines and lists to appropriately route to your campus, executive, hourly or corporate hiring teams. Segmenting candidates by persona type, education level, interest or from where they were sourced also allows you to more easily search for ideal candidates when job reqs open. As part of GE’s recent Millie Dresselhaus Women in STEM campaign, they tied a custom talent network form to the video, and then segmented every woman who filled out that form into a list that would receive email content. This way, they could continue the campaign’s messaging to a targeted group (relevance and personalization!)—in this case, they featured a female GE employee’s story of finding her way into a STEM career and her passion for it at GE.
I make the comparison to marketing automation platforms like Hubspot and Pardot a lot when talking to talent acquisition teams about CRM. Nobody uses these as just a database of names – what a waste of money! Rather, these platforms act as a central hub for intricate workflows that nurture prospects and inch them further down the funnel for sales. They are essential to a mature marketing strategy and lead generation program. The same should go for your CRM.
A CRM isn’t just a static repository of email addresses. If yours is, take a hard look if it’s actually the technology’s capabilities or if it’s the way you’re using it.