Best Practices in HR

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Elyse Schmidt
  October 11, 2017

Choosing the Right CRM: 3 Things to Know

According to Glassdoor research, the average corporate job post attracts 250 resumes. Just 10 open jobs means an average of 2,500 applications. 2,500 candidates to screen for fit and qualifications, to follow up with, to potentially exclude too early or keep too long in the process. Have 100 open jobs? You’ve really got your work cut out for you!

With this many applicants, recruiters simply can’t keep in contact with every candidate. And their managers don’t expect them to. But what about what candidatesexpect? Definitely not a black hole of no response, which is what’s happening; in 2016, 47 percent of candidates were still waiting to hear back from employers more than two months after they applied.

Talent acquisition teams can’t maintain this level of screening, segmenting, outreach and sourcing by themselves (if you can, share your secrets, please!). So, they invest in CRM (Candidate Relationship Management) technology. It enables them to manage a database of people who are interested in working for them. CRMs replace spreadsheets and emails and post-it notes and business cards and stacks of resumes. They expand beyond just tracking applicants in an ATS, to tracking potential applicants primed for communication. It’s a step in the right direction.

But there’s a difference between a standalone, basic CRM that serves as a digital Rolodex of names and email addresses, and a CRM that’s part of a strategic Recruitment Marketing Platform. Here are 3 things to look for when staking out the differences.

1. The Big Differentiator: Integration

Perhaps the biggest difference between a standalone CRM and a CRM that is a part of a more integrated technology like a Recruitment Marketing Platform is in how candidate leads get into the database. Disconnected from your career site, events and even your ATS, a standalone CRM tool can’t automatically pull in key contacts from other sources, like new leads from your event landing pages or previous applicants in the ATS. So how do contacts make it into the database? Recruiters typically enter the names manually, one by one or spreadsheet by spreadsheet. Talk about time wasted and leads lost.

Recruitment Marketing Platform includes a CRM and manages and measures your career site, events, referrals, social media channels and more. Because these channels are all in one single system of record, the CRM integrates with all of them. Someone filled out your talent network form at a college career fair? They’re automatically imported in your CRM. There’s no need for a recruiter to return to the office and input everyone they talked to into a database. Instead, they can focus on nurturing the relationships that began at the event, as soon as they get back. Win.

Plus, think about all the silver medalist applicants sitting in your ATS. Thousands. With a Recruitment Marketing Platform that integrates with your ATS, these contacts can be migrated back into your CRM and then segmented and organized based on their status in the ATS. Lead generation made simple.

2. A Window Into the Candidate Journey 

Your candidate experience is a major differentiator in the competitive fight for the right-fit talent. The first step in improving it is understanding it. With a standalone CRM, once the candidate has been added, there isn’t much else that can be done to create an experience. Depending on the tool, you may be able to send generic job alerts, but beyond that, capabilities are limited.

Your candidate experience is a major differentiator in the competitive fight for the right-fit talent.

To get around this, many companies build out “frankensystems”– collections of small point solutions that layer on top of the CRM to add functionality. (And yes, they can be just as scary as their name suggests.) This approach may work for a while, assuming your CRM supports the integrations, but it still leaves you with muddied data from a variety of sources and a broken experience both internally for recruiters and externally for talent.

With a Recruitment Marketing Platform, your candidates’ existence in the CRM is just the beginning of their journey and experience. A Recruitment Marketing Platform can nurture candidates from interest all the way to apply, and even further, to hire. Maybe you send personalized content to candidates based on their interests. Maybe you send them recruiting event invitations based on their location. Or maybe you include some of your top Glassdoor reviews or employee videos after the final interview to encourage acceptance and excitement. It’s all about personalization through one central technology with one contact record, tracked every step of the way so you can continually improve your efforts.

3. Technology + Strategy: A Long-term Partnership

The best way to think of a Recruitment Marketing Platform is as a partner. You can set up targeted email marketing campaigns, engage with candidates on social media, post your jobs on thousands of sites, and create automation all through one singular, streamlined platform. These automated workflows really serve as a recruiter’s personal assistant. A right-hand man. A sidekick. Someone who has your team’s back and makes life easier.

Still, the right partnership goes beyond a technology assistant. ­­If you follow analysts in the talent acquisition space, you may have read Kyle Lagunas’ latest blog post on the “new most hated technology in recruiting.” Surprise – it’s not the ATS. He says it’s the CRM – and it’s because practitioners don’t know how to use it or maximize it. The best recruiting teams know that it’s not just a dynamic technology that helps you hire top talent – it’s also expertise of marketing and recruitment marketing principles.

Being a good partner is more than handing over a technology for a client to run with. The technology is one part of the equation. The second part? A partner who continually educates and empowers recruiting teams to become better recruitment marketers and marketers. That’s where an integrated technology like a Recruitment Marketing Platform comes in to offer that pivotal part of the equation.

Being a good partner is more than handing over a technology for a client to run with.

When it’s time to evaluate recruiting technologies, it’s important to be sure you know what exactly you need from your solution. If you need a virtual Rolodex, a standalone CRM might suit your organization just fine. But, if you’re looking for a complete solution to improve candidate profiles, build personalized candidate experiences, provide trustworthy data, and market your employer brand (not just jobs) across your recruiting channels, you’ll need something more robust – something with a vision for the future.

Recruitment marketing is a journey, and the technology your partner. Make sure you select a partner that will grow with you, not one you’ll outgrow as soon as you implement it.


Combining sourcing expertise with a marketer’s approach to communication, SmashFly’s CRM enables you to build better relationships with candidates now.

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