candidate experience

Candidate Relationship Management: When Talent Acquisition Thinks Like a Marketer

Jack Coapman is the Chief Strategy Officer for GR8 People. A change agent, skilled marketer and enterprise technology innovator for talent acquisition, Jack shares how and why Candidate Relationship Management is so transformative and impactful today.

Why is candidate relationship management (CRM) important?

It's competitive out there. Unemployment is now at 3.8 percent, the lowest rate we've seen since 2000. It's getting harder for organizations to attract and convert top talent into hires. While a strong employer brand can help attract the right candidates, a well-executed engagement strategy brings the competitive advantage. The talent acquisition lifecycle has taken a nod from consumerism in its approach and delivery. A CRM provides the ability to draw talent back in and keep them out of the black hole.

A GR8 CRM is rooted in powerful marketing automation. Can you expand on the possibilities particularly for an enterprise organization?

The application of marketing process to the recruiting function certainly adds additional items to the recruiters "to-do" list. Automation can help solve these types of problems, especially those with highly redundant tasks. But the real lift is when it is used thoughtfully throughout the engagement to provide the most promising upside. Recruiting teams are often managing multiple types of talent profiles, geographies and jobseeker expectations. Keeping candidate leads in a CRM, aggregating and segmenting their information and then programmatically matching that talent to timely communications and content saves hours of work and maintains team productivity. Automation can also save the day by keeping a lead or silver-medalist warm, rather than disengaged.

Have you seen good examples where personalization and automation work well together?

Yes, but we still need to keep the human in human resources, don't we? For automation to be effective there will always need to be considerations for personalization. For example, including a candidate's first name in a mass email campaign immediately comes to mind. However, relevancy is also incredibly important when we talk about personalization. Connecting the dots with a job seeker's profile to suggested jobs or sharing an employee story within the organization is a compelling way to re-engage with valuable talent in the pipeline. This can be nearly impossible to scale without a CRM.

A CRM strategy isn't limited to only enticing new candidates into the funnel. How are companies using CRM for their internal audiences, or to re-engage alumni that they may want to come back into the fold?

No one wants to lose a strong team member to the competition. Demonstrating internal mobility is one of the most effective approaches to retaining top talent. It's also a differentiator and much-desired aspect of a top place to work. Nurturing your employee base with opportunities to learn, grow and achieve creates positive experiences, loyalty and brand ambassadors who also tend to leave positive employer reviews and drive referrals.

An enterprise organization's alumni network can also be a powerful thing. Championing the accomplishments of those who have departed and presenting back company news, job opportunities and events to this network brings goodwill and a larger population to either boomerang or also refer others back to their former employer.

What about analytics and reporting? How are companies demonstrating that adding a CRM strategy really works?

When GR8 People designed our CRM, we wanted to make sure our customers were able to tell their story with data. Empowering them to uncover the insights they need to drive talent, their people and ultimately their business forward is one of the most satisfying aspects of what we get to do.

Customers demonstrate the success of their CRM in unique ways, but I'd point to conversion ratios and not just those limited to the "ultimate" ratio of leads to hires. It's the full path of the candidate journey that's important. Understanding where they visited, what they viewed, how (or if) they responded to a campaign helps talent-centered organizations refine strategy and messaging in more impactful ways.

Candidate relationship management has been transformative. What are you most excited about for the future of talent acquisition because of that?

Like many of us focused on technology, I admit to being most excited about AI and machine learning. Its promise of better aligning talent to opportunities is ideal for a CRM strategy. While there's always a new and shiny tool or technology that grabs our attention, the impact on continuously streamlining the recruiting process with AI is exciting.

I would also add that recruiters have always been marketers, but with a CRM they can really execute like one and build on a long-lasting, wide-reaching foundation. There's no doubt that an investment in a CRM not only engages talent pools, but also engages the talent acquisition teams to reach their potential too.


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