Would a CRM by any other name smell as sweet?
Customer Relationship Management. Two years ago I’d never heard of CRMs and today I don’t know how any business operates without one.
A CRM tool, system, or software, is one that manages customer contacts and their information, like a phone book or a rolodex (yeah, yeah, even a Millennial like me knows what those are–
I saw them on Mad Men). Usually they come with other features to help you organize and funnel those contacts, track them over time, and keep notes.
Some CRMs combine themselves with marketing, analytics, and VOIP/telephony tools, so that you can tie all your outreach and communications with clients together under one metaphorical roof.
Recruiters use CRMs, too, but in this industry they usually take the form of the ATS, or applicant tracking system, with which so many have a love/hate relationship. And as with a CRM, the ATS often comes with features that elevate it beyond a digital phone book with notes. I’ve sometimes seen ATSs referred to as “recruitment CRMs”, which just confirms their similarity of concept.
If you’re a job board or a recruitment company, you potentially have two or three use-cases for CRMs and their equivalents.
1) Your Customers and/or Recruiters:
If you’re a job board, employers are doing their own hiring, and they make use of a way to organize their candidates and applicants built right into their account on your board. Hiring managers may also maintain a list of the active and passive candidates they want to build relationships with and consider for future openings. These tools are especially useful for SMBs, who may not have the budget for their own dedicated CRM or ATS software.
The ability to rate applicants, take notes, and communicate with other colleagues involved in the hiring process can also be vital. Having all such communications documented in a centralized location can also make transparency and compliance with HR rules or labour laws easier.
If you’re a recruitment company, it’s your recruiters doing all the legwork and they have even more cause to organize and centralize their candidate and hiring information.
All in all, a good CRM or ATS for employers and recruiters can reduce or eliminate the need for multiple spreadsheets, email folders, and other types of documentation that can slip through the cracks.
2) Job Board Owners or Recruitment Sales
Your customer is the employer. Sometimes they find you, and sometimes you find them. Either way, you have to build and maintain relationships with them to continue receiving their business. Whether your strategy is research and cold-calling, inbound marketing, advertising, or a combination of methods, you probably have something equivalent to a phone book or a rolodex even if you don’t have a dedicated CRM tool.
“Build it and they will come” does not work for any business, and if by chance it does, it will never be enough to sustain you. By keeping track of your clients, their needs, and your interactions with them, you will be in a better position to re-engage them as a customer if they haven’t been using your services in a while. A CRM is also crucial for any pro-active or outbound sales tactics (like cold-calling and building lead lists).
You don’t want to keep pestering the same solopreneur if you’ve already found out she doesn’t have use for your job board or recruiting services, and you don’t want to forget to call up the hiring manager of that business that isn’t hiring right now, but definitely could use your services in two months. It never hurts simply to stay in touch with clients, check the pulse of customer satisfaction, and get ideas on new and different ways you can work with them in the future.
3) Job Seekers:
Ah, the neglected user of the CRM tool! When active job seekers are given advice on how to really kick butt in their job hunt, they’re often told to get organized. Make spreadsheets. Talk to people. Customize those cover letters. Follow up!
It’s almost like being a recruiter or a sales rep for yourself. And there are lots of moving parts, documents, and bits of information that can quickly add up to chaos, missed opportunities, and last-minute scrambling. Which is why a CRM-type tool makes sense. One of the first feature sets Careerleaf built was the Job Manager, which took the concept of a CRM and designed it around helping job seekers keep track of their job leads, their contacts, their application status, and generally keep all the relevant info in one place.
The benefit to your business is that it helps your job seekers create a home-base for their job search and career management, making your website stickier, incentivizing their repeat use of your job board, and increasing the success of your customers’ investment in you.
CRMs, ATSs, Job Managers–they can all play their part in making job search, hiring, and recruiting a better process for everyone. More than that, using these tools can be the foundation for systemizing your processes, making you more efficient, methodical, and less likely to lose opportunities due to missing information.
Whatever you wanna call them, they just make sense for businesses, and your job board is no exception.