8 Reasons That Candidate Relationship Management Has Failed to Solve Talent-Acquisition Problems

Todd Raphael
Todd Raphael

CRM isn’t a new concept. Historically, the “C” has represented the customer, but in talent acquisition, the “C” is for candidates. Candidate Relationship Management has held the promise of streamlining the sourcing and engagement processes and shrinking the time to hire. If that promise had held up, then the relationship would be managed so well and the pipeline would be so warm that as soon as a job opened up, at a click of a button, voila, there’d be a qualified candidate.

However, legacy CRMs aren’t producing the results as promised.

Eight reasons why CRM has not been completely effective for recruiters:

Lack of personalization. Companies send one-size-fits-all content to prospects, and the prospects aren’t interested. Jody Ordioni is the CEO of Brandemix, which was named by Ongig as one of the top 20 recruitment ad agencies. She says “I believe that the answer is in the ‘R’ in CRM. We are looking to build relationships, and relationships imply a depth of knowledge about the C. In most cases there is a lack of understanding a customer’s needs and hence, no tailored marketing strategy in play on how to demonstrate one’s ability to meet them.”

Instead, companies could send tailored content using filters to select the audience. A veteran, for example, could receive blog posts and videos about the company’s recent work with the military. Alumni, employee referrals, diversity groups, and other segmentation helps boost response rates.

Not analyzing data. Did email A perform better than email B? What do we know about different geographies? What delivery time works best? These (and more) are all insights worth looking at and using to modify your outreach. Most CRM solutions collect copious amounts of data. Make sure you take the time to learn how to run reports so you can maximize your recruiting results.

Companies ask prospects for too little information. This is the garbage-in, garbage-out conundrum. If you’re asking a candidate for just their email address, yes it is a quick way of getting them into your database. But giving them the chance to upload a resume or other bio (like a LinkedIn profile saved as a PDF) can better match them with relevant jobs and company news. Otherwise, you’ll be collecting information that is ultimately not useful.

A human hasn’t reviewed the pipeline-nurturing. Verify that the jobs/emails being sent out are relevant to your various candidate populations.

Companies use CRMs to send out irrelevant roles to lists of random candidates. CRMs are used to send a long list of jobs that don’t appeal to people not actively looking for a job. CRMs should be used to market your company and workplace, with jobs being an additional item.

“CRM solutions should be used to engage both passive and active candidates for roles that are relevant to them,” says Chris Murdock, co-founder of IQTalent Partners. “The moment they get something from you that isn’t relevant, they’ll hit that unsubscribe link, and you’ve lost them.”

CRMs are bought for the wrong reasons. “CRMs fail often when they’re implemented to shore up the weaknesses of an ATS,” Murdock says. “There are several ways of filling in the gaps left by an ATS. Adding a CRM without first understanding why it’s needed and how to deploy the system is a recipe for disaster.”

Recruiters are busy. Phil Strazzulla, founder of SelectSoftware, says “The underlying reason why CRMs fail is behavior change, and the work that has to be done in order to see results, when every TA team is busy with a million other things.”

Angie Verros, who runs the event Talent42, agrees. “It seems that recruiters are so eager to fill urgent roles,” Verros says, “and they don’t take the time to nurture pipelines. Just like ATSs, CRMs are loaded with candidates but seldom do recruiters go to those to source candidates. I think the CRM/ATS technology is only as good as the user.”

Lack of technology adoption. Back to the problem of being busy mentioned by Strazzulla, companies haven’t adopted the latest technologies for making CRM successful. Many are still using outdated technologies that leave the process clunky and inefficient. Recruiting teams spend all day segmenting their talent pool, writing copy, preparing templates, and sending their emails—just to have most of the audience ignore it or report it as spam.

Addressing the eight challenges above will make your pipeline-nurturing far more effective and efficient, and boost your return on investment.

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