“You can’t use a talent surplus approach for hiring top people in a talent scarcity situation.”

– Lou AdlerThe Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired

Many Global Directors of Talent agree that great talent is rare, but then, why are we still using traditional approaches that assume that good people are in excess? An ATS has serious limitations to scale and hire the best talent. To start, understanding the differences between an ATS, CRM and HCM is key to understanding how to budget for the right tools to scale a recruitment team.


ATS vs CRM vs HCM 


To make sure we all are on the same page here, there are three main types of tools that talent acquisition teams are using today. The ATS, CRM and HCM. Here’s a quick explanation to make sure we’re all on the same page:

ATS: Your applicant tracking system is a repository for applicants and manages the application process. It’s often a compliance requirement and it’s the system of record that recruiters traditionally rely on.

CRM: Your relationship management system is for job seekers and candidates. It’s the engine that drives your sourcing team, lets you create talent pools and helps you build and nurture relationships with passive talent.

HCM: Your human capital management is a set of practices related to people resource management. These practices are focused on the organizational need to provide specific competencies and are implemented in three categories: workforce acquisition, workforce management and workforce optimization.

The ATS and HCM are great when great talent is a surplus, but today’s market, there’s never enough great candidates to hire. That’s why the CRM is continuing to grow as one of the needed tools to source and hire the best talent.


Applicant Tracking Systems are for Active Candidates 


Here’s a quick summary for a longer explanation, you can feel free to see this review. Active candidates are the ones that are currently coming into your applicant tracking system. In short, you’re only selecting from 15% of the market by selecting from this pool. Today, recruiters tend to believe that the best candidates are passive.

Passive candidates are people who are not searching for a new role. They make up 75% of the market and the goal of a CRM is to help manage and activate these candidates.  This is the best source to find talent. Lou Adler has many sections about this written in his book, The Essential Guide to Hiring and Getting Hired.  If you’ve ever worked at a Staffing firm, you know that the software agencies all have an ATS and CRM. It’s important to focus on compliance as well as relationships with candidates. This is why corporations are now focusing on ATS systems that have a CRM or can easily integrate with a CRM.

Again, top candidates are often passive and the active ones are becoming harder and harder to find. Thus, it’s important to learn to activate candidates to join your team and to store candidate history for future hires. With the market being for the candidate, it’s critical that companies are proactive in building relationships before the new job opening. With the job market the way it is, it’s critical that recruiters build relationships.


 Why do you need a Talent CRM? 


A talent CRM is the best way to keep track of relationships of top passive candidates and convert them to top employee of the month. Thousands of companies have been trying to better understand where do all the candidates that walk through their application and interview process go?  To help you better understand what that means, ask yourself the question, “Can I reuse applicants once they’ve went through the interview process?” or “Why is it so hard to applicants that applied to this position last year that have been screened?” The issue here is that people can’t reuse, recycle and find older candidates that are a great fit that could be hired when more openings present themselves. It’s critical that recruiters keep an eye out on all their top prospects over a long period of time to build great teams.

Of course this comes with reduced recruitment fees, faster hiring times and increase in quality of hire.


Do I have an ATS, HCM or CRM? 


Here are a few statements to help you figure out if you have a CRM or need a CRM.

Current System focuses only on the candidates that Apply

If your current system makes it difficult to organize and keep track of top candidates that have not yet applied to your company, you’re using an ATS. If you attempt to use it as a CRM, chance are you’re going to have a really difficult time managing and organizing all the data.

Start From Scratch Every Time

How often do you go back and start a job search from ground 0 when a new req opens up? Having only an ATS is similar to having memory loss. You invest time into new experiences and relationships, but you slowly forget them all.  Your ATS does not allow you to mine the gold mine thriving with hundreds of thousands of resumes and relationships you could leverage. CRM functionalities make it easy to recycle and use previously screened top candidates to fill new roles. With an ATS, each and every time you have to start from day 1.

Wasting lots of time inputting information

Are you manually tracking emails and previous conversations from your outlook, gmail or apple mail? Many recruiters and talent specialists are currently doing their best to keep track of relationships but rely on tech built for other purposes and invest a lot hours into organizing such information. A great example is folders within their gmail account.

Not able to see engagement

If you’re still using outlook merges and tracking receipts to find out if a person opened an e-mail you’re wasting valuable time that could be used on building stronger relationships. A lot of teams are trying to figure out the best email templates to use to gauge passive candidates, but you’re not able to figure this out because there’s no way to see the aggregate data for each email template being used.

Here’s a quote from a global director of talent acquisition, “It’s like Ground hogs day. When a new position opens up, I have to start from ground 0 every single time.”


How do I know if a Talent CRM fits my company’s needs? 


If you answer yes to any of the 5 questions below, there’s a high chance a CRM for your organization would be valuable for your team.

  • Do you use spreadsheets or folders to manage candidate information?

  • Do you waste a lot of time on process, workflow and information input?

  • Do you source candidates?

  • Do you manage a team of recruiters?

  • Do you have a large number of candidates stored in your ATS?

  • One more – Do you wish you had better analytics?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, it’s smart for you to chat with us to better understand the value a CRM can bring to your team.


Closing Remarks..


Yes, a Talent CRM is growing. To provide unbiased truthful answers.

Here’s a few more sources to better understand the CRM.

Applicant Tracking Systems are Dead  – Matt Charney

Talent Acquisition Trends – Will Stanley