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    CRM IV: Issues

    (April 29, 2002) - Applying the principles of CRM to your Recruiting Strategy is a good idea. As the competition for labor heats up, the availability of a pool of workers who are really excited about working for your company will become a significant competitive advantage. Learn all you can about CRM as it is practiced in successful sales installations and then demand that level of expertise from your ATS provider. (the CRMCommunity offers hundreds of white papers on the subject and is a good place to start; CRMGuru offers a great primer. Both sites require registration.)

    This is another way of saying that you will not get much intelligent help from the existing vendors and, as become the case, customers will have to lead the way.

    CRM is a business strategy first and foremost; its benefits are realized through the application of leading edge data warehousing technology, data mining analysis processes and tasks, close attention to the personalization of products and services, and sophisticated revenue pricing, profitability, and lifetime value applications. Thus, CRM requires leaders who can build a vision of the customer-centric firm, in terms of the strategy, process, and technology that drive business results.

    Applied to Recruiting and the management of human capital, CRM is also best seen as a strategy first and a tactic second. The implications of deciding to pursue a CRM strategy within the labor force (current and potential employees) are striking. CRM is all about engendering feelings in people: excitement, passion, delight, anticipation, desire, ambition. Recruiting, as a profession has often been about the exact opposite of this.

    The goal of a Recruitment based CRM strategy is to build a ready supply of potential employees who are excited about the prospect of coming to work for your company. Through pre-screening and other staging disciplines, this supply of candidates may be converted into a "surge capacity" that allows you to meet growth and attrition requirements as they occur rather than the normal process which is demand driven and reactive. Be advised, however, that most ATS services come with an embedded bias against pro-active recruiting. You will have to use other tools (Outlook will be handy) to accomplish the workflow.

    Imagine, for example, that you have taken the bull by the horns and queued 100 engineers so that they are screened and ready for interviews. While you wait for the requirements to emerge, it is natural to expect that there will be some attrition from the pool. In order to manage this problem (it is called customer defection in the traditional CRM approach), you'll need to be reminded to interact with each member of the pool to maintain their levels of enthusiasm and attention. Once you've been reminded (and, again, ATS systems are not set up to do this yet), you'll have to give the candidates some tangible reason (or value) for staying in the queue.

    A "goodie bag" and your common sense about what motivates each individual is where you'll probably start. Dinner coupons, tickets, t-shirts, books, introductions, connections, golf goodies and so on are the general tools for this sort of loyalty maintenance. Ultimately, CRM systems will be available to help you figure out exactly what it takes to keep a person in the pool. Online communities, organized around the interests of the candidates will be a useful tool.

    The whole process begins with a commitment to a strategy for managing labor supply by building pools of human beings in advance of the requirement to hire them. Understanding it as a quantifiable investment and managing it as such is the key to success.

    Let the other players continue to believe that CRM is a method for building direct-marketing mailing lists. The real task involves winning the hearts and minds of people who don't work for you just yet.

     -John Sumser

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    Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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