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CRM for Recruitment: Do You Need One?

When you adopt the inbound marketing methodology, you need a tool to manage the rich data you collect in your marketing campaigns.

Note: an ATS isn't a marketing tool!

A CRM system is the smartest way to manage any information you collect. Here, we take a look at what a CRM is and why you might need one.


Customer relationship management is a method used to maintain relations between a company and their existing and potential customers. It usually comes in the form of a custom built on-site system or cloud-based software package.

What Does a CRM for Recruitment Do?

A CRM system records every customer interaction, providing you use it correctly, and your recruiters are inputting relevant information.

Those interactions could be telephone calls, emails or anything you usually scribble on a post-it note and forget!

If your recruiters have access to resources in a central hub, wouldn’t that make life so much easier?


By having every single detail of the customer experience available, it makes it easier to cross-sell and upsell. Does your client rarely respond to emails? Make a note of it in your CRM, so every staff member knows phone calls are the best contact point.

Why Do I need A CRM for Recruitment?

While you’ll have workflows to manage the application process, do you market to passive prospects or maintain client relations once the recruitment process is over?

A CRM system covers both bases. Maintain healthy relationships with customers and prospects to get the best customer lifetime value. Surely, you want to be involved in a client's staff forecasting plans?

If you’re looking at recruitment as a linear process, you’re doing it wrong. You need to delight your customers after you’ve closed a deal, it keeps them coming back for more. Keep them in workflows and don’t toss them onto the done-deals pile.

Here are some other signs you need a CRM;

  • You attend recruitment events - Events are hectic, and it can be a challenge to keep track of all the details you collect. Then there’s the task of inputting them into your database. Create forms with your CRM and get prospects to fill them out at the event.
  • Do you have a team of recruiters? - If you’re a lone recruiter, you’re probably able to store all the information you need in your head or diary. If you’ve got a team of recruiters, you’ll need to make information accessible to everyone. It also prevents any misleading information being shared among staff as everyone has the same reference.
  • Filling those impossible roles - If you don’t have anywhere to keep details on passive candidates, you’re going to miss the opportunity to offer positions to people you’ve engaged with in the past. Keep your options open.

top tip

Consider what your goals are for your recruitment firm. Do you want to market the business? Do you need more clients or better quality candidates? Whatever that goal is, a CRM can help you achieve it.

What Types of CRM Are Available?

There are three types of CRM. Most companies will advertise as all three, but they’re usually stronger in one or two areas.

Operational CRM

Operational CRM systems focus on improving the customer experience, providing various sales and marketing automation tools to help you improve your delivery. They’re useful if you’re looking to improve customer acquisition and are known for generating high-quality leads.

Operational CRM systems have more than one dimension and usually operate in a cycle.

Collaborative CRM

The collaborative CRM system has a different approach. It facilitates the integration of various departments, which input vital information into the CRM with the idea that it will improve business-customer relations.

The main benefit of collaborative CRM is its ability to create sound internal processes, picking up key information about customers keeps everyone educated. This multi-channel experience creates seamless interactions across your organisation.

Analytical CRM

Analytical CRM systems make customer acquisition and retention easier with the function of data management.

The data the system collects give you an insight into what parts of your sales funnel need optimising, social media success and other various factors that improve customer acquisition and retention.

The main benefit of an analytical CRM system is that you’re making decisions based on data.

What Questions Should I Ask A Provider?

  1. Does it automate my marketing and sales services?
  2. Can I use it with my mobile?
  3. Is your software cloud-based?
  4. Does it sync with job boards?
  5. Can I check reports to see how my business is progressing?

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What Are The Key Features?

CRM companies will have different benefits they’ll offer in various packages. If you want the best features, you’ll pay the premium price.

It’s worth it though. You can expect most companies to start on the small package, then upgrade as the business grows or move to a better provider. Here are some key features:

Email marketing

Your CRM is your email hub. There are a ton of features available, from targeting specific buyer personas in automated workflows to tracking your most popular emails.

Not surprisingly, we found that 48% of the Fortune 500 never send an email to their lead database after a confirmation of signup! - Smashfly

If you aren’t communicating with your leads, you’re missing out on customers!

Contact management

Every person or business that you come into contact with will live in your CRM. It’s up to you what type of information you store. Are they a client? Are they a candidate? What’s their industry? What’s their job title?

Content Hub

Your CRM provider may provide a platform for your recruitment blogs. It may offer some advice on how to optimise your content for SEO purposes or offer analysis which tells you what blogs are most popular.

Analysis tools

Your CRM shouldn’t just collect data; it should be able to analyse it as well. For example, if one of your buyer personas is a candidate and one is a client, it should be able to attribute which buyer type develops into a customer most often.


Is your business growing? Are your clients more demanding? Expand or scale down your services to what you need.


It’s a common misconception that a CRM system can do everything. That’s not true. So you’ll probably need to integrate existing software or find alternative solutions. For example, Pandadocs is a platform that allows you to build beautiful sales pitches and proposals and send them off to clients with a swift click!

Easy to use

If a CRM is easy to use you’re are more likely to use it. If it's overcomplicated you won’t sign up. Be prepared for it to look daunting at first, but if the company offer training sessions you’ll pick it up straight away. The software comes with ease of use in mind, but it’s always worth searching.


What Are The Benefits?

High-calibre candidates

A CRM for recruitment determines which candidates are good enough to be in your database. If they don’t fit your profile, you can remove them. You could have various qualifiers/disqualifiers, such as location or experience.

Faster placements

If you have information like experience or location, you can find candidates quickly. Adapt your search and find the key details. Any candidates or clients that submit information on your website will be stored in your CRM, and any that aren’t you can import.

Target passive prospects

Some candidates aren’t looking for a role. Some clients may submit information on your website and fall into a workflow. They’re in your database, so you need to market to them. It’s the best way to pick up dormant leads.

Focus on important matters

What do recruitment companies want to do? Find great talent and attract more clients! Admin can take away valuable time, CRM saves it (you might even save some cash on paper!).

Get the details right

We’ve all experienced it, recruiters calling and entering robot pitch mode. Scrap that! Be a human, talk to them about things that matter to them. Do they always mention their kids? Talk to them about their kids, it’s not always about business. Enter it in your CRM system so other staff members can see. It may seem trivial, but it works.

Social media integration

You’d expect most CRM systems to integrate your social profiles. LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, it should host them all. It should provide you with analytics, such as how your social web traffic compares to paid traffic, or how many clicks and engagement your content is getting. If job descriptions by one consultant are getting more engagement, should they write more?

further reading

See what the best CRM systems for recruiters are!

What Problems Could I Encounter?

Information gaps

Getting both demographic data and more incisive information is important. While demographics will include fields like age and location, you have to be smart and consider factors like how clients buy and what type of information they respond to.

Employees don't use it!

People are scared of something new! Unless there’s that much of a demand for it they’re struggling to cope with the old method.

The first hurdle is getting your staff up-to-date with how the system works, and enforcing that they need to work with it or face the consequences. It sounds harsh, and you may encounter a small protest, but it’s worth it.

The system doesn’t deliver

Picking the wrong system is a common error. If the system doesn’t have the functionality your business needs, you may have to switch.

Switching is expensive, so it’s better to get it right the first time! There are a lot of options on the market so do your research and get the right product.


You Don’t Have to Ditch Your Technology

If a CRM replaces some technology, great. But if you need it, don’t replace it. There’s a lot of pressure on recruitment firms ditching their ATS systems. But the reality is, you should use both.

To put it simply, recruitment firms need jobs from clients to attract candidates. To attract candidates you need to market your service, that’s where CRM for recruitment comes in.

top tip

Connect the two and learn how they work together to create the best recruitment business process.

How Do You Know Your ATS Isn’t A CRM?

There are also bold claims from software companies stating their ATS acts as a CRM. If you’re ATS has the following limitations, it isn’t a CRM.

Manual data input is a chore - A CRM is supposed to reduce the amount of admin your recruiters are spending time on. So if they’re wasting time with tedious administration tasks, your system isn’t a CRM.

Relationship tracking - Are your clients submitting their information on your website? If your ATS can’t give you this information, it isn’t a CRM.

You rely on screening software - A CRM can tell you whether a lead is suitable or not based on the information the prospect submits, rather than scanning hundreds of CVs to pick out key information.

Are There Any Alternatives?

We imagine you’re familiar with the excel spreadsheet, huh? While it has been (and still is) a cheaper alternative, it has restrictions. You can get lost in endless files and tabs, and the administrative process wastes time. A CRM for recruitment will take you away from this vintage method and into customer relationship management heaven.

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