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I don’t think it would be much of a competition if you polled recruitment company owners to discover the most under-utilised resource in their company.

I am willing to bet that a large majority would nominate their organisation’s database/CRM system.

What is the most compelling value proposition any recruiter can offer their clients or prospective clients? High quality candidates, delivered quickly (as my old boss, Greg Savage was very fond of saying). Speed of response is our friend.

In the days before the internet, the database of candidates that any recruiter built up and could access quickly, made the alternative (organising a print ad and waiting for the response via post) seem like a time-consuming, slow hassle for almost all clients. The value of an external recruiter was, mostly, obvious and compelling.

Now that clients can quickly and easily construct and publish their own online job advertisement, and maintain their own candidate database, the advantage that a well-populated and up-to-date database/CRM system provides a recruitment consultant, would seem to be even more critical. Yet, this is typically not what I witness in most recruitment companies.

The rush to construct and publish an online job ad seems to be the first thing recruiters do once they have secured a new assignment.

Surely your database/CRM system is the first place you look?

Well, only if you can answer ‘yes’ to the following questions;

Can I find valuable information quickly?‘ (Contingent upon everybody in the company using the system in the agreed way, all the time.)

Is the information complete?‘ (Contingent upon everybody in the company entering more than a few words in the relevant fields.)

Does the information have integrity?‘ (Contingent upon everybody in the company entering accurate and relevant information.)

Of course there are many excuses bursting from the lips of non-compliant recruiters. Here’s a few of the old chestnuts;

Not my job‘ (Really? Whose job is it then to have valuable, complete, relevant and accurate information about candidates and clients available?)

Not my strength‘ (The classic excuse of the lazy, irresponsible recruiter.)

Too complex‘ (Are you seriously telling me that you aren’t smart enough to follow instructions?)

Too slow‘ (Close a few browser windows and programs or get a new computer.)

It’s admin‘ (I’m sure your competitors would be very happy to hear you take this attitude.)

Don’t have time‘ (So you would rather look through manual files and spend your time writing rushed job ads or scanning irrelevant ad response?)

Of course all those recruiters who have a rigourous system of CRM training and compliance auditing know how much of a HUGE competitive advantage it provides to them. These recruiters love the fact that that many of their competitors are still relying on last century’s techniques of sifting through manual files and posting job ads to find the best candidates, quickly.

How many jobs have you NOT filled because you are still stuck in the mindset of a 20th century recruitment consultant?

Further reading:

Lead article, InSight #54 Recruitment Database Crimes – Chapters 1 to 14


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Hi Ross,

Great article. I do have one point to raise though in response to: "The rush to construct and publish an online job ad seems to be the first thing recruiters do once they have secured a new assignment.

Surely your database/CRM system is the first place you look?"

I think that we should always be using every channel available to us to source candidates (which includes job ads, CRM, LinkedIn, Referrals, google document searching etc…).

Based on this, my view is that if you construct and publish a job ad as the first thing you do, then that job ad gets out there and starts working for you as soon as possible. You then start using the other channels. Why not have an ad out there trying to attract some talent for you while you hit your database and other means?

Obviously one of the biggest failures is that people stop at posting the job ad and rely solely on it to source candidates.

A point about clients posting directly is that not every candidate they want to see wants to work for them. At least we'll have an opportunity to engage with that candidate and change their perception of our client. A client would never get that opportunity themselves.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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