This is the first part of a two part blog series on Customer Relationship Management, applicant tracking systems and recruitmenmt CRMs.

This blog aims to break down the fundamental elements of a recruitment CRM: what we mean when we talk about CRM, why the software is necessary, how recruitment CRM can help companies hire the right staff, and how a recruitemnt CRM fits into the day-to-day WorkTech “stack” that consultants and recruitment marketers use. 

What is CRM?

As Salesforce, one of the global behemoths of sales practice put it, “CRM enables a business to deepen its relationships with customers, service users, colleagues, partners and suppliers”.

Customer Relationship Management is the foundation of any successful customer-facing business, and is a term that is flexibly used to describe two things:

  • The strategic-level, conceptual idea of how a company manages the relationship between their brand and customer – CRM in this regard is a top line, cross-departmental phrase that incorporates an entire enterprise’s approach to the consumer, from marketing to product development to customer service and beyond.

  • CRM also refers to the unique and specific software platforms that people (traditionally sales people and marketers) use to build and maintain those relationships – these digital platforms are typically SaaS software services with ubiquitous tools to better manage interactions with your chosen audience, with most providers also offering unique, customisable or specific functionality for your industry, customer base, sales team or demographic.

CRM is a rapidly changing and constantly innovating “industry”. For recruiters, it parallels that of the rise of cloud-based ATS software, and most ATS providers factor in the requirement and necessity of recruitment CRM functionality on their platforms to provide a complete lifecycle system of talent and client communications, recruitment funnel management and data capture.

The market for niche, customisable, scalable recruitment CRM is also expanding as companies digitally transform – more and more functionality is being requested of software providers to meet the demand.

It is absolutely business critical for anyone who deals with people to know why they need to curate their recruitment CRM strategy, how their chosen CRM software benefits their service, and whether the recent changes to life, work and brand connections ushered in by COVID-19 have created gaps in their CRM function. 

CRM – then and now

CRM as a concept and business strategy has been around for generations, it’s only the delivery and aspect that has changed.

Previous iterations – the ledger, the rolodex, the excel spreadsheet – were the forerunners of what is now primarily a cloud-based software system of centralised information on your customer, their connections to your company, their relationship to your company, their touch points, their purchasing history and their position in the funnel (be that sales, recruitment, marketing etc).

CRM as a technical service/software was invented in 1987, by Pat Sullivan and Mike Muhney, the founders of Conductor Software, in Dallas. There, they developed and released ACT! – Activity Control Technology (later called Automated Contact Tracking) that, as per Finance Magnates, “(was) the first piece of software designed to manage sales processes and customer engagements from a computer”.

Why is CRM so important?

CRM does two things – it platforms the customer as central to your business success and future; and it centralises all the critical information you need to know about your customer and their relationship to your company.

For recruiters, consider recruitment CRM as your sole candidate and client information base – a seamless, connected, centralised point of contact, information, notes, funnel management and lead nurturing where the entire process of recruitment and the data generated from those sources are consolidated in one place.

Although the ostensible founding of CRM was to make the process of sales and marketing to clients more efficient, recruitment CRM is now central to building an effective employer proposition – fast, effective, relevant and targeted communications between employer and employee that creates better cultures of recruitment.

Are there any limits to recruitment CRM?

Each CRM system will have parallel features with significant design and UX differences. However your understanding of “value” will come from how each service provider focuses on their USP to further differentiate their platform.

  • Tracker for example combines applicant tracking system and recruitment CRM functionality to bring Recruitment Automation for all types of Recruitment and Staffing agencies,
  • JobAdder focuses on delivering a recruitment CRM which is designed to be training-free, whilst also having a native integration with LinkedIn.

Further limits in essence come down to that of the user – recruitment CRM requires diligent data input, savvy integration into the stack, and consistent application of training, learning and development around software updates to be fully effective.

Our pledge to hiring managers is this: you will have a more agile, more effective and more efficient recruitment service if you give your teams the foundation, training and tools to fully integrate with a CRM.

Another noteworthy consideration is that CRM, and cloud-based infrastructure in general, can be prone to data hacks or malware intrusion. This is especially important for recruiters in regards to data protection.

Cloud based companies will always endeavour to protect collated data, but user error is mostly to blame for breaks in your system, hacks or malware attacks. So training is central to good online data security, and CRM use.

Having such a vital, central point of data collection can create vulnerabilities. However, like anything digital, an effective IT team, a well supported CRM system and a diligent consultant are all you need to minimise risk.


Rectec Compare’s core premise – a simple yet highly detailed free tool for hiring managers and HR teams to assess which applicant tracking system or recruitemnt CRM is right for their recruitment enterprise – was founded to give professional recruiters peace of mind that, amid the multitude of SaaS platforms available, there are a handful that will be the perfect fit for your company.

CRM is now ubiquitous with good customer management. But in recruitment, when the two most important factors in our industry – trust and communication – are hard earned and easy to lose, an effective recruitment CRM could be the difference between success and failure.

A quick, responsive process is what you need to attract and engage the best talent.

At Rectec we help organisations to find the best Applicant Tracking System or best Recruitment CRM to suit your needs, accompanied by our unique complimentary tech marketplace, to help you build the perfect recruitment tech stack for your business.

You can click here to register for Rectec Compare – and best of all, it’s completely free of charge.