Diving into the mind of an expert: Candidate Relationship Management
I have the opportunity to talk with a lot of customers and I look forward to those meetings and conversations because they are so helpful to understand what customers are going through, issues they face, and how they think about and tackle problems. When I first spoke Tory, I was taken aback on her approach and thought process that goes into sourcing and candidate relationship management. Tory Fedel is a senior talent sourcer at Boston Scientific and has more than 10 years of experience across recruiting and sourcing for Agency, RPO and corporate teams with a passion for recruiting and sourcing technology (ATS and CRM alike) as well as research methods and tools applied within the sourcing space.On an interesting side note, Tory trained as a field archaeologist with expertise in scientific methods applied for artifact research and biomarker detection. She is a world traveler, Spartan racer and former 3 event and show waterskier.
As a disclaimer, the interview below includes the opinions and comments of Tory, herself, and not those of Boston Scientific.
Jeff: For a company that is starting on the candidate relationship management (CRM) journey, what is critical to consider before implementing a solution?
Tory: There are a lot of things to consider, but one of the biggest is understanding how technology is going to enable where you want your Talent Acquisition team to go. You need to ask,
- “Who do we want to be?” as well as
- “What do we want to be able to do better?” and
- “What is not going well?”
This will help you start to formulate how you want to work with talent proactively for pipelining, for active requisitions needing niche talent, and managing things like referral and diversity channels is a good start. From there, you need to understand your users, and what activities are going to be natural for them to perform within the technology. Beyond that, the integration points and requirements with your ATS and other technology. That will be a make it or break it for many of the solutions you evaluate.
Jeff: What is the biggest misstep that people can make that prevents them from operating a world class candidate relationship management program?
Tory: The most common areas where the technology fails are user adoption, and not evolving the technology with changing client needs. When it comes to user adoption, it starts with understanding your users. Recruiters have a lot on their plate and a lot of demand from managers to keep the process moving toward the hire. If something cannot be executed quickly with several clicks, or with stellar integration, they tend not to perform the desired actions you want them to perform. For me, historically, I expected recruiters to feed leads into the CRM and understand how to populate fields, and tag appropriately so that they could be filtered/identified and re-engaged in process when the demand for the skill set is there. The leads would be coming from unsolicited resumes, referrals, or silver medalists out of the ATS typically. Sourcers live in the CRM environment and would be more of a super user. Activity levels would be higher in terms of actions performed, data added, and to some extent system and record maintenance.
Second, to the point around evolving and further enablement of the technology. This typically comes maybe one to two years post-implementation, when you understand how the technology works better, and look to refine your process and add more of the advanced features to workflows, for example. This could be more automation around drip campaigns, or portal/landing page management. It is okay to retire workflows for something more elegant, or create something with more “if this, then that” actions based on field selections when registering on a portal page.
Jeff: What is the biggest distraction when it comes to CRM?
Tory: Many people will be distracted by all of the “bells and whistles” of a new technology. It comes down to using the features that benefit your process in the best way possible. You can overcomplicate your process so much, that it is no longer intuitive. For example, you go to the technology conferences and see what the industry best practice companies are doing and their solution is quite advanced. It looks AMAZING. What you do not see, is the army of technology folks helping them get to that state. They also rely on their vendor partnerships to guide them through how to accomplish what their vision is for candidate/lead engagement and experience. The nice thing about the conferences is you can see what is possible, then go back to the vendor and say, “I want that, how can we get there?” Use your sandbox environment and go through user acceptance testing under a couple of different scenarios to make sure the process did not go too far with automation, tasks, email campaigns. You want to be authentic and customized in a world where differentiating yourself will lead to a higher engagement level.
What you cannot lose sight of is keeping active in the forums of users who share different ways of delivering value and creating efficiency. There are a lot of enhancements that enable new activities, take advantage of those and learn how to apply them to your sourcing model.
Jeff: What is the foundation to a cohesive relationship between sourcer, recruiter, and the business?
Tory: Equality. You must value each other as partners and be service oriented. The goal is the same, we all want to hire the best candidate at the end of the day. Additionally, we all have pressures from our teams and the external market standing in our way. It is inherently hard for people to give up a little control and trust someone, but it is necessary to get it right. What I love about CRM is that it gives some transparency to lead behaviors and market availability. You can easily tell a story about why the role is not filling in a normal cycle time. You can see your lead funnel and capture why people are opting out of process. Moreover, you can see how your communication, or campaign, is resonating with your desired audience. That gives you a baseline to improve and creates best practices for your ideal outcome. I am a huge fan of data, and have always been self-critical.
Jeff: How do you create a culture of measurement and what does review of those metrics look like?
Tory: I see companies sitting on a spectrum – those that run recruiting and sourcing with tight SLA’s and those that are driven more by the value, relationships, and partnering. There are positives to both, but in my opinion, it is probably best to blend the two. I have worked for an RPO and we had requirements around volume of screens/day, number of hiring manager contacts/week – everything was measured and reported. We got the job done, but it burnt out recruiters and coordinators alike. While we were service oriented, we were not able to spend as much time on the proactive pipeline building. On the other hand, I have experienced a lack of metrics and measures that led down a path or lengthy cycle times, and lack of hiring manager accountability to review resumes and provide feedback to redirect search if needed.
You need to educate talent acquisition professionals around what metrics mean and what influences them. In other words, if you want to impact time to fill for requisitions, you probably need to look at time to submit qualified candidates for review, time for hiring managers to provide feedback, time to schedule interviews, and time to debrief and extend offers post interview. Find out where your process is slowing down and look across the board at client groups, functions, etc. With all of this information, you can build projects around improving team performance through new solutions or better relationship management with your client.
On the performance side for sourcers, for example, I am more concerned with quality over quantity. High response rate to messages, high conversion rates between things like:
- leads => applicants
- applicants => prescreen
- prescreen => interview
- interview => offer
These are important to understand a sourcer’s ability to calibrate the right fit. I also look at number of sources of leads they are putting into the CRM environment and where they are coming from. The quality of leads can be measured by number of data points associated with that person to demonstrate how well developed the lead is. When I look at developing sourcers, I can use these data points to train and identify skills gaps.
There is a lot of solid insight here about how you can start shaping your CRM programs, and things to consider. At the same time, this is a great place to start a dialog around what you have found, where you may disagree, or how you have found success. So, now the questions are posed to you: how do you define your CRM success, how do you avoid pitfalls, and do you ensure a solid partnership between recruiters, sourcers, and the business?