Candidate Segmentation and the CRM

There are countless reasons to love your CRM as a talent acquisition professional.  There is an obsessive beauty in gathering leads for a specific industry or skill. As with any new toy however, you must use the system correctly to receive optimal results.  For those new to using a CRM, allow me to save you some time by sharing my own post-mortem.


Is it Too Late to Bring Back Manila File Folders?

Visualize a CRM like an old school manila file folder, there is something to be said for doing a task the old-fashioned way.  Prior to an ATS or CRM, a Recruiter would file resumes away by location, job, or skill set – all manually.  Offices housed giant walls of file drawers, each labeled and filed haphazardly. You could spend all day laboriously searching for the right person, usually alphabetically, sorting thru resumes one-by-one.  The benefit was you could leave no stone unturned; the bad news was it literally would take you all day to do it.  Fortunately, the modern CRM of today allows us to create virtual file folders that make finding the right candidate a snap.


What is a Segment?

In order to take advantage of the automation a CRM brings; we must segment our passive candidates.  Segmenting just means “divide”.  Candidates are in inventory that need to be divided into smaller parts to leverage recruitment marketing campaigns and communication. The art of being organized in a CRM starts with these virtual folder divisions.  There are CRM’s that work entirely with talent network pools.  Those pools serve as folders.  But segmenting candidates by talent network pools isn’t enough. Imagine filling 1500 jobs a year and a CRM only offering you eight folders to store them in.  That’s a big fat – no sale.  If your CRM works this way, you will need to push your vendor to provide you sub folders or additional ways to segment your prospects.

Segmenting your candidates by location or license/certification makes sense, you may even be doing that now.  But how else can you divide and store a candidate for quick retrieval later?


Some Segmenting Considerations:

Candidates by Relocation

Create a folder for those who will relocate, and those who won’t. You can further segment candidates out by noting which locations a person would relocate to, but I find that tedious.  Keep good notes and track the where and when of relocation in each candidates file. Relocation is all about timing, being able to communicate with those candidates till the time is right is a competitive advantage.

Candidates by Rejection Reason

I have targeted email campaigns for candidates, by rejection reason.  If a candidate tells me they are on a contract till December, then slamming them with jobs right now will just frustrate them.  I note if the candidate is interested, and I set up a multi-channel cadence to stay in touch till their contract is complete.  You can have separate segments for a myriad of rejection reasons – “just started a new job”, “happy in current role”, “can’t meet salary requirements”, etc.…  Setting up candidates by rejection helps align future recruitment marketing campaign messaging. It is more than just a time saver, it helps create personal conversations with your leads.

Candidates by Event

If you have been Recruiting for a while, you have attended events.  You meet a candidate at a job fair, they pique your interest, but the timing isn’t right.  Three months later an opportunity arises, and you think, “ughhh, what’s the name of that lady I met three months ago? She had red hair, about five feet five inches, had glasses….”  I am sure I’ve had a few missed connections in the past, before the CRM existed.  If you keep a folder for the specific event and date (depending on how you recall events), the candidate will be much easier to find.


Final Thoughts

As Recruiters and Sourcers, we are only as good as our inventory.  And our inventory is only as good as it is organized. How do you think Amazon keeps track of every single item it sells?  They do it with strong inventory software.  The CRM will manage our inventory of candidates by every imaginable differentiator, we just need to know how to set up the organizational system.  Creating segments is personal. However, it works for you, is best, but test yourself.  Have a mini hackathon.  Set out to search for a specific candidate in your CRM.  If it takes you more than five minutes to find the right person, your segmenting process need work.  Best of luck and happy hunting.

Christine Hampton

Christine is a Doctor of Business Administration candidate researching talent sourcing strategies in healthcare. This is Christine's 29th year in Talent Acquisition, with the last 9 years focusing on sourcing and recruitment marketing.