Choosing the right Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) is key for any recruitment agency. Getting a well-aligned, efficient system can give a competitive advantage in a market where speed to candidates is key and relationship management is more important than ever.

From time to time it is worth reviewing your current CRM to see if it is supporting business objectives or if it is simply a barrier consultants must overcome in order to do deals.

With hundreds, maybe thousands of programs available, so it is worth considering the following when evaluating your options:

#1 Hosting

There are two main options here, firstly you can host it locally in your offices, or you can choose a cloud-based system.

Locally hosted systems can require a lot of investment as they need servers to run on, hard drives for storage, backup and recovery plans and resource to support all of this. Add the cost of licenses and your monthly CRM cost is suddenly one of your biggest outgoings.

Cloud-based systems remove the need for all of the above infrastructure. In most cases all consultants need is access to a web browser and an internet connection meaning they can potentially less powerful computers, reducing costs but still achieving the same results. Furthermore hosting, security and backups are all taken care of.

#2 Licensing

Licensing is an area you should take some time to understand and consider the impact on your business. While you might be able to purchase the software for a reasonable fee or even be given it, licensing is where the software companies look to make their money.

Some systems only allow batches of licenses to be purchased, so where you might only need one you’ve got to purchase 10. Others might give you an initial license but charge more for future additions.

Find out early the cost of adding users to avoid any shocks in the future.

#3 Integration

We live in a world more connected than ever before and no two agencies are the same so it’s vital your CRM can connect to all of the tools you need. An essential feature of a good CRM is its API access. For example, does it sync with your advert posting tool and show a live update of the candidates who’ve applied for your jobs? Can you quickly and easily add candidates from a CV database? Does it connect with any accounting or time sheet system your business might be running and can you parse CVs quickly and easily?

Parsing of CVs is a key feature of many recruitment CRMs but it is worth checking out the quality of the data that can be captured before committing to use. For example, extracting a name from a job title is ok but a name, job title, location and career summary are even better. Some third parties offer CV parsing that can be plugged into a CRM and is worth considering if your business is to extract the full value of each CV.

#4 Specialist

Almost every business uses a CRM regardless of industry. It might be a simple spreadsheet or an even simpler little black book but there will be some sort of system in place.

With this in mind, most CRM systems have to be generic enough to work across a number of industries with the option to customise to fit individual industry needs.

It goes without saying that you recruiters need a recruitment-specific CRM. These offer many features on top of standard CRMs such as CV parsing, website integration and job board management.

#5 Ease of use

Whichever CRM you chose it will become one of the most important tools in your business so make sure everybody is happy with the way it works, especially the key people within your business. Get those who will be using the system to try it out and listen to their feedback.

The best software is pointless if your staff don’t know how to use it, so consider training and offer support. Migrating away from a CRM might change many of your workflows, even the simplest such as adding a new client, so consider the training and rollout support on offer.

With the recruitment software market being competitive, sometimes a simple Google can help make your decision. If not, here are a few websites to help you with your search.

This article was originally published on June 17, 2014 and updated Apr 15, 2019