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Customer relationship management for recruiting professionals

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Customer-Relationship-ManagementCustomer Relationship Management (CRM) has long been a key means of helping companies identify and approach new customers, keep existing customers, and create additional customer value. Typically, this has been achieved through self support or assisted services, frequent customer contact and ongoing communication methods.

The same strategy holds true for executive search professionals who focus on the recruitment of management and executive level candidates. Successful executive search professionals focus on developing strong client relationships, building and nurturing expansive networks of prospective candidates. Effective search professionals’ focus on more than just the current recruitment assignment at hand, they focus on ensuring clients take a comprehensive talent management approach to building a strong executive team.

Here are six ways to establish a CRM approach in the executive search business:
1. Understand client needs, culture and unique benefits
The purpose is to develop an in-depth understanding of the organizational culture and to learn more about the critical skill-related issues related to the current role being filled. These informational meetings also assist the search professional to understand the future needs of the corporation, its portfolio companies or the organization if it is a not for profit entity or public institution.

 
2. Develop a strong network of contacts
Once the candidate selection criteria are confirmed, the executive search professional next taps into their talent network, contacting people with whom they have been in contact and have developed a relationship.Communication with these individuals has been ongoing, so it is easy to touch base and inform them of opportunities. Advertisements in appropriate venues accompany these strategies. Effective executive search professionals not only stay in touch with people who are seeking opportunities, but develop a strong network of contacts who provide screened referrals.

3. Respect client recruiting budgets
In addition, a search professional with a customer relationship mindset always pays attention to client recruitment expenses. For instance, video conferencing and computer-to-computer conferencing has replaced the need to travel to various locations to meet candidates and has become a much appreciated strategy.

4. Strive for a strong element of customer interaction
This means that both clients and candidates are kept involved and informed each step of the way. As well, critical success points are identified and evaluated during the early stages so any corrections required can be accomplished in a timely manner.

5. Ensure processes are consistent and thorough
While some search professionals will review a resume and conduct a single telephone interview, recruitment at the senior C-suite requires significantly more scrutiny including face to face interviews, psychometric assessments, communication style evaluations and comprehensive reference checks.

6. Develop a strong reputation through ethical practices
Effective customer relationship managers in the executive search business are also acutely aware of their need to maintain a strong business reputation. As a result, they are extremely careful to avoid identifying, targeting and poaching a potential candidate from one of their clients. While this situation may create the potential for another executive search assignment, it is considered unprofessional and in most cases, it will also create an unhappy customer resulting in the severance of an important client relationship.

At its core, CRM is taking the time to get to know people. It’s discovering who they are, what motivates them and what drives them, their businesses and their careers. It is this knowledge that will allow the professional to quickly tap into their network and locate the right candidate for their client.


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