SmartRecruiters Blog

Native VS Non-Native: Breaking Down Candidate Relationship Management System Types for Recruiters

The candidate experience is traditionally split into pre and post application, but does that really makes sense for how TA leaders work in the real world?

Today, there are tech solutions to enable every workflow under the sun, and most likely not just one – many! Want to track vacation days, plan work trips, onboard new employees, or even organize a gift exchange? There’s an app for that. In fact, the Human Capital Management market as a whole was valued at 14.50 billion last year, and it’s projected to grow by nearly 30 percent by 2022 to $21.51 billion.

This is great news in terms of innovation, but for talent acquisition leaders already trying to stretch 24 hours into 25, it means a deluge of SaaS decisions. That’s why we are answering one of the most pressing questions – ‘When do I go with a blanket solution and when do I specialize?’ and applying it to candidate relationship management (CRM).

CRM has become an imperative consideration in the current climate of talent scarcity. Unemployment in the US is at a 17-year low of 3.9 percent in May of this year, there is a predicted worker shortage of 8.2 million people from 2017-2027, with an increasing number of employers already reporting a lack of qualified candidates across multiple industries. Organizations with their sights set on growth will need to distinguish themselves as A+ employers at every point of contact.

Think of CRM as “keeping in touch at scale”. One of the top candidate complaints in the hiring process is a lack of communication, which is where CRM solutions step in. Without getting too technical, CRM helps nurture potential candidates, including passive ones, so that an organization has ready access to top-talent ahead of demand. That means resurfacing formerly rejected candidates as well as finding new connections. With the right system in place, recruiters become recruitment marketers thanks to features like branded landing pages, targeted email campaigns, messaging templates, and custom reporting and analytics.

Learn the difference between ATS and CRM here!

Back to our original question: when it comes to CRM, is it better to bundle your CRM with an ATS for an all-in-one solution,  or to specialize with a third-party CRM?

The argument in favor of native CRM solutions is rooted in data quality and ease of use while specialization makes sense if the solution will significantly increase the quality of experience and work produced.

The deciding factor between native and non-native CRM is whether the candidate journey should be split up into pre and post application or not. Which makes for a better experience?

A non-native CRM breaks the candidate flow into two distinct parts— pre-application and post-application while the non-native CRM covers the pre-application phase through a nurturing system. Once the candidate has applied, their data is transferred to the ATS and funneled through the recruiting process.

This workflow would make sense if the candidate journey was linear. Unfortunately, that typically isn’t the case. Let’s say a sourcer nurtures a candidate in the CRM, processes them through the ATS, but doesn’t make the candidate an offer. Does the relationship end there? It shouldn’t. At this point, the candidate’s information must be transferred back to the third-party CRM.

Anytime there is more than one software solution as part of a recruiting workflow there must be an exchange of data, which can lead to data duplication or misplacement. This effort is worthwhile if you are siloing distinct workflows while providing a better candidate experience, but in this case, the cost outweighs the benefits.

In a general context, when and where a company decides to split the systems has to reflect the workflow or the candidate journey. This is where non-native CRM becomes problematic. The reality is that separating the nurturing process from the application process is a huge headache for recruiters and sourcers, not to mention for candidates as well.

Larger companies may have sourcers working with a CRM and recruiters/hiring managers working with an  ATS, which means sourcers may not know what has happened with candidates that pass into the ATS, causing them to neglect rejected applicants when the demand for future hires arises. For smaller companies, sourcers and recruiters are required to constantly toggle between systems,  and be unable to provide a consistent flow for the candidates as they move through the hiring process.

With native CRM is fully integrated with the applicant tracking system so there is one data flow. That means candidates have a universal profile as they move through the candidate lifecycle, which makes for consistent, updated candidate data for all parties. In addition, sourcers and recruiters can use the marketing tools of the CRM like branded landing pages in the latter half of the hiring process, for great brand consistency.

For recruiters, a quality CRM solution balances effective functionality with strong design that delivers impactful communication and consistent employer branding. While there are multiple third-party CRM solutions available on the market, a native CRM offers seamless integration with your existing workflows that doesn’t compromise candidate experience.

Learn more about SmartCRM with our VP of Product, Rebecca Carr.


Kaya Payseno