HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRMs are only for managing the customer lifecycle, right? Then why are talent teams using CRMs to manage the employment candidate relationship? Read on to learn how CRM software can benefit your organization as a whole and your hiring efforts in particular.

What Is Customer Relationship Management?

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is used by companies to track and manage their relationships with customers, prospects, potential customers, and even potential and current job candidates. A CRM connects sales and customer data and stores it in one place so the organization can perform meaningful analysis. The goal of CRM software is to improve business through improving customer relationships and analyzing data.

Customer Relationship Management vs Candidate Relationship Management

CRM software is primarily used in business customer sales cycles, but the same type of software is also now used in the employment candidate journey. Due to an evolving and dynamic job market where potential applicants require multiple communication touch points before becoming active applicants, the value CRMs add to strengthening and managing the customer lifecycle rolls over seamlessly to candidate lifecycles.

Why Is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Important?

CRMs bridge gaps that other software tools leave in customer engagement and introduce unique features that make them indispensable to many teams. Here are a few of the reasons why CRMS are important.
  • With a CRM, you can streamline, automate, and personalize the communication process, which can save time and increase your reach. In recruiting, this means you can send prospecting messages, follow-up emails to people in your interview process, and send onboarding emails to new hires all from one place.
  • Many communication components can be automated through a CRM. Instead of typing individual prospecting messages, with a CRM you can build a strong talent pool and then email all of them at once. In talent acquisition, this can save hours every single day.
  • Since a CRM creates a single source of truth for sales, marketing and hiring teams, it becomes possible to aggregate data in a way that allows insightful analysis. In a recruiting environment, this data analysis can help you understand the health of your hiring pipelines and turn you into a true business partner that provides valuable data insight to leadership.
  • CRMs bring many components of hiring together that used to remain separate. This centralized approach creates an ease of use that makes CRMs an indispensable tool for organizations that want to hire top talent, decrease their average time to hire, and better retain their people.

Components of Customer and Candidate Relationship Management

There are many CRMs out there, and all of them claim to do similar things. Let's examine a few core components that all CRMS should have.

Contact Management

One of the major downfalls of a traditional Applicant Tracking System, or ATS, is the static information stored on a candidate. Candidates don’t have options for updating their contact information, which can make it more difficult for an organization to reach out in the future. CRMs offer automated communication tools that encourage potential candidates to keep their contact information up to date.

Talent Community

CRMs help talent and people teams transform their hiring processes from archaic reactive methods that rely solely on posting job openings and reviewing incoming applications to something much more modern. Top organizations today understand that the perfect fit for a role may not be currently available. Before CRMs, organizations relied on tedious spreadsheets to manage relationships with top talent who were not actively applying for roles. CRMs enable an organization to build a talent pipeline of people who are interested in your organization but may not be looking for a role right now.


A primary feature of most or all CRMs is the ability to automate and personalize messaging. Not everyone responds to the first email, text, or phone call, and businesses are aware of that. Automating decreases manual time in dialing phone numbers or typing emails, which means you can contact an exponentially higher number of people in the same amount of time. Automation has its drawbacks, though. When people know that a communication has been automated, they are less likely to read or respond to it. When designing the messaging that will be used in automated messaging cadences, take some extra time to make it personalized so it still has a human touch.

Data Collection

There are so many teams and processes involved in the customer lifecycle that it can be difficult to gather holistic customer data without a centralized CRM platform. When marketing, customer service, and sales teams work in silos, they each have only a small slice of data, meaning they are not able to make informed decisions. CRMs create a centralized platform where data from the entire customer lifecycle can be stored and updated.


A powerful CRM tool has the ability to easily update and inform current, previous, and prospective customers. CRMs make it easy to reach out to all the people who are interacting with your brand with timely and relevant information that they will find useful and can convert into sales. When it comes to candidates and hiring, the same principle can be applied to new job openings, and recruiting teams can easily build pipelines of talented individuals.

Specific Solutions

Let's look at some of the CRMs available. First, we'll explore customer management tools and then look at candidate management tools.

Customer Relationship Management Tools


Salesforce is probably the most well-known CRM. It manages the customer relationship across the entire customer lifecycle, including marketing, sales, digital commerce, and customer service. Salesforce helps organizations focus their communication and includes tools for finding new customers. Sales, customer service, business development, recruiting, marketing, and other teams all benefit from using Salesforce CRM.


Keap is a CRM tool that allows you to keep all of your customer information in one place where it can be easily accessed and maintained. Keap offers easy solutions for automating additional customer follow-up and to personalize your follow-up cadences as well.


Zoho combines CRM with sales, marketing, and customer service for a truly all-in-one solution. This CRM is designed to keep and retain customers and foster long-lasting customer relationships. Zoho also offers omnichannel capabilities for tracking customer behaviors across multiple channels. Since Zoho combines so many features into one platform, it offers forecasting metrics to help your team decide the right next move to make.


Pipedrive has over 100,000 customers. It has advanced contact-tracking features that track all communication across phone and email. Pipedrive has customizable metric reports to aid in decision-making processes. Beyond customer retention, Pipedrive has marketing capabilities to drive new pipelines.


Zendesk provides full insight on all customer interactions, decreasing the time to sell. Automation processes eliminate much of the tedious administrative work that sales reps typically spend a lot of manualized time on. Zendesk has customizable reports that help sales teams make better informed decisions and increase their conversions.


Hubspot is rich in automation tools that save sales teams time. Hubspot automatically logs and stores all sales interactions, which help sales teams prolong the customer life cycle and win loyalty. This CRM combines contact information with customer interactions in one user interface so you can easily understand at what stage the relationship is or where it left off. Pipeline management in Hubspot mirrors the actual buying cycle, making it intuitive to use.

Candidate Relationship Management Tools


This CRM software focuses on building connections with candidates through your internal career site. iCIMS offers ease of communication with both email and text integrations that make it easier to stay in contact with candidates. iCIMS also offers rich mobile compatibility for staying in contact with those using mobile devices.


Greenhouse CRM makes it easy to source, hire, and onboard talent all from one place. Greenhouse’s automation tools allow you to keep connecting with the people you've worked hard to contact: future grads, event attendees, runner-up candidates, and so much more.


Bullhorn is a modern ATS and CRM tool that helps recruiters increase their conversion rate by centralizing the contact process. You are easily able to customize how and when you stay in contact with applicants and prospects to ensure that you don’t lose anyone due to missed communication.


BambooHR offers all-in-one HR software. Their software tracks and aggregates data all the way across the employee lifecycle, from recruiter prospecting, hiring, employment, and offboarding.
Tyler Fisher, PHR

Tyler Fisher, PHR

Tyler empowers Talent Acquisition professionals, HR business leaders, and key stake holders to develop and execute talent management strategies. He is igniting the talent acquisition process through: team building, accurate time to fill forecasting, driving creative talent sourcing, and fine-tuning recruiting team effectiveness.
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Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Boolean Search
Candidate Experience
Candidate Persona
Company Goals
Company Reputation
Elevator Pitch
Employee-Generated Content
Employer Brand
Employer Value Proposition
Essential Job Function
Evergreen Requisition
HR Forecasting
Hiring Criteria
Hiring Preparation Process
Hiring Process
Intake Meeting
Job Analysis
Job Boards
Job Description
Job Design
Job Evaluation
Job Post
Job Requisition (Req)
KSAs (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities)
Minimum Qualifications
Mock Interview
Non-Essential Job Functions
Physical Job Requirements
Salary Budget
Succession Planning
Workforce Planning
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