Applicant management vs. talent relationship management – do I need both?

The Talent Pool Checklist: 5 Points, that matter in practice
20. January 2020
ATS vs TRM applicant-management-is-not-enough
Jan Pichler | 19. September 2019
Talent Relations

Applicant management vs. talent relationship management – do I need both?

The increasing lack of skilled staff is making it even harder to find suitable employees. This is why, in the fight to find and retain talent, more and more companies are trying to get in contact with future employees as early on as possible, in order to then be able to actively contact them when suitable positions open up.

In the same way that Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) support companies in the recruiting process, today diverse Talent Relationship Management (TRM) systems also exist to make it easier for companies to stay in contact with potential future employees (“talent”) over the long term, and in doing so build up their own “talent pipeline”.

Yet while Applicant Tracking Systems have long become the standard, Talent Relationship Management systems are still relatively rare. All too often, when the topic of “talent” comes up, reference is made to the “talent pool” that already exists in the company’s “own recruiting system” – although this is usually of little benefit in actual practice.

But why would a company need its own TRM software, when the existing applicant management is already capable of managing applicants and CVs?

What does a Talent Relationship Management (TRM) system do?

It doesn’t matter whether you are dealing with students, apprentices, rejected applicants, alumni or other interested parties whom you are currently not able to offer a position: with the help of a TRM, you can maintain the relationship with potential future employees and develop their long-term loyalty to your company. In this way, you can continuously fill your talent pool with qualified talent that you can come back to when positions need to be filled.

Why is an Applicant Tracking System alone not sufficient?

1. Applicants are only a part of your talent potential

An Applicant Tracking System consists predominantly of former applicants – and therefore represents only a small percentage of the actual talent potential. After all, regardless of whether someone is still in training, is just starting out in – a profession or is in the middle of their career – every single person who is active in your professional environment is a potential future employee.

For people who are not currently on the hunt for a job in particular, registration in a talent pool needs to be extremely easy. This is why contemporary TRM systems make it possible to sign up to a talent pool in a matter of seconds, usually with a curriculum vitae, Xing or LinkedIn profile.

Talent Map

2. Up-to-date data is essential

However, the registration of talent in your talent pool is not the end of the story. After all, a talent pipeline only works if your candidates’ CVs actually remain up to date. Eventually, you will want to know what became of the talented trainee from two years ago.

Even if the company’s own Applicant Tracking System has been made GDPR-compliant and it is permitted to store the applicant data for a longer period of time, only very few candidates actually send in updated CVs. Even if a system has its own applicant portal in which talented candidates are able to update their CVs themselves, the effort of doing so is usually too much for most people.

Contemporary TRM systems, on the other hand, excel with their extremely simple, appealing online interfaces for updating CVs. Thanks to this feature, talented candidates often are able to not only update their CV very easily but also gain added benefits.

Most talented candidates, especially those who are highly sought-after, rarely think of keeping their CV up to date. This is why reminders and individual motivation are needed. In order to “activate” the talent in this manner, there are a wide range of options, with big differences when it comes to effort, cost and effectiveness, such as:

  • Newsletter-type standard emails (little effort, low costs, but barely effective)
  • Personal telephone calls (very high level of effort, low costs, good effectiveness)
  • Continuous contact via internal talent community including content and community manager (high degree of effort, very high costs, good effectiveness)
  • Personalized reminder messages from the TRM operator (no effort for the company, costs remain in the lower range, good effectiveness)

The last option is of particular interest for companies that would like to receive current CVs from their talent despite the fact that they do not have a large budget or internal resources. In these cases, the TRM system comes into play as a separate platform that uses individual messages with content tailored to the recipient to remind the users (the talent) to keep their CV up to date. In this way, the companies continuously receive up-to-date CVs from their talent without having to go to any effort to remind or motivate candidates themselves.

3. Talent search: rapid, simple, intelligent

Anyone who has ever used an applicant search mask knows that quality and speed are vital criteria when it comes to the search for talent. In order to make the search feasible and practical in everyday use, it must be possible to search for talent quickly and easily according to various criteria (education, professional experience, industries, skills, place of residence, salary expectations, etc.).

Many Applicant Tracking Systems have only very limited options for searching for talent. Often, the search is slow or confusing, and in some cases only a full-text search leads to a result, which frequently delivers much too high a number of hits.

For TRM systems, the search for talent is absolutely essential. With the help of user-friendly, intelligent search functions, suitable talent can be found rapidly and presented in a comprehensible manner.

And now, you can do more than just send job offers to the people that are of interest to you: why not invite them to an event, offer them a company tour specifically tailored to them, or simply give away goodies: the more you interact with your talent, the more you remain in their consciousness as an interesting employer. All of this makes the next step even easier – offering them a job.

4. Contemporary communication: WhatsApp is the new email

In order to contact your talent in a modern way and at eye level, you need to use the communication channels they are used to. Nowadays, WhatsApp and text messages are far more popular than emails: by now, 60% of all talent wants communication with companies to take place via mobile channels (myVeeta talent statistics 2018), and the tendency is rising.

While most Applicant Tracking Systems only allow for communication via email, modern TRM systems make it possible to communicate with talent via a multitude of channels. In the ideal case, each of your potential candidates can choose whether they wish to receive messages via email, text, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. And all this while the companies can continue to send and receive all the messages from a single place in order to avoid additional effort.

Bottom line

In times of a global lack of specialist staff, Talent Relationship Management is an important tool for creating a sense of loyalty today between your company and the employees of tomorrow. But the candidates of today are also consumers – and as such, are used to the comforts of the modern online world. Long, grey input screens are a thing of 1996. Therefore, anyone who wants to build up a talent pipeline to be taken seriously in this day and age, in order to achieve an initial competitive edge in the “war for talent”, will find it difficult to do so without their own Talent Relationship Management solution. The good news is that TRM systems have also evolved with the times, and are no longer the expensive, resource-intensive behemoths of 5 years ago.

Would you like to find out how TRM systems are used in practice by companies of varying sizes and from a diverse range of industries? Simply contact us for a non-binding online demo.