Sourcing and CRMs — An Interview with Carl Kutsmode

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Sep 22, 2011

Carl Kutsmode, one of the speakers for the upcoming SourceCon conference, has quietly influenced the sourcing profession since the mid ‘90s, when he founded the Tiburon Group, an RPO firm with a reputation for developing creative sourcing strategies. Since then, Carl has continued to consult with Fortune 500 companies in a variety of industries. Carl contributes to the sourcing and recruiting community as a volunteer board member of the Staffing Management Association of Greater Chicago and a non-profit organization that helps skilled immigrants find opportunities, Upwardly Global. Oh, and he writes a blog, and is working on a book for jobseekers. Where does he find the time?

Tell us about talentRise. What innovations have you introduced to your clients recently?

I joined talentRISE in 2009 and quickly fell in love with the mission of the firm — “To help growing companies achieve sustainable business results through talent.” We do this by assessing our client’s current state talent acquisition, talent management, and/or retention practices, processes, systems, and strategies and then re-align them to best support the ever-changing business need for “Top Performing Talent.” One of our recent successes was to help a retail banking client in regional expansion mode to improve their quality of hire and overall recruitment process for recruiting tellers and personal bankers in support of existing hiring needs. In addition, they needed a model that could quickly scale up and down to support planned future and new office expansion talent needs without increasing fixed overhead recruiting costs. Our re-designed recruiting model included an RPO vendor solution, talent assessment tools, and a CRM sourcing database component all wrapped into a well-thought out new process. The first hiring event supported by the new model launched on 9/15 and was a huge success. I will be sharing details of the solution and specific improvement results in my presentation at SourceCon.

You’re leading a session at SourceCon on High Volume Sourcing, Talent Communities, & CRM Technology. Do you think a CRM is an essential, or nice-to-have, for sourcing organizations?

I believe a CRM tool is an essential tool for any organization that embraces a more proactive approach to identifying, engaging and building relationships with specific groups of talent in advance of need. These needs may be ongoing and predictable needs such as college hiring, hourly and sales, OR in support of more strategic, critical role needs that typically have a longer recruiting cycle time due to market competitiveness OR limited availability of skills in the marketplace. In comparison, many traditional ATS systems are designed for a requisition-driven recruiting approach which means they need an actual open job in order to properly manage candidate information and metrics. Additionally, their workflows are typically designed more around managing ACTIVE job candidates quickly from application on the company careers pages to hire.

Conversely, organizations employing more PASSIVE talent sourcing strategies need to efficiently source / identify potential candidates in advance of future need and then provide tools to facilitate building a solid pipeline, or talent community, of people the recruiter can cultivate a relationship with over time. In a nutshell, if a company’s ATS is not set up to effectively manage a pipeline or talent community sourcing approach, then a CRM component, complementing the ATS system capabilities, is a must-have tool in the recruiter toolbox.

What are the most important factors companies should consider when selecting a CRM?

  • User configurability
  • Intuitiveness (easy to learn interface)
  • System speed
  • Customer support
  • User configurable custom reporting capabilities

Every recruiter does things a little differently and most resist change or won’t want to embrace a new tool unless it somehow maps to how they work. In addition, sourcing organizations using traditional ATS systems often struggle to demonstrate their value to recruiting and HR leadership because the metrics an ATS system tracks are not always designed around pipeline sourcing workflows and meaningful metrics. For example, you cannot measure a sourcer on cycle time to hire if their job is to source and screen a pipeline of people for future needs and track them against a static, open (rolling) requisition with a requisition date that is two years old because it NEVER closes. Being able to effectively mine the web and various online sourcing resources (resume databases, social networks, etc.) as well as effectively and easily import mass amounts of contacts stored in various file formats (VCards, Excel lists, etc.) are critical features to evaluate closely.

Do you think most recruiters/sourcers have the required skills to build candidate pipelines?

No. Some recruiters are great sourcers and can find lots of quality data fast. Others are great “relationship builders” who love being on the phone, networking and building relationships for the long term with people that they can recruit in the future, or leverage for referrals. To build effective talent pipelines, it is important to be very good at both of these skills and also have a passion for leveraging technology and tools to work efficiently and effectively.

I noticed something cool on your LinkedIn profile; you provide a link to your mailing list. Does this work well for business development? Generating candidates?

It’s more for business development as I am a consultant but I don’t feel it is necessarily a core component to my recommended recruiting strategies. I would rather drive people to a link to a talent community portal page online that speaks to a specific type of opportunity and where people can register with the community by simply dropping their email address and checking a few boxes to indicate a few data points about themselves and what type of information they have interest in receiving communications about in the future.

Tell us a little more about Carl. You like to travel. Where? What’s your next destination?

As you can tell, I am passionate about my work, but at the end of the day, I work to travel! Every year I try to plan a vacation somewhere outside of the U.S. so that I can completely check out and experience something completely foreign to me. This year I am going to India for the first time with my partner and a few close friends for 2.5 weeks over the holidays at year-end. We are very excited about the many places we will be seeing on our northern India private tour but the highlight of the trip will be the last four days when we will be spending time with a good friend from Chicago who will be visiting her family there. I will get a chance to see the country as a tourist as well as from a local’s perspective.

Anything else you’d like to learn from Carl? Ask in the comments below.

Stay tuned next week as we bring you more interviews from the presenters for the upcoming SourceCon conference in Silicon Valley, October 12-14. Don’t forget to register – we’ll see you there!

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