our blog gets recruiters thinking

We’ve all seen at least one episode of Grand Designs That infamous UK which is either stuff of science fiction or horror – but often seems to have a happy ending… Kevin McCloud documents people who build / renovate their homes in spectacular fashion.  Projects like these look fabulous at the end, but what a process (and the rain, cranes, grey hairs….)

Recruitment CRM Migration Akin to Moving your Mansion?

So, your sponsor has given you the green light for a new Recruitment CRM and it Is all systems go. There's a lot to think about, including:

  • What are the exact requirements of the new recruitment CRM?
  • Who's in the project team?
  • Which system are you going to purchase?
  • How are you going to get your recruiters to use it?
  • .. and the data?

The last point is one that normally perplexes not just the project team, but the whole company. I've seen project teams pour weeks and months of analysis into understanding what data they have, who uses and owns it and can they migrate it to the new system and it still be usable?

Studio Flat, Semi-Detached or 27 Room Mansion?

Inevitably, there are 3 simple options for recruitment businesses: 

  1. Take all the data
  2. Take only the last x number years of data
  3. Take no data at all!

Meetings, discussions and arguments ensue. One part of the firm wants to start afresh - nobody is managing or searching the data anyway.  The other cringes at the thought of losing all those years of data gathering!

Eventually, the project board / sponsor makes a decision … "Take it all, we need everything in order to continue to be a successful business".

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

There are many reasons why you would want to take all your data across. How many of the following statements are true for you?

  • Our CRM data is like an athlete's body – It’s lean and has a strong focus to warrant only the best quality candidates are added. There is constant monitoring and communication with talent to ensure it is nurtured correctly.
  • It is the single most important part of our business and everyone uses it religiously and without question.
  • Everyone understands Crap in = Crap out – we have quality checks which drive our activity
  • We search the CRM 1st because we know it's the quickest way to finding a relevant candidate that might be right.
  • We are specialist niche recruiters or work in vertical / horizontal practices – our data underpins this approach
  • Every candidate that is fortunate to be added to our system is treated like a god. Their data is quality checked and they are coded up to ensure they can be easily found again.
  • Our database data is monitored and regularly cleaned or it is a self-cleansing database.
  • Our consultants rarely leave, therefore data is owned by someone and not lost or forgotten about.

If you scored 6 or more of those statements, I would suggest that you should (probably) take all of your data with you.  (… and if you scored 6 or more, I’d like to meet you – as you are like a rare specimen that David Attenborough would go mad over!)

If on the other hand you scored less than this (and most recruiters do), then ask yourself what benefit is there in taking it with you and what real risk is there in starting again?

What would Kevin McCloud Say?

Consider Grand Designs. You see the lovely couple (who normally both look knackered by the final quarter of the programme) open the door to Kevin McCloud and invite him into their new stunning home (which is normally very white, open plan and with copious amounts of sliding glass).

He walks in proclaiming his admiration and surprise that they actually finished it. However, sometimes you spot they’ve brought with them all of their horrible and ghastly furniture from their previous dwelling and scattered and squeezed this across their lovely new expanse of post-modernism.

In Recruitment CRM world, the same can often apply to taking the data across from the old system to the new.

Your data’s true home was in the old system where it was added or created. It had a nice place that everyone (or some people) understood why it was there. Taking this out of one environment and squeezing this into another environment can sometimes be ugly and is difficult to understand what it is doing in this lovely new environment.

It also costs money to migrate data, which can invariably delay the project as you export, test, and export again, retest again and the cycle continues until you think you’re done, only to find out that it still isn't correct after you've gone live!  (Picture a consultant’s lack of buy-in when they see their first poorly migrated record…)

Now I’m not suggesting that every recruitment firm should dump all of their data when migrating; I am simply suggesting that you give some serious thought to the data – it may not offer you the continuity you seek.

Getting the Builders in

Ask yourself:

  • Will the old data fit into the new system in a tidy and neat way?
  • Do I want to instil the existing consultant behaviours and habits in the new system?
  • Am I prepared to spend large amounts of time and resource trying to rectify missing data or data out of place?
  • Will consultants work differently in the new system even if I give them all their old data?
  • Can you still use your old system for a period of time to search tool and then manually migrate any useful data?

There’s no right or wrong answer, but there are always lots of questions. Think about the pros and cons of your planned strategy and if necessary be brave.

What is your experience of a CRM data migration? Did you end up with the same results and the same data management behaviours from consultants?

Thanks to APSCo for publishing this blog. 

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