Great tools by themselves do not make a great relationship, but they sure can make it easier to foster a great relationship. When HR reps and recruiters work together, they need many open lines of communication. The more they utilize those lines, and the more effectively they use communications tools, the better the relationship will become between recruiter and HR rep.
Having worked in HR for a number of companies, both large and small, and having worked with a number of recruiters with different styles, I've learned a few universals about the tools that make our jobs easier. In some instances one specific tool makes more sense than competitors. In others, a general category of tool, with many specific options available, will do just fine.
So what are the essential tools for interaction between HR and recruiters? Here are the ones that work best for me.
Customer Relationship Management
When you hear the term CRM, or customer relationship management, your mind probably goes to a sales team. There's nothing wrong with that association; for sales teams a CRM is vital. But they're not the only people who need this kind of software. Almost any team working on a project that involves contacting leads will need CRM software to stay coordinated. That absolutely includes HR and recruiters, who need to stay on the same page when it comes to potential new hires.
While the recruiter and the HR rep act as primaries during different phases of the hiring process, they really work together all the time. An HR rep wants to see how many prospects the recruiter is generating, so as to prepare for interviews. The recruiter wants to know what kind of communication the HR rep has had with the prospect, so the recruiter can follow up accurately. There are ways to communicate all of this via many channels, but none nearly as efficiently as CRM software.
While Salesforce has become a household name in CRM software, there are a few problems with it, specifically for recruiters. Most glaringly, its mobile app has yet to impress. That should change in the future, since CRMs make a world of sense on mobile devices. As of this writing, SugarCRM's mobile solution ranks among the best of the major CRM engines. The mobile app works well enough that recruiters can update on the fly, making life easier for everyone involved in the process.
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Even huge corporations have budgets, as any HR rep can tell you. We're often given a directive to hire, but have a very tight range of salary and benefits for the potential new employee. Other times we're given an overall budget and must keep payroll in a certain level. This doesn't allow us to take huge liberties with the books, but it does give us an idea of our parameters. We must communicate those parameters with recruiters, so we remain on the same page.
While an HR rep can directly communicate this information, it's much easier to store it in a place where the recruiter can access it whenever. That's why cloud solutions work so well for software such as accounting and bookkeeping. Not only can you access it from anywhere, but you can grant access to others while keeping their permissions limited. That way the recruiter can log in when she needs certain information, without having to search through an email inbox.
The gold standard for accounting software is QuickBooks from Intuit.com, and that's the one I absolutely recommend. The cloud implementation not only allows for the features described above, but it also scales for businesses of every size. A startup of one can take advantage of the lowest-tier option, while a huge corporation can sign up for the enterprise plan. So you'll have access anywhere, and can grant limited access to anyone, while keeping the costs within your needs and budget.
As mentioned above, email is not an ideal communication tool for ongoing tasks. Email is ephemeral by nature. Yes, you can store messages in your inbox indefinitely, and you can even star or flag them for future reference. But that's something like a plugin. It works well enough within the scope of the program, but there is probably software that can do that specific job better. That's why I prefer task management software for interacting with recruiters.
Instead of emailing back and forth about a certain task, I can simply make an update in the task list I share with each recruiter. If we have a discrepancy, then we can email about it. But the final change will ultimately show up on that task list. When the recruiter needs to access certain information, she can just log into the task software and see the status of the project in real time. The same goes for the HR rep. There is no emailing back and forth, flagging emails that we'll need to reference in the future. The project is all there, updates and all.
There are plenty, plenty of options for using shared task software. Dare I recommend one? I shall, though I've used plenty in the past three years and have come to enjoy most of them. Currently I'm using Producteev, which is probably the most versatile task management software I've ever used. It can get a bit complex for some, and for those there are alternatives such as Toodledo. Whatever the case, using this is crucial in maintaining open relations between HR and recruiters.