Subscribers are the future of recruitment for most companies. Soon, recruiting may not even involve posting sponsored jobs externally. When faced with a hard-to-fill job, most companies would prefer to receive an internal referral or have a pool of relevant applicants ready to review immediately. In fact, this is the future of recruitment – a future that will only become a reality for businesses proficient at building, maintaining and mining their own internal candidate pool.

A talent community is part of any complete recruitment strategy

An in-house database of candidates is called a talent community – and it’s what HR teams do with it that counts. No, a talent community is not one media source’s repository of email addresses sold as an accessory to a job posting package.

This kind of a talent community requires a separate account for each recruiter, is limited to that job segment or jobs posted with that source, and can contain outdated and irrelevant email addresses. (Have you ever signed up for industry news articles and magically started receiving job advertisements?) In addition, a media source’s talent community is probably not exportable, editable, or managed by the recruitment team.

A true talent community is company-wide and source agnostic, an internal pool of all candidates that have applied for jobs within a company, and is searchable, customizable (organized by the preferences of each user) categorical and up-to-date. Data is useless unless it can be grouped, split, exported, shared and analyzed – by entire teams. Furthermore, a true talent community should fully serve both the needs of the employer and the candidate, by matching relevant jobs with a candidate’s skills on an ongoing basis. Recruiters should be able to easily match talent community members to a job, and applicants should be able to easily find jobs that interest them – and be reminded to finish the application process.

Last year, all business using recruiting marketing tools from SuccessFactors received 18 percent of their candidate flow from e-mail job alerts automatically sent on their behalf. In other words, almost 20 percent of candidate flow is recurrent applications – not from a job posting, but from e-mail job alerts that are automatically being sent to candidates that opt in, matching their stated interests. That is up from 14 percent in 2012. One well-known global technology company received 24 percent of all job applications from email job alerts, in the last 12 months.

Historically, recruiters were expected to publish jobs externally. Today they could – and should – have a ready candidate pool waiting for targeting and re-marketing. Past applicants or opt-in subscribers, they have gone on to presumably gain experience, skills, certifications, and perhaps even new job titles with other employers. Ignoring this rich pool of candidates wastes time, effort, and advertising dollars publishing jobs.

Today, recruiters have new roles that require them to straddle marketing, sales, finance, and human resources and not waste time or energy posting jobs blindly. They need technology to work on their behalf. They need an entire marketing team or system to analyze where the best candidates are coming from, effectively manage potential and past applicants, implement SEO best practices, and track return on investment and benchmark costs for any given media source.

Recruitment is no different than any other marketing program

Outside of recruiting, marketers always have a list of subscribers or contacts (well managed or not). In fact, the practice of managing subscribers has its own name: customer relationship management (CRM). Marketers know it is the ability to capture the ongoing attention of your customer that truly makes a difference to business development. The temporary person-to-person link a business has to a customer is somewhat tenuous – it is a direct lifeline momentarily, until the buyer contact switches jobs, the decision-making ability changes hands, or the transaction is complete. The systematic management of e-mail addresses provides critical linkage between marketers and their customers. It grants companies the ability to reach out and capture the attention of a passive candidate or leads at any time. This strategic management of relationships makes a big difference to time management, budget spend and the bottom line.

As with customers, systematic management of potential candidates or applicant leads enables the important, undervalued practice of ongoing communication and creates the opportunity for future transactions. In fact, simple e-newsletter businesses have popped up everywhere because sending information via e-mail has been proven to be critical to the overall success of a company. Built-in automation within the recruiting marketing system allows critical job-matching and awareness-building services without the need for a recruiting marketer to design an e-mail, manage a list, or even hit send. The power of automated, candidate-matched, effortless e-mail jobs alerts to capture and recapture the attention of potential applicants and keep them interested in a company over any length of time cannot be overstated.

Companies using cloud recruiting marketing software from SAP have a talent community at their fingertips. Recruiters are turning their industry inside out by merging CRM with applicant tracking systems in a new, fast, streamlined way. Instead of storing mass warehouses of data inside an applicant tracking system, recruiters are organizing and employing candidate data to proactively market jobs and turn loose leads into loyal followers. Instead of meeting recruitment needs by reactive posting and knee-jerk publishing of jobs, they recruit from the inside out – receiving and managing candidates in a way that allows for automation, continuing communication, and most importantly, increasing visibility and mindshare in the war for talent. This method of recruitment CRM elbows out competitors and stakes a permanent claim on potential candidates’ inboxes.

At the end of the day, recruiters and companies need to have a ready pool of candidates at their fingertips, and an intelligent system to manage them. Most importantly, candidates need to be easily searchable and segmented. Big Data requires information to be configured in a systematic way. It no longer matters where information is stored or on what device it is accessed. The only thing that matters is how well employees can manipulate the information to work smarter. The best companies use information efficiently and intelligently, and practice CRM throughout different business units and departments, to develop and grow cost savings and best practices in all aspects of their business.