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Getting Value Out of Your Contact List

Over the years, you have sourced candidates from job boards, resume databases, social media, and a dozen other places, and chances are the majority of candidates you identified in the past were at one point added to your recruitment CRM. Flash forward to today, and you probably have several thousand contacts, if not more.

If you’re like the majority of CRM users, it’s likely you haven’t done much with them over time. Yes, there will be some that you have contacted for new opportunities, but a lot will sit dormant.

Does it really matter? It should. Your contact list is your most valuable asset. It’s more valuable than all of your recruiting tools combined. If you don’t take steps to maintain and organize your contacts, they will quickly lose their value.

Starting with Categorizations

Maintaining several thousand contacts is no easy task for anyone. Data quickly becomes outdated, irrelevant, and incomplete. While it is unrealistic to expect that you will be able to keep all of your records pristine and up-to-date, categorizations allow you to organize your contacts in meaningful ways to better support your recruiting efforts.

By using categorizations (also known as tags), you can segment your contacts using identifiers that are unique to your recruiting efforts. Unlike lists which can become outdated the second they are created, categorizations offer greater flexibility to organize your data to your preference. With categorizations, you can easily sort, filter, segment, and target contacts, allowing you to take your sourcing and candidate engagement up a level.

Types of Categorizations

Getting started with categorizations may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. There is no need to manually sort through your contacts and assign categorizations to every contact all at once. Instead, start gradually implementing them into your recruiting process over time.

As you conduct Boolean searches for specific job requirements, contact candidates, or import them into your CRM, make it a best practice to add relevant categorizations while the contact record is open and their information is top of mind. If you’re not sure where to start, know there is no wrong way to label your contacts as long as the categorizations used are meaningful to your process and you understand what attribute they refer to going forward.

To help you get started with categorizations, here is list of the most common ways Loxo users categorize their contacts.


Have you ever searched your contacts for certain domain expertise to only receive a list of results containing candidates with no relevant experience? For example, a simple Boolean search using the word “marketing” will yield a wide range of results from marketing coordinators to CMOs as well as anyone who has added the keyword “marketing” to their resume because they occasionally post on Facebook. Categorizing your candidates by job function eliminates this problem by allowing you to easily filter out all irrelevant contacts from your searches and focus your efforts only candidates who meet your search criteria.

Technical & Soft Skills

If you’re frequently recruiting for similar roles, categorizing your candidates by their technical and soft skills is a quick way to speed up your future sourcing efforts. Categorizations by technical skills allow you to quickly filter out candidates who don’t meet job requirements, and categorizations by soft skills allow you to quickly reference notes and observations you previously made about the candidate without duplicating your efforts.


Do you recruit for a wide variety of roles from entry level positions to director level and higher? If you do, you might want to consider categorizing your candidates by their level of experience, making it easier to sort recent graduates from industry veterans. If you decide to utilize experience categorizations, consider using tags, such as entry level, mid level, and senior level.

If you’re like me and concerned that you will not be able to manage those tags over time, consider a workaround like categorizing your contact by their first year of employment. Then you can sort by years of experience for all future searches.


People move all the time for a range of reasons from new job opportunities to family commitments. If you don’t believe me, look at the populations of some the fastest growing cities.

What does this mean for recruiting? It means that a simple Boolean search to filter candidates based on a city listed on a resume can be widely inaccurate. Instead of relying on searches for listed cities, tag candidates with their current location and filter your results accordingly.


If level or quality of education is important to your recruiting efforts, there are a couple different approaches you can take. A simple approach is to tag all candidates by their level of education (i.e. High School, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D.). However, if caliber of education is important, you could use categorizations such as ivy league, top 10, top 5%, or whatever best aligns with your recruiting process.

Getting Value out of Your Contact Lists

Categorizations are one of the easiest ways to quickly make sense of your contact list, and they continue to provide value even after their initial addition to the contact’s profile. If you’re still debating whether or not to incorporate categorization into your recruiting process, remember this. Categorizations allow you to:

… and best of all, they require little effort and have no impact on your overall recruiting process.

As you get started, there is one thing to consider. If you’re working across a team or plan to grow your team in the future, it’s a good idea to develop best practices around how the team will use categorizations. This can be a brief conversation where you collectively identify which types of categorizations you will use and develop shared definitions. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, you can create a shared glossary to ensure there is never knowledge loss with employee turnover and to help facilitate faster knowledge transfer with new employee onboarding.

So, what are you waiting for? Start categorizing your contacts today, and you’ll realize the benefits in no time. Good luck and happy categorizing!

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