Zoho Recruit - A Half Baked product that should really be in BETA!

Zoho Recruit - A Half Baked product that should really be in BETA!

A product full of limitations and features that either suck or just don't work!

So, we've been trying Zoho Recruit for a week now and all we have come across is problems after problems. 

Sure the Trial/Evaluation is free but the time we invest (read: WASTE) in trying the half baked product costs way more than subscription cost! Something Zoho should try and make their team understand.

Raised a support request on Monday and till Friday no response or update. Called support to find out - and was told that the ticket was sent to PreSales and has been closed. I mean seriously?!! Finally, we asked the call to be escalated and raised a support request again. 

There are fundamental issues with the product which renders the product unusable! It's is glorified spreadsheet at best.

Here are 2 main issues we came across:

1. Emails sent from Zoho Recruit end up in JUNK.
2. Formatted resume feature DOESN't work.

This is a major issue across ALL Zoho products. Just look for the string: "Zoho" AND "Email" AND "Junk" in google or even in here and you'll come across a ton of people complaining about this issue for years! Yes years! And Zoho still cant get it right. Email deliverability is like CRM / Communication 101 and cant believe in 2018 we have face such issues. This is a basic feature. 

As for fixing this issue, we've tried it all SPF, DKIM you name it! 

Note: If someone from Zoho is going to request a troubleshooting session or an email to your support team - please refrain from doing so. Because you (Zoho) too are suffering from this issue. Most of your emails to customers end up in our Junk/Spam - including newsletters and notifications! 

If you do wan't to do something about this issue and respond to this and the million other email deliverability issue posts on your forum or elsewhere, here is what you need to do:
  1. Sign up for a FREE Office365 trial or Google Apps for Work trial. (AND NO - NOT ON ZOHO MAIL PLEASE) 
  2. Setup a domain & mailbox on there. 
  3. Setup your FREE Zoho Evaluation account. 
  4. Setup email integration with ANY of your Zoho Products (POP)
  5. Set up your DKIM or SPF or whatever else. 
  6. Send some bulk / test emails to 3rd parties on various platforms that are widely used (no - that doesn't include Zoho Mail) to people using Office 365 or Exchange Servers or Exchange Online or Gmail for Work.
  7. See for yourself what people are complaining about and then, 
  8. Sack the clown that is responsible for email deliverability in Zoho. 
  9. Then publish the results or the FIX or an update, if/and when this issue is fixed! Lets hope for 2020 - that should give you enough time and then you can relaunch this beta feature in all your products. 

Anyone who has tried this feature or even attempted to setup this feature can safely conclude that Zoho Recruit is a half baked product that should really be in BETA and NOT a commercial product!

Clearly the team responsible for Zoho Recruit (Product Managers, Developers & Support) hasn't a clue about how recruitment works and how a recruitment agency software should work. I would not be surprised if the team running recruit is either interns or amateurs or both.

Formatting resumes is THE most time consuming task for a recruiter. And zoho recruit's Formatted Resume feature doesn't even work towards making this menial task suck less. In-fact it is quicker to format resume's manually than waste time with this joke of a product.

Lets take a look at the various configuration options on Formatted Resume settings page and prove the point why this feature is a classic example of more money spent on Marketing than Product Development! 

Here's a screenshot of Formatted / Branded Resume settings.
Screenshot of Formatted / Branded Resume settings options
Now lets look at how / why each setting is either useless or just doesn't work. 

SETTING A -  Save Formatted Resume as .doc .docx or .pdf

Highly inconsistent in the way this option works. Candidates can send their resume in any of the 3 formats: doc, docx or pdf. Regardless of the option you choose here, if the original resume of candidate is in PDF format and you generate a formatted resume, it arbitrarily saves the formatted resume in PDF format, despite having chosen to save them as docx format in settings!

And NO - this is not account specific. We fired up 3 separate trial instances of Zoho Recruit in Zoho's EU and US data centres. This problem is consistent across all instances. 

More below, on how the .pdf option is rendered useless by another feature that doesn't work.

SETTING B - Insert Logo

No control over where this Logo is placed if you choose the option: Original Resume Format with Branding

SETTING C - Contact Details to be Removed from Formatted Resume

This is plain BS. It does not work. Tried this with 10 different CV;s in 2 different instances of Zoho Recruit in EU and US data centres.

Raised this with support and they replied: This feature relies on and ONLY works if Candidate's original resume has contact details listed as, 
Field Name: Value 

Essentially, the candidates original resume must have their contact details list in this specific format: 
Telephone : 00123456789
Address : 123, Some Street.
Email Address : candidate@gmail.com

If it's not in this format, this feature of removing contact details DOES NOT WORK. 

This unreliable feature means that saving formatted resume as PDF as described in point A above is pointless. Because you will inevitably need to edit the damn formatted resume and remove the contact details!

SETTING D - Select Resume Format:

This is total joke and waste of time. Cleary the devs or PM's haven't even tested if this works!

So, 3 options here:

D1. Original Resume Format with Branding - Totally useless, the word Branding is misnomer here.

This should actually be called: Original Resume with your Logo Stamped somewhere at the top and thats while doing so, it will arbitrarily change (read: mess-up) the formatting, margins of the original CV and save it a formatted resume. 
The point is, you're gonna have to edit the formatted resume, to remove contact details from it ANYWAY, so you can add your logo the same time it takes 10 seconds more but at-least you don't mess-up the layout/margins of the candidates original resume! 

So thats Original Resume with "Branding" rendered useless. 

D2. Create your own resume format

The WYSIWYG editor is an old technology and Zoho just cant get it right. This proves the point mentioned above about interns/amateurs. 

The HTML editor in this option, doesn't work. You add your HTML and click save but it doesn't work! You then check the saved HTML only to find out that the HTML editor has arbitrarily stripped away parts of your HTML code.

We sent the code to Zoho Recruit support, on Monday and still no response its Saturday today!!

Tried this HTML in the 2 different trial instances of Zoho Recruit - IT DOES NOT WORK. 
Tried the same HTML code in Zoho CRM template editor works perfectly. 

Additionally, there is no clarification ANYWHERE whether this would allow saving the Formatted Resume as MS Word document. Chances are it wont because Word is not good at the way it handles HTML and this option is only for saving resume as PDF. And PDF is useless, because you still need to remove contact details manually. 

So thats Create Your own resume format rendered useless. 

D3. Upload your Formatted/Branded Resume template document: 

This one works - but ONLY up to a point. And it has MAJOR limitations that render it useless altogether. 

So, you design your resume template in Ms Word and add all the merge fields, your company header and footer, lock the sections to prevent changes to header and footer design/layout. And then upload your template into Zoho Recruit. It generates a decent formatted resume, but it has 2 major limitations:


If you use one of the Merge Fields (provided by Zoho Recruit) for embedding candidates original resume into your formatted template document, it basically messes up the template layout, margins, header and footer. And all this despite you locking the header and footer sections of your template! 

What's happening here is that when you try to merge a source word document (i.e. original resume in this case) into a section in your destination word document (i.e. the template in this case), using mail merge method, the destination document's formatting is overwritten by source word document. And this is a known limitation of MS Word.

Clearly the team putting this together has,
  1. NO CLUE about how this works because unlike the rest of the world who use MS Word, they use ZohoDocs.
  2. Done a shoddy job and not even tested this feature out. 


Lets say, you don't use the merge field "Original Candidate Resume" described in Limitation 1 above and decide to use just the candidate records fields in ZohoRecruit. This option fails miserably. 

Before we get into more details, here's a quick LESSON for ZohoRecruit product team on how a Formatted Resume looks like in recruitment industry and what is the need for formatted resume.  

When you send a few resumes to a client, you want to present the candidate information in a clear coherent and consistent manner, so the client can get a clear understanding of each candidate as quickly as possible. To do this, typically recruiters use a coversheet that includes a 1 page overview of the candidates basic details, work experiences, education etc, IN 1 PAGE! And appended to this cover sheet there is usually the original resume of the candidate minus the personal contact details of the candidate.
So here's, 2 MAIN Reasons why this doesn't work and it is more of a gimmick, poorly put together by someone who has neither worked in nor understands recruitment industry. 

The candidates work experience and education details are stored in what ZohoRecruit calls a "tabular". A tabular for work experience, another for education and any other custom tabular you may create. Each tabular is available as a merge field for the formatted resume.

Again, 2 huge limitations here:

A - This merge filed when used on a formatted resume, comes with its own styling:
  • Table with borders
  • Lots of empty space and line gaps
None of this styling can be changes or manipulated in any way. And as a result, you have poorly formatted resume and badly presented. 

B - The merge field for each tabular in an entire block containing all of candidate's work experience or all of education history. Meaning you cannot pick and choose what you want to display on your formatted resume. It all or nothing. In case of work experience it contains the following fields for each job:
  • Job Title
  • Company Name 
  • Summary (which is usually long blocks of text, where candidate adds all their work duties on their original CV)
  • Dates (Start and End dates)  
And NO you cannot choose remove any one of the above fields from your formatted resume. 

So if a candidate's works experience contains his work history for last 6 jobs he worked at, with all the above fields per job x times 6, what you get with a single merge field is an awfully long formatted resume with a poorly designed table / tabular with lots of line gaps and empty space and may be 6 pages long!

If you want to give a snapshot summary of a candidate on 1 page - FOR GET ABOUT IT - IT IS NOT POSSIBLE. Send a client 10 candidates, each with 6 page long CV - it goes straight to the bin. No one has that attention span or time to read all LONG blocks and tables of text. This basically equals potential revenue loss.

Even if you're OKAY with endless pages and tabulars on your formatted resume, you're hit with another limitation that makes this option a no-go in the first place! 

The tabulars you use is basically data sitting in the candidate record in your ZohoRecruit database. The data that was parsed by a 3rd party tool called Daxtra.

KEY FACT : Daxtra is probably the best parser out there and they themselves advertise an accuracy rate of "up-to" 80% in their parser technology. This is Up-To.

We had mixed results in parsing and highly doubt this number. But anyway, even if its 80%, it basically means that you need to check each candidate resume in your database, compare it to original CV of the candidate and check if the parser did its job well. Then you need to spend time correcting the other 20% that it missed. The epitome of counter-productivity
For this option to be useable, you need to spend time comparing original CV with what was parsed into Zoho and carefully read it to find out what was missed by the parser. This increased the lead time it takes to get the formatted resume out to the client. And delays in this highly competitive recruitment industry, where there is no shortage of recruitment agencies, equals revenue loss

I could carry on.. but this is an accurate list of our findings and hands down Zoho Recruit is a BETA product. One that you wouldn't wanna touch with a barge pole... unless Zoho fixes these issues and responds with evidence on this public forum in interest of transparency, so people dont waste time like we did.

1. These points are not specific to our account so please dont ask for a remote session.     
2. These were raised as a support request last week. 
3. VENKAT from your support team was the only person who seems to have a clue and was helpful and understanding. 
4. Scripted bots from your pre-sales team - please stay away, you dont have a clue and I dont want to waste time. 
5. If you want to do justice to the effort made in highlighting these issues and giving you constructive feedback, do a separate response post for each issue/problem reported and if you want to dispute any of above, then I challenge you to make a video to prove otherwise. 

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