How To Maximise ROI From Your Recruitment Software

Quality recruitment software is a crucial component to all recruitment agencies from startups to multinationals across all industry sectors. In fact 75% of recruitment professionals utilise recruiting or applicant tracking software (ATS) as part of their day-to-day work [1] and 94% of those professionals say that their recruitment software or ATS had a positive impact on delivering their recruitment services.

Not only is recruitment management software clearly an integral part of any recruitment agency or internal staffing operation, it’s also a considered investment. Depending on the pricing structure, your software license may cost a monthly fee of roughly £50 – £100 per user, or a one off cost of up to £250 – £1,000 per licence [2].

As a potentially significant spend of your budget, it’s vital you ensure you’re getting the maximum ROI from the ATS or recruitment software you’ve purchased or are considering purchasing. To help you evaluate your current or prospective recruitment software, we’ve put together some key considerations to make sure you are actually getting the most from your software.

1. Before You Buy

Know your business

While this might seem like an obvious point, you’d be surprised how many recruitment agencies fail to evaluate how their business actually operates or even how new recruitment software could solve existing process issues, increase productivity or have a positive impact to their bottom line.

Understanding your business processes inside and out is critical when choosing software that’s “the right fit”. Unfortunately there isn’t a definite answer when asking what “the right fit” is, it’s completely subjective. Deciding what’s right for you is relative to the pain points your software users face day-in day-out, and most importantly what’s right for you is determined by the specific plans and requirements for your business.

If price is a decision factor, it’s more than likely you’re considering going with the cheaper option now while you’re still growing and looking to save capital. But have you stopped to consider those options that are perhaps slightly out of your budget range? Paying that little bit extra when initially investing in quality recruitment software will certainly pay dividends when you’re reaping much larger savings in the long term.

Know your recruitment software supplier

Ultimately, when it comes to your software you should be investing in a partner not a supplier. If you’re looking to rapidly grow your recruitment agency from a SME into a much larger organisation, then an out of the box software solution that doesn’t scale with your growth plans is a short-sighted investment.

Discussing the scalability of your prospective software is one of the most crucial conversations you need to have with software suppliers, combined with how their software can integrate into your technology ecosystem. If the features, functionality and pricing don’t support your growth plans, consider partnering with a different supplier.

Enticing software features that have caught your eye and even tempted you to purchase are basically gimmicks if those features don’t actually add any tangible value to you business. Don’t fall into trap of the software sales cycle and take enticing functionality at face value, simply ask if those features really matter to your staff and your business.

2. Preparation

Establish new operational processes

Successful recruitment software implementation starts with preparation. Understanding how your recruiting software is going to integrate into your business is one thing, it’s even more important to redefine and map your new operating procedures and processes. Use this as an opportunity to evaluate existing processes and divine some new processes that will help not only better configure your new ATS or recruitment CRM software, but potentially streamline your operations in general.

By defining new operational processes on how exactly your new ATS or recruitment CRM will integrate into your staff’s day-to-day work is a critical success factor to ensure all your staff utilise the software to its full potential.

Data

Another critical success factor that will ensure you maximise you ROI is your data. Firstly take the time to ensure your data is cleansed before it is imported into your new recruiting software. Secondly know how your data needs to be entered and captured throughout the software to assist your software users with real time searching and reporting. We recommend you spend time with your software users and senior management team to understand their requirements as this will provide a road map on how your data needs to be entered and maintained in your new ATS or recruitment software. Remember the golden rule; garbage in garbage out (GIGO)

Invest in training

Ensure your staff are properly trained and up-to-date on the features and functionality of your new ATS or recruiting software. With the everyday stresses and challenges in the industry, it can be all too easy to let training take a back seat and focus on hitting KPIs and sales targets. That’s why it’s crucial your staff fully understand the capabilities of the software they’re using day in day out to stop them picking up bad habits, duplicating work or simply wasting valuable time. If your business doesn’t have an internal trainer, appoint one and make sure you identify the specific training requirements for all of your different software user groups to ensure that everyone knows how to use the software to perform their duties.

Arrange regular training and consultation with your supplier on your recruiting software’s full capabilities so that you, your staff and your key stakeholders are fully aware of the systems possibilities and limitations.

3. Post Go Live

Review and feedback

Once you have implemented your new recruitment software and trained your staff, make sure that you are consistently reviewing and auditing your staff’s knowledge and understanding of how they are using your software and your new processes. Use this as a valuable opportunity to not only evaluate individual staff members but gather valuable feedback from them on any issues they’ve experienced regarding the software’s functionality, reporting or searching capability.

Support

As part of your partnership with your recruitment software supplier you should expect and take advantage of the expert support they provide. If you don’t have a dedicated account manager, get in touch with your supplier’s helpdesk support team for any questions or queries you might have. If however you find your support tickets aren’t being dealt with in a timely manner, it might be worth reconsidering your recruitment software supplier.

Relationship

Stay close to your recruitment software supplier. Quality software should be seen as an ongoing partnership with your supplier, as your business grows your supplier should always be there to help you at every juncture. Keep your supplier up to date with your business growth plans, give them regular feedback you’ve gathered from your software users and suggest software improvements. Likewise if your supplier has a software user committee, try and join it. A customer centric supplier will embrace your feedback and will always be looking to improve their software.

 

At the end of the day it’s down to you to make sure you maximise your ROI from your recruitment software, but hopefully we’ve helped and given you an idea of what to look out for when sourcing and partnering with a recruitment software supplier.

Are you interested in learning from other recruitment professionals how they manage and grow their successful agency? Download our free eBook today.

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Optimise Your Job Ads and Social Media Strategy

The ability to search and find information online plays a huge part of our daily life, and search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing provide the technology to make this happen. With Google currently dominating 78% of the global search market, the question is, how you do recruitment agencies maximise their online candidate acquisition and social media strategies to attract more suitable candidates?

Google has the ability to crawl and build an index of about 50 million web pages in less than one minute and processes on average 40,000 search queries every second. It has been reported that up to 30% of search queries can be employment related, so it’s painfully obvious that candidates are out there, but knowing how to get in front of active and passive candidates online, however isn’t so obvious.

To assist you, we have compiled some practical tips to help you optimise your online jobs ads and engagement on social media.

Your Website’s Job Board

Posting job ads on your own website is a cost effective way to advertise your open jobs whilst building your brand within the market.

Compared to the wide range of paid job boards in the market like Monster, Jobsite, Indeed and LinkedIn, your own website’s job board gives you more freedom, flexibility and control to format and promote job ads to assist with attracting quality candidates. The only downside is that your job board probably doesn’t have the same visibility or online reach that major paid jobs boards possess. So how exactly can you hope to compete in an online paid job site oligopoly?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Keywords

Simply put, one of the ways Google (or any other search engine) determines relevance when listing web pages in a search result is through keywords. A website page that is well optimised for search engines “speaks the same language” as its potential visitor base with keywords that help connect searchers to your web page.

The importance of keywords and SEO, is often overlooked by recruiters when writing a job ad, so we have a few simple tips to follow.

For job searches most candidates will type in something like this:

“Operations Manager job based in Central London”

Phrases like these are effectively the “target keywords”. In order to be even ranked for these page search results you need to make sure that these keywords are included in the right sections of your website’s job advert page structure. These sections are:

  • URL structure
    • recruitmentagency.com/job/operations-manager-based-in-central-london/
  • Title (page headline)
    • Operations Manager based in Central London
  • Job Information (page copy)
    • Job details
    • Requirements
    • Contact details and call to action

These are the main sections Google will look for when determining a pages relevance for certain phrases.

Make sure you’re using natural phrases and terminology that your target candidates actually use, and most importantly don’t overpopulate your job ad with the same keyword. Google notices when pages and posts have been “stuffed” with keywords, when it identifies this it will penalise this page and lower its rankings.

Structured Data Markup

Google is great at reading page text and content, what it often struggles with is the context around particular pieces of information. While Google might recognise that “Central London” is address orientated, it won’t understand whether that address is a location for a job ad. While this might sound overly technical (most web developers should be able to get their heads around this) you can deploy specific code on your job advert pages that clearly signposts to Google that all of the information on this page pertains to a job advert.

A Responsive Website (Mobile Friendly) 

Your website pages needs to look good and be responsive when viewed on a mobile device for two very important reasons.

  1. According to Glassdoor, 68% of job seekers use a mobile device to perform job searches once a week or more. While potential candidates may use a desktop computer to send their CV and cover letter, the bulk of their searches and research is going to be done in their spare time or while they’re on the go.
  2. Google has introduced guidelines for websites that it thinks aren’t mobile friendly when presenting search results on a mobile device. If candidates have to pinch and zoom to read your job ads, then you must upgrade your website if mobile visits are important to you. If you’re unsure if your website is mobile friendly in Google’s eyes, you can use Google’s free tool which will give you a simple “Yes this page is mobile-friendly” mark if it is.

Optimise Your Job Ads and Social Media Strategy

Increase Job Ad Visibility & Engagement on Social Media

Choose the Right Social Media Platforms

Posting job ads, blogs, news articles and company updates to social media can be quite an effective way to get in front of both active and passive candidates, but wasting efforts on the wrong social media platforms is all too easy to do.

You may know which social networks your candidates are on as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are rife with job ads across a myriad of sectors. Perhaps try different social media channels, for example, if you’re recruiting for design and creative jobs try posting your job ads in Instagram and Behance. If you’re constantly posting to all of these social networks, how do you know which social media platforms to spend the majority of your time on?

By checking the data, you’ll know you’re wasting time on certain social media platforms if the metrics you’re seeing don’t justify the amount of effort you’ve put in. Checking your companies Facebook Page Insights, Twitter Analytics or LinkedIn Page Analytics and seeing low numbers of engagement is a decent indicator that either your candidates aren’t on that network or they’re not being enticed to interact with your job ad posts, new articles or updates.

Posting Times

If you’re creating your social media posts directly to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and clicking “publish” straight away there’s a very good chance you’re posts aren’t getting seen. Create your posts and schedule them for when your audience (candidates) are actually online. Use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your posts throughout the day, evening or weekend so that your posts don’t get pushed down in feeds when your audience is not online. For example your audience might be on LinkedIn during office hours and more on Facebook and Twitter outside of office hours.

Speaking of which, audience analysis tools like Audiense and Followerwonk will measure and show you when potential candidates are actually on social media and highlight the best times to schedule your postings to social media.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

PPC advertising is a model that Facebook and LinkedIn offer in which you pay when your post is viewed. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your web page, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically.

There is a large debate on the effectiveness of PPC advertising but it does allows you to granularly target demographics to the point where only the best candidates fit for your posts will actually see them. You can target by interests, education, current job role and geographic location so that attracting quality candidates is effortless.

 

Optimising your job ads and social media strategy is an effective way to maximise your online presence. Why not take the next step and introduce inbound marketing as part of your recruitment agencies marketing strategy? Download our free guide today.

The Ultimate Guide To Inbound Marketing For Recruitment Agencies

What is Open Source Recruitment Software & How Does it Compare?

If you are currently in the market for new recruitment software or an applicant tracking system (ATS) you might come across open source recruitment software as part of your research.  One of the questions we come across within our industry is, what is open source recruitment software and how does it compare to a commercial solution? So let’s explore what open source recruitment software is, and how it compares.

Open Source Recruitment Software

Is typically a low cost (or free) licensing offering which is built on open source software where the source code is made available to the purchaser to develop within.

Pros

  • Minimal licensing fees. Nine times out of ten times, open source recruitment software is an inexpensive offering compared to a commercial solution.
  • Independence. Open source recruitment software is developed using open source software by a community of independent developers.
  • Hands-on exploration. You’re able to explore and understand the software in detail, and make your own development changes.
  • Easy to manage. Anyone can fix bugs and make the software better without waiting for a new software release.

Cons

  • Maintenance charges. Whilst licensing fees are minimal, the cost (time and resources) associated with developing the software may well end up being higher.
  • Limited documentation. As there is not just one person developing the software the access to detailed functionally documentation is limited.
  • Learning curve. Since you’ll be responsible for the software yourself, you’ll probably end up needing to hire a software developer to maintain and develop your software.
  • Confusion over users/compatibility. Parallel developments are ongoing, so users may be confused as to which version is compatible with their software.
  • Sudden death.  The software often comes to a halt and some times disappear because software developers fight, quit or simply lose interest.
  • No guarantee of support. Should something go wrong, nobody is obligated to help you as it is community based. Generally any support is offered through an online forum.

 Commercial Recruitment Software

Is a higher cost licensing offering, licences are purchased directly with a recruitment software provider. The source code is closed, and is developed and maintained by the software provider.

Pros

  • Quicker response times to fixing bugs. With a dedicated development team behind the software, you’ll often receive a quicker turn-a-round to fixing bugs or problems.
  • New releases and updates. You may not be able to develop the software yourself, but you will know when updates are coming – unlike with open source recruitment software, which can change without any notice.
  • Ongoing support assistance. A commercial solution provider usually provides a range of support services (telephone and online) to assist you and your software users.
  • Better documentation. You will have access to thorough and detailed software functionality documentation.
  • Dedicated training. With open source recruitment software you’re generally left to figure out how the software works yourself. With a commercial solution you have access to a team of experienced software trainers with the knowledge of their product.

Cons

  • Cost. Often, it’s more expensive and is a larger investment (upfront and reoccurring).
  • Software Development. You will need to wait for the software provider to release new software functionality updates or pay to have bespoke development done.
  • Tie-in. Once you have purchased your recruitment software, if you decide it is not the right software for your business, changing to another software solution again could be cost prohibitive or you may be contracted for a lengthy period of time.

 What’s the Verdict?

It really depends on what functionality you require from your recruitment software if that is basic or more comprehensive, the importance you place on recruitment software within your business, your budget, and what access you have to a software developer to maintain and develop your open source recruitment software.

Cards on the table: we at Eclipse Software obviously believe in a commercial solution. We believe that our recruitment software provides you the solution to work more efficiently without having to worry about maintaining and developing your recruitment software, so that gives you more time to focus on what you do best, managing and growing your business.

However we recognise there is a place for open source software within the recruitment industry, like WordPress. This is why we have chosen to develop an open source WordPress plugin as part of our web integration products.

We listened to our clients and understood that whilst the security of a stable and well supported recruitment software is paramount for supporting their business, the capability to develop and customise their website often requires the ability to have an open source product that will connect their website with their Eclipse recruitment software.

Websites are often developed by an external web design agency who have the necessary skillset to further develop an open source product.  For this reason we opted to provide a web integration solution that works brilliantly out of the box, offers the stability and backing of any commercial product whilst maintaining the open source flexibility.


Buying the right recruitment software solution is crucial for any  business, learn how to get it right by downloading our free recruitment software buying guide eBook.

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ATS vs CRM: Which Recruitment Software is Right for You?

If you are currently reviewing new recruitment software for your business, you will know there is a wide range of software solutions available in today’s market ranging from ATS, recruitment CRM, recruitment software and RMS, but how do you know which one is right for your business, or are they all the same?

The global recruitment software market is currently growing and expected to reach over US$2 billion by 2018. With hundreds of recruitment software providers in the market all promoting different product offerings and awash with acronyms, it can seem quite overwhelming. So to help you, we are going to provide some assistance to clarify some of the acronyms and types of products in the market today.

ATS (Applicant Tracking System)

An ATS is recruitment software enabling a company to manage their staffing and hiring requirements with the following key functionality.

  • Vacancy recording and searching
  • Job ad posting and recording of candidate applications
  • Record candidate information and interactions, CV and compliance documents
  • Candidate searching
  • Applicant tracking through the interview to hiring process
  • Website and HR software integration
  • Reporting
  • Generally a browser-based software application

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

A CRM is software that enables a company to record, track and manage their business relationships (customer/client) with the following key functionality.

  • Record prospect and acquired customer information
  • Record and track customer interactions
  • Record and track customer meetings, demonstrations and presentations
  • Customer marketing activity
  • Reporting
  • Browser-based or on-premise applications

Recruitment CRM, Recruitment Software or RMS (Recruitment Management System)

The above three combine the functionality of an ATS and CRM into one recruitment software solution, with the following key functionality.

  • Record prospect and acquired customer information
  • Record and track customer interactions
  • Record and track customer meetings, demonstrations and presentations
  • Customer marketing activity
  • Record candidate information and interactions, CV and compliance documents
  • Candidate searching
  • Vacancy recording and searching
  • Job ad posting and recording of candidate applications
  • Candidate tracking through the customer interview to placement process
  • Website and third software integration
  • Reporting
  • Browser-based or on-premise applications

Even within the Recruitment CRM, Recruitment Software or RMS market there is a wide range of solutions available based on your recruitment agencies requirements, below is an overview of the markets offering.

Front and Middle Office Solutions
– Temporary recruitment functionality only
– Permanent recruitment functionality only
– Combined permanent and temporary recruitment functionally

Back Office Solutions
– Temporary worker timesheet processing
– Temporary and permanent client invoicing

End-to-End Fully Integrated Solutions
– Combined permanent and temporary recruitment functionally
– Temporary worker timesheet processing
– Temporary and permanent invoicing

So Which Recruitment Software is Right for You?

An ATS is an ideal investment if you are an in-house recruitment function or if you already have a CRM and back office software and not requiring a full integration between all your software solutions. ATS software is generally less expensive than a Recruitment CRM, but so is the functionality to deliver both temporary and/or permanent recruitment services.

A Recruitment CRM is a larger investment, but you get a lot more functionality for your investment. Your staff only have to work within one solution and if you invest in a fully integrated recruitment CRM, you will have comprehensive functionality that facilitates the entire recruitment-to-invoice process for temporary and permanent recruitment. So depending on your budget, what functionality your business requires, and if your business objective is to drive productivity by having all your data and functionality within one solution, the investment will certainly pay off.

To assist you with deciding on the right recruitment software for your business, we suggest you take some time and answer the following questions:

– Why are you looking for new software?
– What does your current software not provide?
– What is essential and non-essential functionality for your new software?
– Do you need your software to support future growth plans?
– What is your budget (upfront and recurring)?

Discover how the right recruitment software is only one of the 7 Secrets of Successful Recruitment Agencies. Download your free eBook below.

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Cloud vs Desktop in Recruitment Software

Even outside of the realm of recruitment software, there are a number of misconceptions about what it means to be ‘in the cloud’ and the advantages that may come with such a lofty position.

“In the Cloud” “Cloud Software” “Cloud Solutions” “The Cloud might be the single most misunderstood technical-term-cum-marketing-buzzword of this decade. Before we can have any kind of sensible comparison between Cloud and Desktop based recruitment systems, we need to clarify what being “in the cloud” actually means… and what it doesn’t.

#1 Cloud as a Platform

There is a common misconception that “Cloud-based” software refers to browser-based software, and the Cloud vs Desktop debate often transforms into a debate over the relative merits of desktop applications versus increasingly popular in-browser apps.  This is an interesting debate in its own right, however, at its heart is the misconception that –

Browser based software = cloud
Desktop based software = not on the cloud

THIS IS FALSE

Both browser based and native desktop recruitment applications are equally capable of interacting with a cloud-based infrastructure in much the same way that you could argue that both are equally capable of being hosted on your own on premise IT infrastructure.  There’s absolutely no reason you have to sacrifice the benefits of desktop recruitment software in order to take advantage of ‘the cloud’.  The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

In fact, using a desktop application has many advantages over browser based recruitment software – desktop applications are often faster, more powerful and more stable than in-browser apps, which have to render your management interface through a different application like Chrome or Internet Explorer.  For similar reasons, desktop applications tend to be more secure, which is a key consideration if you’re routinely processing the sensitive sort of personal data related to the recruitment process.

That’s not to say that there is no advantage to browser-based recruitment apps.  In general, you can expect a browser based solution to ‘just work’ (don’t quote us on that) without having to install and configure the application on each workstation.  This means that browser based recruitment software has the potential to save the IT department a lot of installation headaches, it often makes licensing a bit easier to manage, and gives you a bit more flexibility to work from anywhere without too much messing around.

It’s also worth mentioning that – while there’s no technical reason for this to be the case – browser based recruitment software is often a lot more modern-looking and attractive than a typical desktop solution – probably because the UI can be built up in a similar fashion to a webpage.  The modern looking appearance can be seductive, luring many companies to choose inferior browser-based apps over more suitable desktop recruitment software solutions.

#2 Cloud as a Licensing Model

Another popular tangent that creeps into the Cloud vs Desktop debate is:

Cloud = Subscription
Desktop = One off cost

FALSE AGAIN

Again, this is a crucial misconception – more than that, this is a false dichotomy that assumes that Cloud and Desktop sit in opposition to each other, which we have just established is not the case.  In general, you can expect to see software which is hosted “in the cloud” to use a SAAS subscription model, but this is equally applicable to both desktop and so-called “web-based” software.  Many recruitment manager packages and CRM solutions deploy a desktop application provided on a rental basis.  This licensing model is not exclusive to browser-based packages.

#3 Cloud as Hosting Location

The premise here is:

Cloud = The IT infrastructure, database and backups are hosted by an external provider in a remote datacentre (in the cloud)

In-house = Your IT department installs, administrates and maintains the hardware to host your databases, manage your backups, compliance and security.

TRUE

What characterises a recruitment management solution as being “cloud based” is the use of remote datacentres, as opposed to purchasing, installing, maintaining your own breezy roomful of whirring servers.

So, with that in mind, let’s explore the pros and cons of these two different approaches.

 

internal-hosting-recruitment

Cloud Hosted Recruitment Management Software

Pros

Cloud recruitment software is initially cheaper than hosting in-house. Rather than paying a lump sum up front (and ongoing salary for the IT staff), you’re typically paying monthly costs, which is a great solution for those with a smaller budget or waiting for the new financial year.

If you’re expecting your company to grow and you’re looking for flexibility, a cloud solution allows you to scale with relative ease.

If time is of the essence for your company, cloud software can be helpful. Installation is quick and IT services are managed externally, meaning you can get on with your work without anyone interrupting to update or maintain the software – great for companies with few employees who lack the knowledge or struggle to find time to do this.

A cloud solution also means that you’ve outsourced having to worry about local storage data, backup and recovery services, and data protection regulation and compliance is someone else’s problem.

Cons

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows behind the cloud, though. If you opt for a cloud-based solution, extra subscriptions for when your business grows will induce extra costs.   You can often find yourself locked in to lengthy contracts where you end up ultimately paying many multiples of the equivalent one-time fee.  If your provider decides to up their fees on a whim – they can.  You’ll always be dependent on the cloud provider.

Cloud software may also have its disadvantages if your company deals with incredibly sensitive data. It may be more secure to store your data on a less, ‘publicly accessible’ network. There are also some legal nuances here if you are storing data concerning EU nationals on servers outside of the EU, so check with your legal advisors before taking the plunge.

Remember, if you’re also paying for your desktop or browser-based application in a SAAS-type model, cloud hosting is often a separate consideration and a separate bill.

Recruitment Software Hosted On Premise

Pros

In theory this usually a onetime investment (IT staff, on-going hardware maintenance, hardware upgrades, software licensing and data protection compliance notwithstanding).

You also have full control; over the restrictions, monitoring, integration, managing your data, customising the development – the full works! The ball is entirely in your court here.  If something goes wrong with your network connection, you aren’t stuck behind support tickets trying to get an answer, you can speak to the relevant IT staff  and find out what’s going on.

If you’re in a company that handles incredibly sensitive data, then self-hosting might be ideal for you as security is potentially greater than cloud. There’s less of a danger and less worry of breaching data protection laws.  That said, the onus for security and data protection is on you.

In the event that your in house hardware is in the same location as your recruitment team, you’re able to access the system without an internet connection. If you’re hard at work and the internet temporarily stops, you’re still able to continue working.

Cons

Although a onetime investment is convenient in some respects, its upfront cost is often more than a cloud software subscription as aspects like hardware, installation etc. may also be considered.

Additionally, you’ll need IT staff or outsourced IT suppliers that are skilled and knowledgeable enough that they can maintain and manage your in house infrastructure.

What’s the verdict?

Ultimately, the choice is entirely yours. It really depends on what your business priorities are, what your short and long term requirements are, and how a cloud or desktop solution will support your business growth.

Download our free eBook below and discover the 7 secrets of successful recruitment agencies.

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