When it comes to recruiting new talent, speed is usually at the top of the list for employers and recruiters alike. Finding candidates quickly may be important, but it can also be a challenge when you’re working from a database with “dirty” data. This is why a little data hygiene can go a long way.
Dirty data—records with duplicate, outdated, incomplete, inaccurate, or noncompliant data—can sabotage even the most well-planned recruitment strategy, and render top applicant tracking systems (ATS) and database technology virtually useless.
Even if you’re an employer and not in the recruitment business, accurate, well-organized candidate information is important to your hiring efforts. Here are five data management practices that will help you improve hiring efficiency and make the most of your recruitment technology investments:
- Limit applicant data to top priorities
- Engage with candidates to collect needed data
- Have a dedicated point person to manage data
- Simplify your data collection efforts
- Create, and stick with, a comprehensive plan
1. Prioritize Data Fields
Companies still largely rely on manual data entry (including cutting and pasting from one application into another) to populate candidate information into their tracking systems. But this can leave your contact and company data fraught with errors and inconsistencies.
When an employee is in a rush to upload the candidate information so that they can fire off an email or add notes from an initial conversation, for instance, it’s not uncommon to have inaccurate information keyed in to save a few seconds. Just one errant digit in a phone number or email address can result in missed connections and mistaken perceptions about a candidate’s interest.
One data hygiene practice to combat rushed data entry is to prioritize data fields, requiring only the must-have applicant information. The fewer the required or “forced” fields, the less likely it is that employees will populate the database with incomplete or inaccurate candidate information. Fewer required fields will also make your planned database clean-up process more efficient and useful.
2. Get Candidates to Help
Once candidates have an idea of whether they may be a good fit for the company and the job, they’re more likely to provide accurate contact information. Imbed clean data practices into this portion of the recruitment process by requiring contact and availability information.
Engage candidates at the start by asking for email addresses and phone numbers early in the recruiting process. If a job applicant isn’t fully invested, they might not input their real information, but you’ll know that early on and can delete the bad data or remove them from your records.
Also, if you’ve crafted a job description that effectively promotes your employer brand, providing candidates with a strong employer value proposition, they’re more likely to provide accurate contact and availability information so they’re notified about future opportunities.
3. Assign Someone to Manage Your Recruitment Data Management Efforts
Although most companies have now adopted some version of a data hygiene strategy, database audits and clean-ups are both largely manual processes. One way to remain committed to this important component of your recruitment process is to assign an employee to the task. Or, if you don’t want to burden a single employee with database clean-up duties, create a monthly or quarterly rotation for the task.
Offering incentives or including data clean-up as part of a line item in an employee’s evaluation will encourage that person to take ownership over the process and ensure that the tracking systems are well maintained.
4. Streamline Your Data Collection Points
How many ways can candidates enter information into your recruitment system? Do candidates fill out web forms? Do recruiters enter information into a database? What happens with in-person applications or paper applications mailed to the office?
To the extent possible, make sure your data gathering systems work together, ask the same questions, and use the same fields for answers. Be sure to input data from paper applications into your database. It’s also helpful to use systems that work well together.
5. Create a Data Hygiene Plan—and Stick to It
Keeping recruitment data clean probably doesn’t stand out as a top organizational priority. However, committing to the tasks on a straight-forward plan can save countless hours and help avoid unnecessary frustration when it’s time to find new hires. Having a written plan also helps maintain continuity when your company experiences turnover.
The plan can be as simple as sending a monthly email to contacts in your ATS or other contact database with all the current job openings. From there, run a report of all bounced emails and unsubscribes, making sure that the appropriate person receives the results so that they can update those records.
Keep Up with the Latest Recruiting Tips and Best Practices
Prioritizing data hygiene is one of the best ways to simplify and speed-up the hiring process. Get more strategies and actionable tips for making your recruitment efforts faster and less stressful delivered right to your inbox!