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How to Keep Your Earned Data Clean

After our recent Staffing World trip, we repeatedly talked about the same thing: earned data.

This isn’t a problem because we love talking about earned data. But we learned that not everyone is as invested in it as we are. Before we dive in, let’s cover some common questions.

What is earned data?
Earned data is data already in your Applicant Tracking System (ATS), Candidate Relationship Manager (CRM), team spreadsheet, etc. It is the talent data that you’ve spent years and budget building up so that your staffing team can connect candidates to jobs quickly. 

Why does it matter?
Using what you already have well means a higher investment return, lower sourcing spending, and a more engaged candidate pool. If you’re not using your earned data, you’re wasting years of effort that you and your team have invested.

Why isn’t earned data being used?
Because it’s messy. When you’ve spent years building up a database, and it hasn’t been a priority to keep it clean, the chances are high that it’s filled with duplicate, outdated, and inaccurate talent data.

That’s why we love talking about earned data and keeping it clean.

The Current State of Earned Data

While at Staffing World, we asked nearly everyone we saw whether their team turned to the ATS first. Only about 1 out of every four executives we talked to said yes.

This obviously isn’t a formal poll, but the information is intriguing regardless.

While the ATS is a goldmine, high barriers to entry, like training needs, confusing or ineffective search, insufficient features, and more, make it less than a joy to use. Many recruiters simply find it easier to keep track of their candidates in their heads or their own tracking method.

4 Ways to Keep Your Earned Data Clean

One of the easiest ways of getting your ATS back into your team’s work process is to clean up that data (and keep it clean).

Audit Your Existing Data

HiringSolved’s internal data shows 40-60% of all who will apply already exist in your ATS before a job is posted. Still, when we dove deeper with the execs whose teams avoid their ATS, we learned that most apprehensions came from simply not knowing what sort of data was in there!

When cleaning your data, you must start auditing your data. How many candidate records do you have? Is your database made up of records that are a part of the verticals you work for?

That’s why we start with a Data Quality assessment with all our users to know what you’re facing before we begin cleaning.

Purge or Optimize Anything Unusable, Duplicate, or Inaccurate

So much data in the database is outdated, duplicated, inaccurate, and all-around unusable. In fact, we’ve found that over half of candidate records are missing a resume and 5% of records contain no contact information at all.

It seems like no big deal because most teams rely on the institutional knowledge of their senior recruiters to know the candidates in their system, but what about the new recruiters coming on to the team? How are they set up for success in the ATS?

Purging that “dirty” and unusable data is critical to making your ATS usable. Remember: just because a candidate’s record may be inaccurate doesn’t mean it’s worth simply deleting.

For example, we worked with a customer who saw that many of their candidate records were incomplete after we did the Data Quality Assessment. They planned to delete those records, but we suggested they set up an email campaign requesting the candidates’ missing information to fill out those records without losing otherwise valuable data. In weeks, they optimized their data and removed candidates who were no longer interested.

Solidify Your Data Entry Process

How are new candidates making their way into your databases? Chances are you get incoming data from applicants, cold outreach, automated nurture campaigns, grabbing a business card at a networking event, and more.

When you’ve cleaned up your data, you need to work with everyone who uses your ATS to outline a unified data entry process.

What data should be required to get a candidate into your ATS? Should they be added if you just have a name and job title? Or should it be required to have two methods of contact, like phone number and email address, before their considered ready to be added? Knowing the bare minimum about what needs to be added will help ensure that your data doesn’t get messy again.

Remember: Update your application process to reflect your new data needs. Require that info on your online applications wherever needed to make sure no candidate record is missing them. 

When you’ve outlined your entry process, define your clean-up process. How often are you going to check in and clean up your data? (Hint: It should be at least once a year, but more often never hurts.)

Incentivize Data Integrity and Upkeep

How are you monitoring how the ATS is being used? Can you incentivize using it as your first stop? Mee Derby shared how they awarded a bonus to those who made placements using HiringSolved to get everyone on board with the new tech. You can apply the same theory to your ATS data!

We’d also recommend having someone in charge of ensuring the cleanliness of your ATS. An operations person would be helpful here!

Get Back to Basics

In all reality, these tips aren’t ground-breaking. But after our time at Staffing World, we saw that in a world where we’re constantly trying to keep up with changes, sometimes going back to basics is the way to go.

How can you and your team invest in the tools and resources you already have to make better hires?