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Keep your data clean: How to ensure data integrity

Jeremy Data, Tips & Tricks

It's clear that having high-quality, robust data is a huge competitive differentiator in the staffing industry, and that bad data holds you back. Now, how do you go about achieving and maintaining clean and thorough data?

Data gets dirty over time
First, it's important to note that cleaning data is not a "one and done" proposition. Despite your best intentions, data will degrade over time as contacts change addresses, gain new jobs, or make other routine life changes. According to Dun and Bradstreet, more than 500,000 businesses change their addresses each year, and 41,000 businesses shut their doors permanently during the same timeframe. All these changes add up to mean CRM data degrades at a rate of about 2 percent every month. Data will go stale over time, and there's nothing you can do about it except keep up with the changes.

Establish a routine
Because data does degrade over time, staffing agencies need to establish regular procedures to clean up their CRMs to avoid the messy issues that can stem from poor data quality. Companies should make it routine to check records, merge duplicates and fix errors. While this sounds simple enough, Experian found 63 percent of companies don't have a centralized approach to maintaining data quality. In addition, just 35 percent of companies indicate a single director is responsible for carrying out the data quality management program. The more sophisticated your approach to maintaining data quality, the better the results will be. Establishing one person who is responsible also ensures these programs will be properly carried out.

Centralized data image Centralized data is crucial for success.

Work on user-entry
Many data problems occur at the point of entry. Therefore, recruiters will play a huge role in maintaining high-quality data. There are a few things staffing agencies can do to ensure recruiters enter information consistently. One method is to use auto-populating fields or drop down menus to reduce the probability of duplicate entries. These strategies can ensure recruiters all use the same terminology for job titles, addresses and other data points. You can also establish a style guide for recruiters to refer to when entering information into staffing software.

Utilize hygiene and append services
One way to effectively manage data quality is to partner with a hygiene and append service to help you clean up your data. There are many third-party companies that can verify the information in your database to make sure it's correct and up to date. Many of these services also perform appends, which means they can actually enhance your existing data to help you perform even better. For instance, if you have email addresses for many contacts but lack mailing addresses, third parties can access a database that will fill in missing pieces, giving you more opportunities to reach candidates and other stakeholders. Jobscience partners with a number of companies that can integrate with staffing software to regularly clean and append files.

"High-quality data isn't just clean, it's robust."

Use the right software
Having the right tools at your disposal plays a significant role in the quality of your data. A centralized software system will have more accurate data than a system of spreadsheets that are siloed on individual desktops. In addition, staff members are far more likely to adopt to your centralized staffing software if it has a user-friendly design. When a platform is needlessly complex, employees may revert back to their old methods of doing things. They may also unwittingly withhold key data from the rest of the firm by using a notebook or spreadsheet rather than the staffing software.

Having high-quality software isn't just about keeping your database clean, it also has to do with how robust your data is. The more informed you are about candidates, the easier it will be to keep in touch with them and place them effectively. The easier it is for recruiters to update candidate profiles, the more thorough your information will be.

Other tools to consider
Jobscience also partners with organizations that integrate staffing software and email to reduce the number of times recruiters have to click between windows and ensure no communication goes undocumented in the system. Email messages often include crucial candidate details. It's important not to leave out this information.

Another crucial element of Jobscience's platform is its mobile app. To find the best talent, recruiters often have to hit the road, visiting college campuses, job fairs and other environments. The app allows recruiters to get all the candidate details they need even without access to a desktop computer.

Maintaining a clean and robust database is certainly no easy task, but it pays off in the long run, providing critical business intelligence and greater access to stakeholders. To make sure data doesn't deteriorate, staffing agencies need to invest in the right software and processes to keep CRM files pristine and up to date.