How to Achieve High Quality Data for your Staffing and Recruiting Firm

You can’t have a quality operation without quality data

The more confidence you have in the data that guides your business decisions, the faster you can make good business decisions. Most managers appreciate performance data … but few have confidence in the numbers.

If you have data quality issues, achieving data-driven management can seem unattainable. In the staffing industry, we want to track key activities throughout the sales and recruiting processes so we can understand how activities drive gross margin. We want to focus and motivate individual producers by setting activity and performance goals that deliver results.

High quality, real-time data is the ante, but many firms are drowning in poor data and stuck in a “garbage in, garbage out” rut. Recruiters need software that doesn’t let them enter bad data, makes them more efficient, and informs their activity and performance goals in real time.

You can ensure high-quality data to enable data-driven management. Here’s how:

1.     Create a culture that values data quality

Establishing and enforcing an “if it didn’t happen in the system, it didn’t happen” policy can
be extremely effective in the commission-driven staffing environment. With this approach, recruiters must enter their activities into the system to count toward performance requirements.

The catch is, recruiters may not enter their activities at the time they occur—which results in high-quality activity data, but poor-quality timing data. Creating a culture that values both data quality and data timeliness is a must.

2.     Establish clear record ownership

Clear record ownership places the responsibility for data quality on a specific individual or group. By having visibility and a vested interest in their book of business, recruiters and sales staff are more active and engaged data stewards.

3.     Automatically renew and expire ownership

Require recruiters to enter activities in the system to gain and retain ownership of prized candidates, companies, contacts, and positions. Your staffing system should help by reminding recruiters when ownership is about to expire—and expiring ownership when rules of engagement haven’t been met. Data quality is improved with a direct link between data entry activity and the recruiter’s book of business.

4.     Automate workflow to update data

Staffing software that automatically changes key data elements like candidate status based on user activities has a huge impact on data quality. For example, the system can be set to change a candidate status to “screened” once a screening note has been entered. An automated approach improves not only recruiter efficiency, but also data quality.

5.     Progressively add required fields

If a recruiter only wants to create a position in the system—but the system forces them to input data to pay candidates and bill clients—the recruiter likely will wait to create that position in the system until after they’ve filled it. Your system should minimize mandatory fields needed to create new records by progressively adding them as each record advances toward the pay/bill process.

Establish hard stops when moving through the workflow to ensure all data is accurately collected before placing a candidate.

6.     Use trusted third-party data sources

Trusted third-party data sources can be used for a one-time data cleanup or integrated with the recruiting solution to keep data up to date in the long term. For example, address validation software can be used to validate data on the way in and in mass for one-time cleanups.

7.     Streamline candidate data entry and updates

Automation products can actively reach out to candidates to validate their own data. Parsing in the candidate resume, requesting or requiring that an online application be completed, and allowing candidates to update data via self-service web portals effectively outsource data entry to the candidate.

Even more important than initially creating a candidate record is keeping candidate data current. Up-to-date contact and availability information is the most valuable temp staffing data. Leveraging bulk texting, bulk voicemail, and bulk email functionality eases the challenge of accessing accurate contact and availability data. Staffing software that automatically adds skills and work history as candidates gain experience is also a plus.

8.    Aggressively de-duplicate records

One of the biggest data quality issues is duplicate records. When creating records, leading recruiting solutions detect duplicates and present potential matches, making it easy to avoid cluttering the database.

9.    Manage merging of duplicate records

When duplicate records are created, your system should allow authorized users to easily merge them. Merging power should be controlled, but simple—so a call to IT isn’t required.

The system also should be able to preserve fields from secondary records in your primary record. Transactional data like notes and job submissions should transfer from secondary to primary records. Custom development can place potential duplicates in front of the recruiter.

10. Conduct routine data maintenance

Manual or semi-automated data clean-up initiatives have value, but leveraging automation to drive a quality data-in/data-out culture is more effective and efficient.

A data health check can be used to identify and correct issues like:

  • Candidates with missing contact information
  • Duplicated data
  • Mismatched statuses
  • Overused phone or email addresses (Recruiters often will input their own information—or default values—to work around required fields)
  • Old open job orders
  • Invalid email addresses or phone numbers

If you need assistance with a data health check—or any other data quality improvement initiative—we’re ready to lend a hand!

Josh Granville is a Partner and the Senior Vice President of Technology for Newbury Partners Software and Data Engineers. Josh holds a Master’s degree in Applied Data Science from Syracuse University. His team helps staffing companies of all sizes streamline their experience through data mergers and imports, database health checks, customizations, and development to meet the unique needs of each client.

Email Newbury Partners ( to learn more about how Josh’s team can help clean up your data and help your organization with your custom development needs.

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