Take a moment to think about your candidate database. Your pulse might not be racing, but maybe it should be. Your database is at the heart of your most important asset, your candidates. It impacts your fill rate, your time-to-fill, your client satisfaction, and ultimately your firm’s profitability.
The benefits of a deep database of quality candidates range from the immediately apparent to the deceptively subtle. For starters, candidates from an existing database are a recruiting firm’s top source of placements. If your database is stocked with accurate information about high-quality candidates, you’ll be well-positioned to make more placements more efficiently in less time.
But the ripple effect of a well-maintained database goes far beyond making placements. It enables your recruiters to better communicate with candidates, spend less time on tasks that don’t add value, and more time on relationships. As a result, you’ll have happier candidates, more satisfied clients, and more successful and effective recruiters.
Use these tips to turn your database into a lean, mean, candidate placement machine. You’ll learn how to create a sustainable process to manage your database, tips to maintain and grow your database, and useful methods to make the most out of your treasure trove of candidate data.
How large is your database? Whether it consists of a single candidate or a million, it's never too late to revisit your framework.
Before you do anything else, make sure your database is built on a solid foundation.
Technically, your candidate database could be stored anywhere—from a piece of paper to a Gmail contact list to a spreadsheet. But if you want to scale your business, you need a long-term solution. Spreadsheets are vulnerable to error and require an enormous amount of manual data entry. They’re also incompatible with your other tools.
There’s simply no way around it—if you want a database that will grow with your business, you need to use an applicant tracking system.
Making the move from a spreadsheet to an ATS? Use your ATS’ bulk upload or bulk import feature to transfer thousands of candidates into your new database.
Don’t forget: Exercise caution when you use this feature. One error in how you set up your spreadsheets could cause you headaches later on.
Invest the time to train new team members on your ATS and how to manage your candidate database. Carefully monitor their early progress. Set aside the time now and you’ll save countless hours of damage control down the road.
How to Take Action: Ask your ATS provider if they offer training for new team members. Supplement this with your own internal training to give your recruiters the complete picture of why managing your database is so important and how they can help.
Develop a process on how to screen candidate resumes and bucket them in your system. This applies to candidates who apply to your posted jobs and to those you pull into your ATS through third-party tools (e.g., aggregators and job boards).
Make time to save time: Create a filter for pre-screened candidates. Use this when you need to find quality candidates quickly.
If you want your recruiters to make the most out of your candidate database, make it mobile. If your recruiters can access your database on-the-go, they can update information immediately—not just when they’re at their desk.
Don’t forget: Make sure your database has security precautions before going mobile. Personal devices are vulnerable to attack and could compromise your data.
Do your recruiters enter their data manually? Do they always remember to enter every detail? Data entry eats up time and often paints an incomplete picture. Automate as much candidate information as possible for a faster and more accurate database.
How to take action: Use an ATS with a parsing engine to extract information—no matter where you find it—to pre-populate fields in candidate, contact, and job records.
Growing your database with an incoming supply of qualified candidates is critical to your firm’s growth. But database growth without an emphasis on quality can spell disaster for your recruiting process, and slow down your ability to make placements. Use these tips to grow your database without forfeiting its effectiveness.
To grow your candidate database quickly, you may want to integrate it with third parties like job boards or social networks. While this is a sound practice, don’t add a massive amount of candidates too quickly or from one source.
Make time to save time: Screen every candidate you add to your database. A big pool of candidates won’t help you if it isn’t composed of active, engaged candidates.
Research any third party before you use their services to grow your customer database. Seek out customer-review platforms to avoid costly mistakes that could take months or years to clean up
Don’t forget: Check your ATS’ official partners to see who can help you with your sourcing needs. These partners are more likely to be trustworthy and optimized for your database.
EXPERT TIP FROM CAREER BUILDER
Integrate your ATS with the job boards your firm uses. It streamlines the entire application process for the job seeker and automates manual tasks for your recruiters.
Did you know? Clients who integrate their job boards with their ATS see an 85 percent reduction in candidates who drop off after the application process.
Use a LinkedIn integration to streamline your recruiter's workflow, reduce clicks, and provide a continuously up-to-date view of your candidates’ information. An ATS with this function should allow you to view a candidate's up-to-date LinkedIn profile directly from your applicant tracking system. Beware of systems that scrape LinkedIn, which results in outdated or inaccurate data. Make sure the system is listed as an official ATS partner on LinkedIn’s website.
Make time to save time: LinkedIn integrations make it easy to avoid adding duplicate candidates into your system. If your recruiter finds a potential candidate on LinkedIn, they can instantly see if he or she’s already in your ATS.
Managing your database is an ongoing process you can bolster with the right technology and some recruiter foresight. The more you do in advance, the less maintenance you’ll need to do later. Use these tips to keep your database going strong.
Investigate third-party tools that will help you structure incoming data. These tools can help you parse resumes into customized taxonomies (e.g., skills, industries, professions, qualifications, languages). It’ll make searching easier and more efficient.
Resolvit has provided world-class staffing and consulting services for IT leadership for over a decade. Their success made them an industry leader. It also meant they were saddled with a vast network of contacts to manage.
They recognized a need for a tool that would improve their database organization and sourcing capabilities. They invested in a sourcing tool that integrated with their ATS. This enabled them to remove duplicate entries and clean up their database with unprecedented speed, saving valuable recruiter time in the process.
The result: Resolvit’s 12 recruiters and 3 sourcers each gained an hour of their day back. As a result, their recruiting team gained 75 hours a week they are now able to devote to important tasks and a streamlined, efficient database to use for placements.
EXPERT TIP FROM DISCOVERORG
Database maintenance is its own reward, but your recruiters may not always see it that way. Give them extra motivation to keep your database accurate. Build it into your performance reviews or provide incentives for clean database management.
How to take action: Make your recruiters’ performance metrics publicly available to everyone on your team. Friendly competition will motivate your recruiters to keep your data accurate.
Add skills to your candidates’ records instead of relying solely on keywords. For many jobs, specific skills (e.g., Java, C++, Ruby) are core requirements, so make it easier for you and your team to find these candidates down the road.
Make time to save time: If skills are in your database, it’ll reduce your dependency on complex or boolean searches. You’ll also avoid those rare candidates who know how to game the system by stuffing keywords into their resume (sometimes invisibly).
Have you ever found the perfect candidate for a placement only to realize you're missing crucial information in their profile? Implement procedures to ensure candidates aren’t added into your database without the appropriate information on file.
Did you know? Forty-five percent of firms access their recruiting data only when there’s an urgent need for talent.3 Audit and update your data regularly so you don’t waste time when you need it most.
You may have great candidates whose records lack critical information, like an email address. Perform database searches to find any candidate records without crucial information. Assign recruiters or interns to reach out to these candidates to fill in the holes.
How to take action: Run a search in your ATS that excludes all candidates with an @ sign in their email address. This will help you identify candidates in your database without a valid email address.
Job Board Data Capture
Save Time and Reduce Errors
Find the Right Candidates
Do you have a process for managing duplicates? If your recruiters let those duplicates flow freely into your system, it could get messy in a hurry. When you find a duplicate, merge or purge the outdated data
Don’t forget: Ask your ATS provider how they deal with duplicates. Most applicant tracking systems have the functionality built-in to alert you about any possible duplicates by matching emails or first and last names.
Database maintenance isn't a glamorous duty, but it’s an important one. If you have an intern or an otherwise available employee, have them perform the critical tasks in this section. This will allow you to make full use of the candidates at your disposal.
Don’t forget: Use an ATS with strong data backup just in case someone accidentally deletes valuable or important information.
Do you have permanently inactive candidates in your database? Don't delete them because you’ll lose all the notes and history attached to the candidate. Instead, file the candidate away using your ATS’ archive function. This prevents the candidate from clogging up your searches without permanently erasing potentially valuable information.
Don’t forget: Hide archived candidates from your search results to make sure you only encounter qualified, active candidates.
You might have a terrific database stocked with qualified candidates, but are you maximizing the number of placements you get out of it? Terrific candidates are often hidden or obscured. They might have been miscategorized or slipped through the cracks. Use these tips to find great candidates right in front of you!
Do your recruiters know what they need to do to succeed? Establish criteria for how you expect your recruiters to vet new records entering the database. Set volume or percentage goals for candidate screening, categorizing, and cleansing.
How to take action: Report out on the percentage or volume of candidates who’ve been properly screened/categorized/tagged and draw comparisons across your team. Set a baseline and continually increase your expectations.
Do you have candidates in your database marked as active but who haven't had a submission or note for years? They’re not serving much use in your database in their current state. Double-check that these candidates aren’t actually placed or otherwise unavailable (e.g., retired). Reach out to these candidates if you find a great opportunity for them in the future.
How to take action: Use your ATS’ search feature to organize candidates who haven't had an activity since a set date (e.g., January 2018).
Are you making full use of all of the candidates in your database? You likely have candidates ready for work who are listed as in a placement. To find candidates ripe for redeployment, run a search for profiles marked as placed with an expired contract. Reach out to these desirable candidates in waiting.
Don’t forget: Always engage with candidates in your database. Set regular times to follow up with them so they think of you when they’re ready for their next career move.
Run a search in your ATS for candidates who’ve applied for a job that’s already been filled by a different candidate. This allows you to prevent candidates waiting in vain and helps you find a better job match for them right now. Your candidates will appreciate your communication and commitment, and you’ll be able to be more efficient with your quality candidates.
Did you know? Poor communication is the number one complaint from candidates about the application process.4 Set expectations from the beginning and be transparent to avoid hard feelings down the road.
Has your database gotten out of hand? If your candidate database is unruly or infested with bad data, how can you salvage it? Check out these tips to get your database back into fighting shape.
If you already bought a large list of candidates scraped from the web, invest the time to verify the information you received. This can be a big project—taking weeks or months—but if you never clean up this data, it can slow down your recruiters for years.
Make time to save time: Before you scrape candidates from the web, look for real customer referrals. Learn from the mistakes of others to avoid a similar fate.
Are you overloaded with unresponsive candidates or inaccurate data? Find and remove data that may be clogging up your database without adding any value to your recruiters. Run searches on candidates who’ve been inactive for years or candidate records with critical fields left blank. Amend or archive these records.
Don’t Forget: Whenever possible, archive records—don’t delete them. You never know when the information might be useful.
If your database has gotten away from you, think about hiring outside help. Depending on the condition and size of your database, you may need an intern, an outsourced freelancer, or the services of a business specializing in database cleanup.
Don’t forget: Think of this as an ongoing effort, not a one-time project. Use the techniques from your database cleanup project to implement better policies going forward. If you retain your old habits, your new changes won’t last long.
A top-notch candidate database isn’t built in a day and it doesn’t have to be. Steady, consistent progress will provide you with incredible
dividends. Which steps should you take first to make meaningful improvements to your database?
Is your database free of inactive candidates and inaccurate information?
Do you have the technology in place to maintain and grow your database?
Do you have a procedure in place to keep your database up-to-date?
Are your recruiters incentivized to keep your database accurate and equipped to leverage it to its full extent?
If you’re not yet able to satisfy all of these requirements, continue to use these tips as needed until your database runs like the fine-tuned machine your firm needs it to be. It’s not always a quick process, but it’s an incredibly worthwhile onefor the success of your firm.
SVP of Product and Salesforce
Jonathan Novich is SVP of Product and Salesforce for Bullhorn, the global leader in CRM and operations software for the recruitment industry. A staffing technology innovator, he has developed broad and deep product and technical experience consulting to staffing firms over the past 15 years. Jonathan has acted as an independent consultant for some of the largest staffing companies in the world and advised companies on acquisition targets.
At Bullhorn, he oversees product initiatives as more than 10,000 staffing companies rely on Bullhorn’s cloud-based platform to drive sales, build relationships, and power their recruitment processes from end to end. He graduated with honors from Princeton University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science and a certificate in Operations Research.
SVP, Workforce & Revenue Cloud
As Bullhorn’s SVP of Workforce & Revenue Cloud, Ed drives the company’s middle office strategy and overall product offering. Ed joined Bullhorn as part of the Peoplenet acquisition where he spent 7 years as the President/CEO leading up to the acquisition in late 2017. Prior to joining the Bullhorn family, Ed has spent his career designing, building and managing technology solutions for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He has been a Partner in an ERP-focused consulting firm, a CIO for a global pharmaceutical company, a supply-chain leader for a retail company and the leader of a services company from its inception to $50MM in revenue. Ed was born in Florida but has spent the last 20+ years in Atlanta, GA. Ed loves to play golf, tennis and basketball and occasionally gets out kite boarding when the wind is just right.
Ed holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.
Brian Sylvester is Bullhorn’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with more than 15 years of financial leadership experience. Brian leads Bullhorn’s financial, accounting, and legal functions. Prior to becoming CFO, Brian spent three years at Bullhorn in various finance & accounting roles. Prior to Bullhorn, Brian was Corporate Controller at Pegasystems, a global provider of business process management software where he scaled the finance organization during a period of 2.5x revenue growth. Brian began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in their technology audit practice.
Brian is a CPA in Massachusetts, has a Master’s of Science in Accounting from Boston College and a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from Bryant University.
SVP, Customer Success
As the Senior Vice President of Customer Success, Tamsyn leads Bullhorn’s Services and Customer Success teams. She is responsible for the successful delivery of all products and services globally and is committed to creating and maintaining incredible long-term customer experiences in the Candidate to Cash process. Tamsyn has been delivering implementations for over 25 years with companies such as SAP, Ariba, Zuora and Apttus: specializing in HR, Payroll, Procurement and Quote To Cash capability. She trained as a software engineer after studying Maths, Statistics, and Computing in England.
Founder & CEO
Art Papas is the Founder and CEO of Bullhorn, Inc, the global leader in software for the staffing & recruitment industry. Art was the original architect of Bullhorn’s flagship Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, which now helps more than 8,000 companies around the world run their businesses. Art is the Chairman of the Board at Career Collaborative, an organization that teaches unemployed and underemployed adults how to build careers that change lives and strengthen families. In 2014, Ernst & Young named Art an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner in New England. Prior to starting Bullhorn, Art started his career as a software engineer at Thomson Reuters. Art is a graduate of Tufts University, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.
President and Chief Technology Officer
As President and CTO, Matt leads Bullhorn’s architectural, technical, and software design and development efforts. He also directs the product management team’s work defining product strategy, and global customer support and success. Since joining Bullhorn in 2004, Matt has held a variety of leadership positions managing the growth of various technical and services teams, including Vice President of Professional Services. Prior to Bullhorn, Matt worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, specializing in systems process assurance for such companies as Fidelity and State Street Global Advisors. Matt holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Boston University’s School of Management.
Chief Revenue Officer
As Bullhorn’s Chief Revenue Officer, Mike drives the company’s global revenue growth. Mike was one of the first 15 team members of Bullhorn Inc. in Boston and relocated to London in 2010 to start up the International team. In his 6 years in London, Mike drove regional expansion into the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, and Australia. He has supplied cloud-based solutions to recruitment consultancies in over 50 different countries worldwide for the past 10 years. Mike was born and raised in the Boston-area where he grew up an avid sport fan. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Babson College.
Chief People Officer
Kristin oversees Bullhorn’s human resources function in her role as Chief People Officer. Kristin joined Bullhorn in 2020 and is responsible for helping Bullhorn scale to the next level, build leadership capacity, and accelerate growth in global markets. Kristin brings to the role over 20 years of experience leading high-potential companies through breakthrough growth and brings a depth of knowledge in organizational design, scalable processes, and flexible systems culled from some of the most successful global companies in the world. Leary joins Bullhorn from Hitachi Vantara, where she served as Chief Human Resources Officer, and before that she worked as Chief Human Resources Officer at Forcepoint, a private equity-backed company with 3,000 employees operating in more than 45 countries. She has also worked at high-growth enterprise technology companies like Alphatec Spine, Boston Scientific, and Hewlett-Packard.
Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and International
Peter oversees Bullhorn’s international operations across EMEA and APAC in his role as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and International. Peter joined Bullhorn in 2009 and was responsible for its highly successful UK launch. In addition to growing the international team to over 50 staff and establishing Bullhorn as the UK’s market leading recruitment software in fewer than three years, Peter has expanded Bullhorn’s reach into EMEA and APAC and achieved a user base of more than 10,000 international users. Prior to taking on the launch of Bullhorn in the UK, Peter spent 20 years working in the recruitment industry and held a number of senior director roles before moving into the technology space.
Executive Vice President of Enterprise and Salesforce
Ryan Murphy is the Executive Vice President of Enterprise and Salesforce. He began his 10-year career at Bullhorn as a finance and sales intern, affording him a 360-degree view of the software-as-a-service industry and Bullhorn’s business model. Prior to his current role, Ryan served as an Enterprise Account Executive where he honed his customer-first leadership style and championed Bullhorn’s offerings to its most strategic clients. Today, Murphy is charged with leading the enterprise strategy and go to market for both Bullhorn and Bullhorn for Salesforce, enabling customers to maximize their investments on both platforms and deliver an incredible experience to their customers and candidates. Ryan has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Boston University.
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