Back to Blog Data Hygiene: Using Automation For Cleaner & More Valuable ATS Data by Travis Arnold on October 30th, 2020 Bad data hygiene can cost your firm time, money, and energy and make it less-likely your ATS will be a top hire source. Good (automated) data hygiene can help: Kick out bad data before it bogs down your workflow Create more value from your current pool of talent Stay engaged with candidates and prospects over time. Poor data hygiene has become a fact of life for many staffing firms. With the influx of candidates and prospects daily, it’s no wonder an ATS can be 50% good and 50%, well, just plain sh*tty. The problem is, poor data quality doesn’t just lead to face-palming when you realize the candidate you just harvested doesn’t have an email address; it can also lead to bad experiences for your audience and, in some cases, slow your ATS to a crawl. 27% of company leaders aren’t sure how much of their company data is accurate and can reduce company revenue by 12%! This is a big problem that starts small. Poor data starts small. Maybe you notice a missing email or phone number at first. It’s not a big deal; it’s just one record after all. But this thinking can lead to diminished business operations. For example, a contractor receives a new opportunity email halfway through their assignment because their status never changed. Big data problems always start small; an email incorrectly entered here and there, mislabeling a current client’s status, or simply leaving an important field blank. All of these little things build up to big things and can have a real impact downstream. Here are a few ways data can start the landslide: Manual entry is error-prone (sorry humans) External data sources dumping in data (ahem, job boards, ahem) No overwatch or processes in place Taking a look at the above, it’s no wonder the staffing industry has a data problem. Recruiters and salespeople weren’t hired for their data entry skills, so why do so many companies trust them with data hygiene? It’s a known problem. Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard something similar ‘we don’t use our ATS because we don’t trust the data.’ It is crazy, but companies spend thousands on an ATS to have people circumvent the process and use something they see as more reliable. Also, cleaning up said unusable data is seen as a big, hairy, one-time process that can knock work offline. There has to be a better way, right? Continuous data hygiene Rather than going the traditional lots-of-bad-data-now-must-clean route, companies are starting to turn to automation to handle the task of keeping data usable and clean. The good news is, if you’ve got automation, then you can quickly have more useable data. Using an automation platform makes it easier for you to find missing or bad data and take action. Here are a few ways to leverage recruiting automation to keep your ATS data in tip-top shape continuously. Identify records with missing email addresses or phone numbers. Find incomplete records and initiate automation to fill in the gaps. For example, records without a phone number but contain an email address could be sent an email with a simple survey that asks them to add their updated contact info. That data then flows back to the ATS. Get updated contact info from people with no interaction. Candidates get added to the ATS, and then, well, sometimes they sit there for an eternity. Using automation, you can set up a rule that says ‘if there is no activity in 12 months, send a survey to collect updated info’. With this rule, candidates can update their most recent skills, contact info, availability dates, and more. Append updated data from 3rd party sources A more passive route, you could set up rules to append data whenever an updated resume or info is available from 3rd party sources like major job boards or data cleansing services. This can be an excellent first step if your data is really old and you want to get your outreach strategy aligned. Archive the lone rangers Sometimes you need to trim the fat and get rid of bad records in your ATS. By removing dead-wood, you’ll save space and likely speed up searching your database. We’ve had customers cut nearly 50% of the records in their database because they were imported without correct information or were missing necessary info for their reqs. Remember, all of the above is automatically happening in the background, 24/7/365. You set it up once; it runs continuously. Neat, eh? Stop repetitive busywork Whenever manual, repetitive work is involved, there is a risk of error. Rather than burdening recruiters and salespeople who weren’t hired for their data entry skills, you can have automation pick up the slack and keep your ATS clean and clear. So there you have it. Consistent data hygiene doesn’t have to be hard; it just has to be smart. Clean data leads to better consistency, and better ATS consistency leads to better and more personal interaction with candidates, clients, and contractors.