The Data Cleanse – 4 Steps to a Leaner Database

This post originally appeared at www.sendouts.com.

 

Insights from John Born

Do you need a data cleanse? Don’t worry.  A data cleanse isn’t the latest fad diet. It’s tips and tricks for keeping your data maintained. The result? A lean, mean database that will save your firm time and money.

Who is John Born?  John Born is a data conversion specialist at Sendouts. He helps our clients convert their old database to their shiny new Sendouts database.

Below, John shares a few insider strategies he has learned as a data conversion specialist that recruiters should keep in mind when organizing their candidate and client data.

 

1. Keep it clean

Tip: Use fields as intended, even if you can type in any value.

Ex) Use numbers in the compensation fields. 80k is readable, but 80,000 is better for maintaining the integrity of your data.

Ex) Type in the full date, and be consistent with date formats. Use 02-03-2008 as the hire date instead of typing ’08.

Ex) Put ranges in comment sections, or create multiple fields. If you have a salary range, create a “from” and “to” field instead of one “salary” field.

 

2.  Keep it separate

Tip: DTR – Define The Relationship. If you use ACT, Goldmine, or even Outlook to maintain your contacts, you can run into issues when you want your contacts to be categorized.

Ex) You have a contact named Joe Smith. Joe Smith has a phone number and email address. But who is he? Is he your plumber? A client? A candidate? You probably know who he is off the top of your head. Unfortunately, your data conversion specialist doesn’t. Creating a system for designating your contacts’ relationship to you will make upgrading to Applicant Tracking System a lot less painful.

 

3.  Keep it simple

Tip: Use the simplest method available.

Ex) You have an “Education” field. You can either type in the field, or select an education level from a drop-down box. Select “bachelors degree” from the menu instead of writing one of its many variations, (B.A., B.S., bachelor of art, etc.) or misspelling it completely.  When possible, always select a value from the drop-down menu instead of writing in the field. This way, you maintain consistency across your data.

Tip: Keep fields simple. Use the least amount of information for any given field.

Ex) If you have a salary range, create a “from” and “to” field instead of one “salary” field.

Ex) Include a date field in front of a comment field for easy reference.

 

4.  Give it a good name

Tip: Name your files and folders descriptively in a consistent manner.

Ex) Use simple naming conventions. Say what the document is in the file name. If it’s a resume, use “resume.” If you’re using candidates names in the file name, be consistent. Decide if its “Last,FirstResume.doc,” “FirstInitial,LastResume.doc,” etc.

Ex) Don’t use “/ \ : * ? ” < > [ ] & $ in your file name. Your operating system could read these characters as code, causing the document to be misread or deleted.

Ex) Use meaningful folder names such as industry or skill, like “EmergencyPhysicianResumes.”

(For more tips on naming files and folders, visit: http://researchdata.wisc.edu/manage-your-data/file-naming-and-versi...)

Tip: Store your files in a central location

Ex) Have a shared drive where all resumes are saved instead of each person saving resumes and cover letters in “My Documents” on their C:// drive. Then, everything is in one place and you can easily process your files en masse.

 

Bonus:  Implement Your Rules

1.  Agree upon a standard for entering data.

2.  Stress the importance of adhering to your data standards to your employees. Make it part of your on boarding process so both old and new hires are on the same page.

3.  Hire low cost help. Grab an intern, you know, your nephew or your neighbor’s kid who’s home from college for the summer. They’ll be happy to work for $10.00/hour to comb through your data and bring it up to your agreed upon standards.

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