Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Candidate database: Keeping it healthy

In my last post on candidate databases "Review your candidate database", we talked about the Johari window and how candidates have a tendency to slip into a black hole and the database becomes non productive.

Here are a few pointers on countering this tendency and keeping the candidate database healthy

1. Strategize and Plan
First and foremost activity is to have clarity on what you want in your database and Why i.e. Identify the need for having a database. This will ensure that your database gives you ROI.
Pool your manpower forecasting to determine your need to identify current and future Candidate requirements
Perform a skill gap analysis to ascertain where your database is shallow and where it is effective

2. Identify info criticality
Parsing is a major pain when capturing candidate details and parsers will miss out on a lot of information. Manual entry of all the information is not feasible due to the time it takes. It is essential that you identify “MUST FILL” info and “GOOD TO FILL” info. The meaning of MUST FILL could change with each stage of the selection and screening process. Ideally by the time the candidate reaches the second round all the information should be captured

3. Assign responsibility
Break the task of updating candidate records. It will be too much for one person.
Candidate: Allow him to update his personal details, qualifications, work history. Give them a login.
Sourcer/recruiter: While qualifying the candidate for a job, the sourcer/recruiter can fill the candidate summary sheet, defining the candidate. Will make it easy to search candidates.
Interviewer: Skill Ratings in a predefined format. Will get appended to candidate summary sheet

4. Track and review
a. Periodic reviews: Periodically review the database for its relevance to current and prospective openings. A concentrated third party effort would be advisable.
b. Track deviations: Set candidate record quality standards within the system and flag deviations.

5. Engage and Involve
a. Make it interactive. Don’t just give a form to candidates for filling in. give them a system which is interactive. A system that can tell them the status of their application, jobs matching their profiles, Interview dates and venue. Some tips on guidance and counseling will be the extra mile
b. Respond: Never ever hide behind workload and not respond to a candidate. Always communicate. Use templates, if required but keep the candidate informed.

6. Keep it relevant
a. Rank/Rate: Systematically rating a candidate on a particular skill, job or domain is required if you want to keep the database relevant. Else, you will never know. If the candidate, sourcer/ recruiter and interviewer, play their roles this is possible assuming your database supports such ranking
b. Let go: your size of database is only as big as the number of relevant candidates you have in it. Remove candidates that are not relevant.

7. Keep it feasible
a. Automate: Without automation, it just won’t be feasable for you to keep your database healthy, no matter what your volume.
b. Recruiters mindset: Recruiter/Sourcer doesn’t like to fill forms or sheets. He is better of searching and speaking to candidates. Try to keep the data filling part to the minimal and tune the workflow of the system to the workflow of the recruiters. You will need their support to make the system work. Sell them the value of the database.
c. Search tool: Ensure that the system has a decent search tool, tuned towards the fields or data that your team is filling in.
d. Budget: There is a lot that can be done... And overdone. Ensure that you keep a tab on the cost and the ROI.

8. Ensure use
Use strategies to ensure usage
i. Make people aware:
ii. Establish and publish process
iii. Review use
iv. Enforce/Coerce

The most important aspect of keeping a database healthy is to continue using it…. If not in use, will not be useful!!

Candidate Database System: A perspective?
Review your candidate database