Are you guilty of candidate data hoarding?

Posted November 30th, 2021

Less than a decade old, the term digital hoarding or data hoarding is surfacing more frequently in the recruitment industry and has become a problem of growing concern.

Data hoarding, also known as e-hoarding, digital hoarding or cyberhoarding is defined as the excessive acquisition of electronic data and the reluctance to delete material no longer valuable to the user. Like compulsive hoarding, this valueless digital clutter bogs down databases making them less efficient.

The word “hoarding” has negative connotations and rightly so. We’ve all seen or heard about the A&E American reality TV series “Hoarders” or the UK equivalent “The hoarder next door” which both give a glimpse into the lives and homes of compulsive hoarders. Data hoarding can be almost as messy.

The hoarder collects quantities of things. They could be items of value along with worthless garbage. Like a packrat, they might store piles of pizza boxes and newspapers, mixed up together with important or valuable documents. Don’t ask the hoarder for a birth certificate or a book you lent them two months ago. It can’t be found due to the volume and disarray of all the clutter.

The same can be said for data hoarding. And in the recruiting industry, it happens often. Sometimes this is intentional but can sometimes happen without your knowledge. Volumes of bad data can be loaded into your CRM or ATS by recruiters or others who have access to your database. Bad data has a way of finding its way into even the best systems and can come in many forms, including:

  • missing data
  • wrong information
  • non-conforming data
  • outdated information
  • duplicate profiles
  • poor manual entries like misspellings, typos and abbreviations

If you have employees who are manually entering data into your system, be prepared for 18-40% containing human error. Human Error hoarding art horiz

Even some parsers are responsible for some of the missing data that may be in your database. It happens when a parser misses fields or is not able to load complete data. Top-of-the-line parsers like DaXtra Capture have achieved an accuracy level of around 90% and are great at pulling from various fields. Others are not and leave candidate profiles with gaps of missing data.

Outdated information and duplicated data also account for a huge amount of bad data in candidate databases. Think about how often a resume may be updated with a new email address or phone number, new skills, employment history, address change, reference update, name change. Here you have not one but several updates that could happen in the span of a few months. Some tools only attach an updated resume to an existing profile but don't automatically update the relevant fields, leading to more clutter.

Non-conforming data in the form of initials and abbreviations can also render data as rogue.

When recruiting professionals use job boards and social sites and glom onto all of the candidate data they can get their hands on, this becomes a problem. Bad and rogue data is out there and can affect the overall quality and consistency of the data held in your database.

But it’s not only faulty processes and practices of collecting data that identify you as a data hoarder, it’s the reluctance to get rid of this bad data that puts one in the category of a data hoarder.

There are a couple of main reasons given for data hoarding:
  • There may be something of value amongst the clutter
  • With cloud storage, you don’t have a volume constraint

These aren’t valid reasons and data hoarding can do more harm than good.

What’s the harm?

Hoarding is often associated with anxiety and insecurity. The same can be said about candidate data hoarding. Recruiting professionals may feel like the more information, good or bad, they can get their hands on, the better. This is not the case and bad data can actually do damage.

Some consequences of data hoarding are:

  • Legal and regulatory exposure – Most regulations specify how long data must be kept. 
  • Security issues cybercriminals looking for information
  • Cost of data storage and management
  • Accessibility and searchability

Privacy and security issues along with questions of how long data should be kept top the list of concerns about data. GDPR put many measures in place to increase security. This is not going away and is likely to spread globally as time goes on.

Beyond security risks that perhaps the UK is more attune to with GDPR, having volumes of bad data is costly. With the flexibility and scalability of both local and cloud storage, accumulating data has grown easier. Along with that comes a storage cost that builds with time.

The other major issue is that of data being accessible and searchable. Without access and searchability, why even have a database full of candidate profiles? An attainable goal in recruiting is to make placements from the candidate pool within your local database. If there is so much clutter and bad data that you can’t find the candidates, that objective becomes dust in the wind.

What’s the solution?

If we are comparing data hoarding to a person who accumulates various worthless junk, then you should also be aware that gathering and storing data the right way is the equivalent of a fine art collector.

A fine art collector uses educated, discerning judgment. They research, choose carefully and when the items are in their possession they catalog and store the pieces in an orderly fashion. They know the value of what they have and if you ask “Where is the Van Gogh that was painted in Southern France in June 1889,” a fine art collector would be able to retrieve Van Gogh’s Starry Night, quickly and efficiently.

You should be able to easily identify all of the “Scrum Masters who have 3+ years of project development experience on an Agile team, who Facilitate and support all Scrum events: Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective, and are available within 20 miles of the Chicagoland area,” quickly and efficiently, when asked.

How do you become a curator of good data?

The end goal is to purge the bad data you have and collect and import good, clean data going forward. A solution that automates processes reducing errors the human manual entry element carries is the first step.

Be sure all of the data moving into your system is good, clean data. Make sure all data is organized and searchable.

Implement a software solution that is best at:

  • collecting data in a clear and intentional manner
  • pulling complete information into the system
  • de-duplicating data and records
  • organizing and categorizing information
  • analyzing data to provide a source and other meaningful information

A solution like DaXtra Capture’s in-depth CRM data enrichment ensures the quality and consistency of data. It’s able to output full personal, contact, education, work history and skills information. It will mitigate the existing data in your database and make sure that all new incoming data is clean, deduplicated and updated. This enables you to store more data and process it faster, with greater quality and consistency.

Searching over good, clean, enriched data is a breeze. And the number of placements made from your database will improve.

To be a data-driven company is desirable, but data hoarding makes that desire almost unattainable.

It’s clear that quality over quantity takes the prize. But you can collect quantities of quality data in the right way, with the right tool.

For more information on tools that can help you be a data curator, download our product brochure.

Tags: DaXtra Blog, resume database, Data integrity, Candidate Database