Your recruitment agency may take pride in its 10,000-strong candidate database, but when was the last time you checked how engaged it really is? We’ve created a simple 4-step guide to calculating how engaged your candidate database is, so you can get a clear and truthful picture of your data in preparation for GDPR.
Maybe you already feel pretty confident about your database, but it might surprise you to learn that the current industry average for database engagement is between 15-25%. Saying that, studies have shown that the real top dogs in recruitment work with databases that are 85% engaged.
Let’s face it, if your engagement levels are low, it doesn’t matter how big your database is – as what’s the point in storing out-of-date candidates? So, it’s time to put your data to the test!
How engaged is your candidate database?
Following these four steps will allow you to come away with a tangible engagement metric to work and build on. The good news is the process should be quick and (relatively!) painless – any good recruitment software should able to streamline the first two steps so you can power through the process quickly.
For clarity’s sake, let’s take a sample database size of 10,000 candidates to work with. So how many of these 10,000 people can realistically be considered as ‘engaged’ candidates?
Here are your four steps to calculating how engaged your candidate database is:
Step one: Remove inactive candidates
First things first! The most obvious first step would be to exclude any inactive candidates from your calculation before moving forward. Whilst there’s no official benchmark for this, we’d recommend discounting any candidates who have been inactive for the last 2 years or more. This could mean they haven’t engaged in any two-way communication with anyone on your team for more than two years, they haven’t applied for any of the jobs you’ve sent them or logged on to their candidate portal in this time. As mentioned, if you’re using recruitment software at your agency, this should be quite straight forward, as you’ll be able to filter out inactive candidates with the click of a button.
Taking our database figure of 10,000, we’ll estimate that this step will involve losing around 7,000 candidates (try not to cry!).
Step two: Remove fresh candidates
Your next step would be to remove any new candidates from your remaining list of 3000 engaged candidates. This should be any candidates who have only registered with your agency within the last 3 months (6 months if you’re being really strict with yourself).
It’s best to remove these candidates from your calculation, as they’re more likely to already be actively looking for a job - and therefore have a natural motivation to be on your books - rather than indicate your brand’s ability to keep candidates engaged with your agency.
This step is likely to result in losing another 600-1000 of your 3000 engaged candidates.
Step three: Unpick what’s left
Next, start making your way through the candidates that are left. Can you see any duplicate entries? Any entries that are obviously incorrect? Any data entries that are actually just contacts and not candidates? Make sure you don’t count these in your final figure, or you’ll be giving yourself an inaccurate interpretation of your database. Remember the whole point in this is to gain clear insight, not to cheat the system!
Step four: Do the maths!
First, divide the remaining number of candidates with your original total number of candidates in your database. Using our example, we’ve whittled our engaged candidates figure down to 2,200. If we then divide this by our original figure of 10,000 that gives us 0.22. To get a final percentage, we simply multiply this figure by 100 – so our example database is 22% engaged.
If you think 22% seems low, you’re both right and wrong in that assumption: Whilst 22% is a low figure, it’s bang on the industry average!
What can you do to re-engage your candidate database?
If you end our four-step process feeling totally dejected with your engagement metric, remember you’re not alone!
Recognising that there’s room for improvement is also the first step forward, and there’s lots you can do to start re-engaging your dead data to bring that percentage figure closer to 85%.
Conveniently, the steps you take to re-engage that data will also help you get your database prepared for GDPR, and encourage you to think more about how to keep your candidates engaged for longer – the value in your database is no longer the size of your database, but your candidate engagement level.
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About the Author: Wendy McDougall is the CEO of Firefish Software. With just under 20 years experience in the recruitment industry, Wendy is on a mission to inspire the next generation of recruiters and help challenge the traditional recruitment agency model of doing things. In her spare time, you’ll find her enjoying some down time with the family, playing squash and feeding her inner geek with all the latest technology!