Databases need a clean up too!

The ice is melting – it’s time to clean up your databases!

Long before my days of recruiting began “your database as your business” and having a massive database were the best ways to go. Inevitably, time changes all things and now with access to platforms like Human Predictions, LinkedIn, and Prophet; the database has changed.

Now, I know what you might be saying, “You can pry these contacts from my hands over my cold dead body” to which I say, “alright calm down you can keep your contacts.” However, you should take a second and look at your database and say “Where’s the fluff? What’s slowing my process down?”

Here are some reasons why a good database cleanse might be right for you:

Did you add someone to your database in 2007 and just never update their profile?

You’ve got a junior engineer fresh out of college popping up in all of your searches, but now they might actually be the CTO of a company. If you have mass emails set up, you might be sending the same annoying message to this poor CTO instead of leveraging your past interaction to make their new company a client.

Have you placed someone and then promptly forgot to ever talk to them again?

In this business relationships are key. Even if a particular part of your relationship is over (i.e. you placed them in their dream job) doesn’t mean that the relationship ends altogether. Stay in contact! Occasionally update their profile!

Now I know what you might be saying, “but Robyn, I have literally thousands if not millions of profiles!” to which I say, baby steps!

For more on ‘taking baby steps’ check out: Why it pays to not procrastinate; from an ex-procrastinator.

Maybe you haven’t reevaluated your database provider since 2007?

That’s got to change. You don’t have to get a new service, but you should occasionally look at other databases, and figure out what might work best. Moving all your information from one Database to another might sound like a daunting task, but it also might be exactly what your company needs!

Now for the cleaning.

The Hard Way

You buy everyone a lot of pizza and food and you just get to it. Spend hours knee deep in your database just cleaning and cleaning – oh wait? You don’t have an infinite amount of time to spend on this? May I suggest……

The Easy Way

Make it part of your daily routine to update or fix maybe ten to twenty profiles per day. Slice your database into chunks of contacts that need to be updated. Make it part of the company culture that everyone is looking back to old contacts to update them. Eventually, the dust will settle and your amazingly comprehensive database will be all the more useful.

What if I just get Interns to do it?

This is a tried and true move for companies. But before you overload a Junior from DePaul with your outdated database, I recommend doing a few things:

  1. Make sure you tread the path you want to send them down before they do. Take a good hard look at what you’re asking them to do, maybe run a few searches or clean up a few profiles first before you ask them to clean up years and years worth of information.
  2. Remember that they’re probably having their first forays into Corporate America, and make sure that database cleaning isn’t the only thing they’re doing.
  3. Say thank you. We take our interns out on a boat day for all the great work they do!

If you’re really not feeling doing the work yourself:

There are agencies you can hire to do the heavy lifting for you. This option can be a little iffy as it requires handing over the keys to your database to a third party vendor, but if you don’t have time and you need it done quick it’s a route to success!

Sidenote: if you’re feeling truly overwhelmed, you can even hire Objective Paradigm’s amazing sourcing team to tell you the best way to clean your database and find new tools.

Now that I’ve cleaned my database, what do I do to maintain it?

Create a culture where the whole company pays close attention to what’s getting put into the database. Don’t quickly fill up your contacts just to get work done. Attention to the input will help you far more in the long run.

Now; you might be saying that you keep the spirit of spring cleaning year-round, that your database has been picked over with a fine-toothed comb day in and day out for profile errors. To which I say that you’re the standard we all aspire to, but make sure you don’t rest on your laurels. We all have blind spots and the cockier you are, the more likely you are to have some.

Good luck and happy spring cleaning!


Robyn Carney grew up in Rochester N.Y. before spending her college years in Syracuse, where she got her Bachelors in Social Studies education and traveled to Europe and the Middle East. Robyn attended the University of Chicago for her Masters before starting on a path in research, which led her to join Objective Paradigm’s Sourcing and Research team. In her spare time, she enjoys writing and publishing short stories.


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