Collecting candidate data is one of the most difficult necessities of the recruiting process. We all need it to effectively contact candidates, but storing and keeping track of it can be a huge hassle. But today is all about love, so how can we learn to utilize and love good, usable candidate data?

Start with your basics and build

You’re armed with your list of keywords, the job description, and notes on the ideal candidate from your intake session with your hiring manager/client. What happens when you realize that your initial searches revealed candidates who are already in your ATS or candidates who have antiquated LinkedIn profiles that lack updated information?

Make a date with data

Finding up-to-date and relevant candidate data is one of the most challenging parts of the job. It’s crucial that you have access to this information and an understanding of candidates’ skill sets prior to reaching out to them though. Unfortunately, ideal (but passive) candidates tend to leave data gaps on their social profiles. They’re not looking to be found by you, so they don’t care to update their social media to reflect what they do or that they’re open to a new role.

You could message the candidates you come across on their social pages, asking them for more details about their role and if they’re interested in a new position. But how often do candidates actually respond to those? Hint: not very often, LinkedIn inmail response rates can regularly dip as low as 16%. How long will it take for you to receive a response from that 16%?

Email addresses and phone numbers are the most reliable way to get in contact with candidates, yet these are often the most difficult data points to find. This is simply a challenge for the right tools. You wouldn’t use a hammer on a screw, so don’t try to research candidates with recruiting tools that aren’t designed to perform that highly specific function. Candidate data discovery tools (like our free Chrome Extension, wink wink) will give you access to a candidate’s contact information in seconds. With your own Chrome Extension, you have up-to-date candidate data always at your fingertips.

Don’t get confused by mixed signals

Often times you need more than a set of skills and contact information to assess a candidate. You usually want to get an understanding of who they are and if they would enjoy working as a part of your existing team. Social media is probably your go-to tool for this task, and for good reason.

Remember that you can always dig around industry messages boards, public forums and blogs to see if your candidates are active there as well.

This type of data will also provide insights into the key traits that candidates for this role have in common. Perhaps all of your candidates for a designer position all seem to have active Pinterest accounts, while the IT crowd seems to favor Quora. Don’t underestimate these commonalities, they can offer new insights into the way that you find top candidates in similar industries. You can use these insights to create a recruitment marketing strategy on the sites that your candidates frequent.

Data is like a box of chocolates… an organized box, anyways!

Sorting and tracking candidate data in ways that don’t derail your daily tasks can be a challenge. Much of this will have to do with the way that your team works and the data points that you have decided to identify as a group. A simple spreadsheet may do the trick for smaller teams tracking basic data; however, this won’t be enough to help larger teams identify key data points.

No spreadsheet will work better than a modern ATS that’s designed to solve recruiting stresses. Our Chrome Extension works seamlessly with our ATS, but it also exports candidate data in formats that any ATS can import. Organization is key to recruiting success, so choose the set of tools that works together to help you easily find, contact and organize your candidates.

Maintain strong relationships

Storing candidate data shouldn’t feel like a chore at this point. After all of the work that you’ve gone through to acquire it, keeping relevant data organized with its respective candidates should be simple (as long as you’re using an ATS that supports comprehensive candidate profiles).

You are going to be updating these candidate profiles at least semi-regularly though, so you want an ATS or an organizational system that automatically organizes candidate notes, comments and data updates in one place (preferably the candidate profiles). You especially want this capability if you’re recruiting with a team.

Communicate your feelings

Sourcing and recruiting are particularly difficult fields because so much work is done behind the scenes. Hiring managers really only see the handful of candidates that they’ve interviewed and not the virtual stack of resumes that you sorted through to find those dream candidates. That’s why having numbers and metrics to show the progress that you’ve made is so crucial. It can also be difficult to show ROI’s. Use your ATS or set up manageable metrics that allow you to communicate all the work you’ve done.

Track things like:

    Time to hire
    Number of open jobs (if you’re working on multiple requests)
    Number of candidates screened
    Number of candidates contacted
    Number of candidate responses/Percentage of interested candidates
    Hours spent sourcing per week
    Hours spent screening per week

These suggestions are just a few metrics that will allow you to communicate your work and efficacy to your teams, clients and other stakeholders. Feel free to build out a list that fits your unique process with tracking points that make sense for you.

Note: The closer you track, the better an understanding you’ll form about your recruiting process. You’ll be able to see what is draining your time, what seems to be effective and what could quickly be improved to make your efforts even more successful.


While we may not have Cupid’s bow and arrow to offer you today, we hope these love-soaked tips and ideas help you improve your recruiting results. Tracking candidate data may sound arduous in the beginning, but it will allow you to create a powerful sourcing process that’s built on tailored communications (which outperform bland emails and vague messages when contacting candidates). Even better, you’ll have the metrics to prove the value of your work and and inform your future choices in actionable ways.

Now doesn’t that sound lovely?