Candidate database management: Growing the treasure trove of your candidate data

A comprehensive guide to managing your candidate database and making the most out of it.

In every hiring cycle, you attract, assess, and interview many potential candidates, but not all of them get hired. The pool of such talents can give you an opportunity to save time and money on new hiring processes, given that you engage with them frequently. This is where a well-managed candidate database comes in handy.

Your candidate database can offer you all the information you need to identify the candidates who fit the job role via CV, assessment results, and recruiter rating.

Agencies that leverage their candidate database to its fullest enjoy much smoother and faster recruiting processes. They don’t have to wait for job seekers to apply for their open positions; they have everything ready on a silver platter.

But is it that easy?

While the idea of a candidate database may entice you, the truth is handling some databases can get increasingly overwhelming. 

A non-user-friendly database can discourage you from building talent pools and maintaining a constant flow of candidates.

To utilize your candidate database to its fullest, you must know how to manage it well. And that’s exactly what this guide will teach you. Let’s start with the preparation stage.

Pre-Planning: Identifying the Purpose

Tide and time do not wait for anyone, as do projects and clients. You can neither put your hiring process on hold until you have your team and resources in place nor the clients before you find a suitable candidate for them. You have to be prepared in advance.

That’s why you need to sit down with your team members and discuss every aspect of building a highly targeted database before you take on any new project. It will be much easier than piling on the data and then struggling to make entries.

Remember, a candidate database is not a mere bunch of resumes sourced randomly. It’s a large pool of qualified candidates meticulously categorized based on industry, domain, skill set, demography, etc., that you can reach out to whenever a new position opens. These categories can be easily altered later according to your requirements.

Though building a candidate database is a time-consuming and tiresome process, it can pay off really well in the future. To justify your pre-planning stage, you must raise a few valuable questions, like-

  • What do you want to achieve through your database?
  • What is the purpose of doing so?
  • What should be the outcome and the steps necessary to meet that result?
  • How many of your team members will be in charge of the following hiring cycle?
  • How customizable can your database be as per your existing ATS features?

Getting Your Database Ready: Revisiting the Framework

How many candidates your current data is made up of? One or one million?

It’s always a good idea to revisit your framework, regardless of the size of your database. But before doing anything else, ensure your database is built on a solid foundation.

1. Begin with an ATS (Applicant Tracking System)

Technically, a piece of paper, a Gmail contact list, or a spreadsheet- anything can be your data hub, but how efficient are they? Apart from being incompatible with your other recruiting tools, these options are vulnerable to error and require a considerable amount of manual data entry.

If you want an ever-growing database, investing in good applicant-tracking software is non-negotiable.

💡 Must-Do: If you already have standalone database software or an ATS, ensure that it integrates with your other tools (e.g., job boards, screening tools, etc.)

2. Importing Is Crucial

After you have recruiting software handy, you may wonder how to import your existing spreadsheet to your ATS without losing any data.

Most ATS offers bulk import or bulk upload features to help you migrate your candidates’ data into a new database quickly and easily.

💡 Remember: Exercise caution while using this feature. If you make any mistake in setting up your spreadsheets, it could be chaotic later on.


Get live consultation and migrate your data into an ATS under an expert’s supervision to avoid future mishaps.

Book a demo now!

3. Quality Is Paramount

There has always been a dispute over how extensive a candidate database should be. Some sources claim that smaller databases are more accessible, while others follow the ‘ABC principle’ (Always Be Looking out for Candidates) and have larger databases.

Either way, one thing is clear- quality outweighs quantity.

You must optimize your screening process and segment your database using an automated tagging system. But make sure you revisit all the tags to ensure that they apply to both- candidates who apply through a job application and those drawn to your ATS through third-party tools like aggregators and job boards.

💡 Pro Tip: You can customize your filters for pre-screened candidates and use them quickly whenever you need to fill a position.

4. Go Mobile

Nobody loves sticking to the desk, and the same applies to your team members. By making your candidate database mobile, you can ensure that your team can assess it on the go and update the information quickly from anywhere at any time.

Going mobile is the best way to constantly track candidates and ensure nothing falls through the crack.

💡 Ensure: To avoid any data breaches that could occur through personal devices, double-check the security precautions. Remember that using multiple devices can potentially jeopardize your stored information, so implementing data security must be your priority.

5. Automation is a Must

Are you still manually entering and updating your candidate’s information in your database? Are you not falling behind?

Manual data entry can be time-consuming and often paints an incomplete picture. Automating candidate information can give you a faster and more accurate database.

💡 How to Do So: Use an ATS with a powerful parsing engine to automatically extract your candidate’s information and pre-populate your database fields.

6. Tune Up Your Training

It’s not only you who will use the candidate database; your team members will also have access to it. So, it is always better to train them to properly use and manage the database.

Also, make sure to carefully monitor their progress in the beginning so that you can catch any mistakes early on. By investing in such training sessions, you will save yourself countless hours of having to do damage control later. 

💡 To Do: Ask your ATS provider if they offer training sessions for team members. You can also supplement your internal training to give your team a better picture of using and managing the candidate database.

Growing Your Database: Maintaining the Supply and Quality

Growing your database is crucial, but it’s only lucrative if the candidates at your depository are qualified.

A database of unqualified candidates slows down your recruiting process and makes it challenging to fill job openings. 

These tips will help you improve the supply and quality of your candidate database quickly:

1. Quality Over Quantity

The best way to warm up your pipeline with quality and diversified candidates is to integrate your database with third-party tools like job boards and social networks. 

It may sound like practice, but avoid adding too many candidates into your database at once or from a single source. 

💡 Pro Tip: Screen every candidate before adding them to your funnel. A big pool of candidates won’t help if it isn’t active enough. 

2. Must-Do Research

Do your groundwork before incorporating any third-party service to grow your database. The best way to get an inside scoop on these services is through customer-review platforms. 

Time invested in research now will help you avoid costly mistakes that could take years to clean up.

💡 Don’t forget: To ensure you’re getting the best service possible, check your ATS’s official list of partners to see who can assist you with your sourcing needs. These partners are seemingly trustworthy and can offer the best optimization for your database.

3. Integration Compatibility

To streamline your recruiting process, you should integrate your ATS with the job board you already collaborate with. 

This way, you can boost your candidate’s experience throughout the application process by automating most administrative tasks without worrying about unnecessary migrations. 

💡 Did you know? 

Clients who have integrated their job boards with their ATS saw a drastic reduction of up to 85% in the number of candidates who drop off their applications in the middle. 

4. Linking with LinkedIn Integration

LinkedIn’s integration with your recruiting software can help streamline your workflow, reduce clicks, and provide a continuously updated view of your candidates’ information.

An ATS with such a feature allows you to view a candidate’s updated LinkedIn profile directly from their system. 

Make sure you only use systems that are officially listed as ATS partners on LinkedIn’s website. This way, you can avoid scrappers that don’t track the changes in profiles which leads to the piling up of outdated and inaccurate data. 

💡 Make time to save time: Through LinkedIn integrations, you can avoid adding duplicate profiles to your candidate database. If you find a potential candidate on LinkedIn, you can instantly double-check if they are already in your ATS.

Managing Your Database: Keeping the Funnel Intact

Keeping your database updated is not a one-time process. You have to keep it going over and over again. 

But how? Your foresight into the industry’s ongoing trends and the use of the right technology can help!

Remember, the more you are prepared in advance, the lesser maintenance you will need down the road. 

The following tips can help you keep your candidate database running smoothly:

1. Leverage Technology

As the recruiting process becomes more data-driven, investigating third-party tools that could help in structuring the incoming data can benefit recruiters. 

By using tools like resume parsers, you can scrape important information, like skills, qualifications, industries, etc., from candidates’ resumes and arrange them into customized taxonomies.

These structured data make the search more accessible and efficient, saving much time for recruiters to work on other important tasks.

  💡 Do you know?

38% of recruiters use data to keep track of talent supply and demand for their company, which allows them to analyze and manage their candidate database better.

2. Mandate Maintenance

While candidate database management may be on the top of your checklist, it won’t make much difference if your team doesn’t see it that way. You will have to constantly remind them of the significance of data hygiene and motivate them to act accordingly.

Mandating the maintenance and recognizing those who keep their database clean can push your entire team to keep their data accurate. You can further build it as a part of the performance review and provide incentives to top performers.

💡 To Do: Give access to your recruiters’ performance metrics to all the team members. This will create an environment of healthy competition (if monitored closely) and motivate everyone to keep their data accurate.

3. Don’t Sleep on Skills

Keywords may make your search quick, but don’t forget those candidates who are experts in playing the system and can seep their way into your database. The best solution to it is categorizing candidates based on their skills instead of random keywords.

Also, remember that for some jobs, specific skills like Python, Java, Photoshop, etc., may work, while others cover a wide array of skills. Either way, ensure that you keep your tagging criteria as core as possible to avoid any chaos down the road.

💡 Make Time to Save Time: Having skills in the database can reduce your dependency on complex Boolean searches. You will also be able to easily identify candidates who know how to trick ATS by keyword stuffing into their CVs.

4. Keep Your Data Polished

Nothing is more frustrating than finding out that you are missing crucial information about your ideal candidate when you are just planning to reach out to them. But what can you do about that? Simple, don’t allow the addition of such profiles into your database.

And even if you do allow them, make sure you keep track of all those records and assign one of your team members or interns to reach out to such candidates to fill in the holes. The point is: Polish your data before you need it.

💡 Did you know?

45% of recruiters access their database only when there is an urgent need for talent and end up wasting more time than intended.

Manage Your Database with Recruit CRM

Job Board Data Capture

Copying and pasting won’t be a headache at all if you have Recruit CRM’s Sourcing extension handy. With this single-click solution to all your sourcing challenges, you can capture candidates’ data from any page on the internet and add or update them to Recruit CRM without leaving the job board at all. 

Save Time and Limit Errors

Recruit CRM’s robust parsing engine enables you to increase your efficiency and reduce clicks by extracting candidate information from anywhere on the internet to pre-populate fields with the relevant candidate, contact, and job records. 

Find the Right Candidates

Now build a list of shortlisted candidates in no time with Recruit CRM’s advanced keyword search accompanied by a “fast find” search bar that allows you to customize and configure the list views and pin your favorite searches. 

5. Deal with Duplicates

When sourcing candidates, there is a chance that you will come across a profile more than once. While you may not remember, you must have a proper strategy in place to manage duplicates.

If you or your team members all duplicate profiles flow freely into your database, it will not only take up large storage but also get messy during the search. Whenever you find a duplicate, your first instinct must be to purge or merge the outdated data.

💡 Pro Tip: Most ATS have built-in functionality to alert about possible duplicates by matching certain criteria like emails and names. You can ask your ATS provider how to use such features.

6. All Hands-on Deck

You can’t do everything on your own. It is better to let everyone participate in your data maintenance plan. 

If you have any intern or any other employee available, ask them to perform critical tasks. This way, you can make full use of candidates at your disposal.

💡 Don’t forget: Use an ATS with a strong data backup to avoid the loss of any data due to human errors or random mishaps.

7. Archive Truly Inactive Candidates

Though most candidates in your database may be available to take up new positions, you might have a few who are permanently inactive. Don’t delete them. 

As we already discussed how all candidates are valuable to you; deleting them would mean breaking all the connections at once. We bet you won’t like that!

You can, instead, leverage the ATS archive function to deal with such talents. This will help you unclog your search results without having to permanently erase potential records.

💡 Must Do: Hide archived candidates from your search results to make sure you only encounter active candidates.

Leveraging Your Database: Mining Gold the Right Way

You may have successfully built a terrific database stocked with qualified candidates, but are you leveraging it to its fullest?

Potential candidates are often hard to come by. And even a little mistake like miscategorization can cause them to slip through the cracks. 

Follow these tips to mine your treasure trove the right way:

1. Monitor Your Team’s Activity

For successful candidate database management, it is important that you and your team members are on the same page. They must know exactly what and how they need to perform data hygiene or candidate search through the database.

You must establish criteria for how your members want to enter records into the data. Setting volume or percentage goals for the same might help.

💡 To Do: Analyze the reports of your team members who have screened, categorized, or tagged candidates via the database and use it to draw comparisons across your team. Noice any loopholes and take measures immediately.

2. Engage with Passive Candidates

Are there “inactive” active candidates in your database? – The kinds that are marked as active but aren’t serving much value in their current state.

You need to double-check if these candidates aren’t actually placed or may be unavailable for XYZ reasons (e.g., retirement). Reach out to these candidates to figure out if they are open to receiving any job offer in the future or not.

💡 Pro Tip: Set a particular date to determine the candidate’s inactivity and organize your database accordingly. For example, you can use the ATS search feature to build a list of candidates who haven’t been active since January 2019.

3. Research Redeployment Opportunities

It is possible that you may have lost track of some candidates who are listed as in placement and are available for work. If you are not leveraging such candidates to their fullest, what are you doing?

To find candidates ripe for redeployment, start by skimming through the profiles of candidates with expired contracts and reach out to them asap.

💡 Don’t forget: Always engage with your candidates, no matter what. Set a reminder at least once a week to follow up with them so you remain updated on their career status.

4. Keep Your Communication Channel Open

Hired a candidate for a job position? Now count how many have been rejected. All these rejected candidates are active ones.

To prevent them from waiting in vain, you must run a search in your ATS and help them find a better job match. These candidates will appreciate your communication and efforts and will stick with you for a long time.

💡 Did you know?

Poor communication is one of the major turn-offs for candidates. If you are not focusing on building a good candidate experience from the very beginning, you might be inviting your own failure

Salvaging Your Database: Restoring and Repairing the Clunky Data

When dealing with a large amount of data, there is always a chance of your database getting out of hand sometimes. This may be due to wrong tagging, not updating the information on time, ignoring data security, etc. 

If data hygiene is not your primary focus, your database may be infested with unruly data. But the question is, how can you salvage it?

Here are some tips:  

1. Single-Out Sketchy Sources

In case you have already bought a list of candidates scraped from sketchy sources, now is the time to verify all the information.

Sounds exhausting, right? But if you don’t clean this data now, it will slow down your hiring workflow in the near future. Also, not like you can dump all the information right away. It will be a waste of your investments.

💡 Make time to save time: Always look for real customer referrals when scraping data from the web. It’s alright if it is already chaotic; learn from these mistakes to avoid the same happening again.

2. De-clog Your Candidate Database

If you are struggling with inaccurate data or unresponsive candidates each time you perform search results, there is no other way around it- You need to either amend those records or archive them.

💡 Remember: Deleting records must be your last possible option. Always archive records. You never know when you will need that information, after all.

3. Call for Backups

It’s always recommended to ask for help if your candidate database has truly gone out of your hands. You may ask for an intern, an outsourced freelancer, or services specializing in database cleanup. You don’t have to waste time repairing your database on your own.

💡 Remember: Indeed, you can always call for backups, but remember, those changes will be temporary, while database management is an ongoing effort. If you retain your habits of letting your data decay, nothing will help you out for long.

Final Thought: It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Old Spreadsheets!

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same goes for a candidate database. 

Steady build-up and constant management will provide you with incredible dividends.

A quick reminder: If you are still stuck with old database management techniques, apart from being cumbersome, it can forge a huge loss to your business.

We recommend you adopt the latest technology that promises a high accuracy rate, lesser time, and more efficiency. It’s high time you say bye to spreadsheets.

To wrap up, here are certain questions you must answer.

  • Do you have recruitment software that helps you grow your database?
  • Do you have all the resources and team in place?
  • What was your purpose in reading this article? Are you planning to build a candidate database from scratch, or are you trying to repair your existing one?
  • Did this article serve its purpose? Do you know how to proceed with your candidate database management plan now? If yes, why don’t you let us know your thoughts in the comment section below? And if not, you should still let us know!

Continue Reading?

Go ahead and subscribe to Recruit CRM Exclusives to get instant access to premium content on recruitment.


901 behavioral questions to secure the best and the brightest!

Land your dream hires today!
Subscribe now to get instant access.
Recruit CRM is committed to your privacy.We use the information you provide to only send curated content and information about the products.