There’s Gold In Them Hills

By Terri Roeslmeier

August 30, 2011

The California Gold Rush may have taken place way back in 1849 but you can create your very own “Gold Rush” today. If you have been working with a database to manage your prospects and customers there are surely some “gems” to be found. Often we forget that what we have been looking for is being stored safely away in our database.

Information leads to success. Stashing away tidbits of information about clients, prospects and candidates can produce rewarding results. The key to this is being able to find the information that you have put away. Good search tools can never be underestimated and a “full text search” can help you find details that were carefully tucked away when you entered them. However, it is also important to note that strong coding can aid this process immensely.

Coding is one of those animals that are difficult to tackle. The first decision you must make is whether you will create a detailed code set or if a more broad system will work better for your needs. One critical point to keep in mind is that if you have too many codes it can get confusing and be more difficult to work with. Many placement situations allow for a bit of a “give and take” so by narrowing down your search criteria you may miss some good candidates that can be placed.

When entering information into a database always keep in mind that the main goal is to be able to retrieve it at some point. Putting everything into notes will pretty much guarantee that a lot of major points will be lost forever. Scouring through a vast amount of text, even with a full text search mechanism, can be a daunting task and produce less than optimal results.

Another good rule to follow with data is to use fields as they were meant to be used. First, unless you are working alone, training groups to use an inconsistent system takes longer and can lead to multiple issues. Standard reporting and staffing software feature usage may be diminished if you are using software incorrectly. Next, if you someday find a need to use a field as it was intended, you are stuck with inappropriate data that has to be cleaned out.
Getting organized information into a database greatly enhances the ability to make placements.  Information rich data means more profits. Yes, there’s gold in that database but you must look for it.  Searching through candidates and clients that have not been spoken to for a while can produce astounding results. Adding criteria to focus in on specific groups lends to the “target marketing” process. Once you have your list, you can launch contact with phone calls or emails.

Databases should not be used like file cabinets. The point of using an automated database as opposed to a file cabinet is so that you can do more with it. You want to be able to slice, dice and analyze your data from different viewpoints and certainly use it to advance your prospect of closing more business. This will not be possible unless you get data into the system with a careful plan of being able to retrieve it in ways that will benefit the efforts of your company.

Terri Roeslmeier is President of Automated Business Designs, Inc., software developer of Ultra-Staff staffing software for the staffing and direct hire industry. Ultra-Staff is a staffing software business solution that helps you stay connected with components for front office, back office and the web. For more information on Ultra-Staff go to