Who is responsible for validation in a sourced list?

Who is responsible for validation in a sourced list?

Quick post.  Rob McIntosh made a great comment on my recent post List Metrics; how to measure quality in a list?.   Instead of replying to the comment, I though I’d write a quick post on this, as it is something I have some strong feelings on.

Rob asked, “Who owns list validation?”.  Rob goes on to point out that sometimes great lists never get acted upon.  Sometimes a recruiter will point to a sourcer and ask if a list is validated, and to what level,  cross-referenced, email, phone validation, etc.

Here is the real problem:  Lists get stored and archived are simply structured wrong.   Add validation fields to each record.   It does not matter who owns validation, as long as the list is coded correctly and expectations of the list recipient are accurate.

I’ve had years of experience pioneering this research at Broadlook Technologies.   We look at validation from a statistical perspective.   For example, our flagship recruiting software, Profiler product SCORES all contact data.  


Scoring of data allows the human using the data to make decisions with respect to where to put their efforts.

What are the source dates of the web pages someone was pulled from?  Was the person cross-referenced on multiple sites? If a resume, what is the date?  Does the date on one resume board match the date on another?  Are you saving both dates?  What type of page was the information taken from?

What this makes me think about is that maybe Broadlook should break-out the logic inside the Profiler, enhance it, and create a product that simply scores list data.  Why?  All data is not equal.   After scoring data, a recruiter would have much more insight as to where they should put their efforts first. 

I would like to hear from people on this one??  Implications in the recruiting software business but definitely wider appeal in general B-B sales.

Example:  What is the likelihood of someone from New York, NY moving to Boston vs. Milwaukee?    That affects the score.  What is the ability of the recruiter getting the list to build rapport with a technical candidate?  That affects the score.  What is the track record of the Internal recruitment staff to actually recruit these candidates vs. an outside agency?  (Would be interesting to test this).  Agency recruiters tend to be better, that is why they make the big bucks.  It may be the first step building an ROI study that corporations should be doing the sourcing and getting the short list to a few select recruiters to work the magic.

Axiom:  Regardless of all other variables, all records in a list should have a score

Axiom:  Validation level within a list should persist and be updated throughout the life of the list

Axiom:  Lists should be scored differently based on the need.

Fun stuff.  Thanks for making me think Rob.  enjoyed the rant!

List Metrics; how to measure quality in a list?

List Metrics; how to measure quality in a list?

Proving ROI is what will empower one of my clients at Broadlook to sign up for year #2, 3, etc.  Without good metrics, corporate budgets won’t open up year after year.   To help my clients track ROI,  I’ve put together some concepts over the years to help examine the pipeline of sourced data.

Without a perfect record of all hires, measured against years past, ROI is hard to prove in a single year.   Don’t get me wrong, some companies do this very well; however, they are the exception.  In most cases, metric must be applied to the pipeline of data and the quality therein.  (For recruiters, data=candidates, for sales reps, data=leads)

How do you measure a list?   How important is it to keep a particular list updated?  What is the frequency that a list should be updated?   When is a list too old?  What resources should you apply towards building a list?   When is it cheaper to outsource the creation of a list vs. build it yourself?   Do you want to create a one-time list OR do you need to have a documented, systemic process for keeping a list updated?

What I want to present here today is a concept I call  List Metrics.  Instead of boring you with numbers and formulas, I am going to share, at a 10,000 ft view of how I think about lists and data.

To determine the value of a list and the resources that should be applied to creating a list, I teach my clients to create a scoring system.  One score for an existing list, another score for the importance of creating a list.

Yes, a list can have a score.  A list score is determined by 2 factors:  Data Quality and Competitive Advantage.    Data quality is a combination of Accuracy + Timeliness.  Competitive Advantage is weighted by the degree of targeting and Exclusivity.

Data quality in lists

Some thoughts on the 4 measures of a list:

Accuracy:  Does your list give you dead people?

  • Is the list static or does it exist within a data-driven website?  (1995-2002 static, 2003-2008 data driven)
  • Is it someone’s passion?  (i.e., top 100 rutabaga growers (Typically high quality, timely, comprehensive))
  • Was any verification process used?
  • Is the list mandated via state or federal? (Registered Professionals, Banks & Credit Unions, Hospitals, SEC filings)

Timeliness: How often is the list updated?

Targeted: (the right 50 or the wrong 500)

  • Is it categorized by a outdated concepts such as SIC codes or general industry classifications?
  • Does it serve a niche market? (List of Microsoft CRM resellers)

Exclusive:  Who else has YOUR list?

  • Was the list made for profit? Is it for sale?
    A custom created list is always far superior then renting a list from a source that will sell it to anyone who coughs up the $$
  • Does your #1 competitor have access to the same data as you?
    Every single online database falls into this category, Zoominfo, Spoke, etc.  It does not matter how large a database is if everyone has access to the same tiny fish bowl.
  • How many times was your list sold?
  • Are the same people from the same companies being called over and over?

Developing a scoring system:

Every niche in recruitment or lead generation will have varing degrees of importance.  In one business, fresh data may be more important, in another…lets say in a comodotized market, it may be exclusivity.  Determine which of the 4 factors are most important to you.  Next, using a 5 point scale, plot the “score” of your list by placing it on a Gartner magic quadrant.

For recruiters, the most valuable list would be one that (1) exclusive and (2) fresh data.  Typically, this type of list is created  on demand based on a current need.


You can commission one to be created from a great name sourcer like Maureen Sharib.  This type of custom list has high value.  I am surprised more recruiters don’t use name sourcers and research for hire.


As more “online” databases proliferate, more and more people will be fishing in the same fish bowl of overused candiates and sales prospects.  Why fish from a fish bowl when you can go directly to the ocean?  If everyone has access to the same fish bowl, it doesn’t matter how big it is.  We all know what happens when a fish bowl gets too populated…

Fish bowl


The demand will continue to grow in the next few years for researchers and name sourcers.  Recruiting and sourcing are diverging into separate entities.   I am excited that Broadlook is announcing our Broadlook Remote Research program early next week.   We’ve had it running in stealth for about four months now.  Combine a fully trained researcher in concert with an entire suite of Broadlook tools.  Put them to work for either 16, 20 or 40 hours per week.   Instant staff augmentation.  We’ve had overwhelming success.  Fun stuff.

Thank you to all the clients that piloted the program with us and help us work out the kinks.

Will every recruiter eventually have access to ALL contact data?

I’ve seen several speakers recently comment on the fact that it is coming to a world where everyone has access to ALL the contact data.  The concept was furthered in  saying that since everyone will have all the data, the playing field will be leveled as everyone will have total access, ergo, it will come down to the ability to network as the sole determiner of success. 

The second part of this concept, (ability to network)  has always has been dead on.  A poor salesperson or recruiter will not do well even if given a great list.  A great networker can do wonders starting with one point of contact.

However, the idea about everyone having access to ALL the data…   This is a pipe dream of the uninformed.   It may be a great material to pontificate on, but it is pure fiction.  The science and trends behind information and going the opposite direction.   I don’t know where this concept was started, but it’s taken off with all the indications of mob mentality (great conviction, but little facts to back it up).

Some facts:

  • The Internet and information in general is growing faster than our ability to index it.
  • Corporations are starting to silo their own data, vs. use public databases.  These are closed systems that are not being shared and the are diverging like mammals and marsupials.
  • A UC Berkeley study from 2007 details that search engines like Google index less than 1% of the Internet.  (when I find this link, I’ll post it..too late right now)

Who are these people that have access to ALL the information?   Methinks it’s the great Oz.

1984 is not here yet.  Good networking starts with your own unique knowledge of where to start your research.   Dig in and roll up the sleaves.  Being given a great database does not make you a great recruiter,  being able to create a great database makes you a great recruiter.

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