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I’m a data geek by nature. I can spend hours adjusting a spreadsheet, making sure it provides the most accurate information to the broadest audience; pivot tables, goal seek and data validation are but a few of my hobbies. The power that can be harnessed with the application of data is incredible. The opportunities that SmashFly make possible for recruiting organizations was a big factor in my joining the team. Helping customers best harness their recruitment data and put it to work for them is exciting, and I get to do that every day!

But what happens when the data is inaccurate?

Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the University of Michigan’s football team, learned a hard lesson recently when Aubrey Solomon, a top 5 defensive tackle, decommitted from the school. Solomon is ranked 54th overall in the 2017 class and was headed to a top tier team where he would be playing for a former NFL head coach. Sounds like a pretty great match to me. So what caused this party to end before it had begun? Perhaps a more appealing offer from another school, or maybe he wanted to stay close to his Georgia home?

It was none of these – it all came down to a thank-you note.

Solomon received a thank-you note for attending a Michigan hosted BBQ … that he didn’t attend. It may not seem like a big deal, but to Solomon it meant he was just another target to be acquired (not a great way to start off a new relationship!). To add insult to injury, the card misspelled both his first and last name. “I do not know which recruit they were talking to, but it was not me. It was just a little heartbreaking, for me to supposedly be so high on their list, for them to confuse me with someone else.” The real loser in all this is the University of Michigan, who now has a spot on their team that needs to be filled – sound familiar?

A simple mistake, and lack of attention to details, led to the loss of this elite athlete. All the phone calls, home visits and trips to the university were thrown away because a few simple, but important, details were wrong. There was no preexisting relationship or loyalty in place to overcome this oversight. Now think about your candidate experience. How do you ensure your top “recruits” feel valued? Are you confident that the messages you are sending set the right tone and further your mission in hiring them? Are you personalizing the messages, correctly, based on their interests and skills? Or are you sending them blanket content and jobs that they don’t care about? Have you lost a blue chip candidate due to a simple mistake? Even more importantly, do you have technology and the right recruitment data in place to even know?

It’s vital that you send the right message to your candidates at the right time. But how? What if, instead of adding to the mountain of easily deleted job alerts, you educate them on your brand to build a strong relationship before they’ve even applied? An engaged, eager candidate will find where they fit within your team whether you send them specific job alerts or not. The opposite is also true: poor-fit candidates will be empowered to look elsewhere, allowing your recruiting team to focus on the candidates you want to engage with. Being able to nurture candidates in a talent network before they apply allows both them and you to screen each other.

It comes down to connecting with the right talent for your organization. By developing content that is transparent, engaging, informative and timely, you empower candidates to see their fit in your organization. As a former job-seeker (isn’t everyone?!), I can tell you that during my employment search I deleted hundreds of job alerts and recruiter emails, but I read nearly every article I could find on the brands I was interested in, especially those that were tailored to my interests. In the end, building brand loyalty and rapport matters. But sometimes, the details matter even more, as in the case of Aubrey Solomon, who felt that the University of Michigan just didn’t care enough about him to give all of his hard work and talent to the school.

Pay attention to your candidates and learn more about them. And please, spell their names right!

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