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Coding Information For Knowledge – Does it work?


Talk about coding and it provokes all kinds of emotions from recruitment consultants to knowledge professionals. The purist will argue that knowledge cannot be coded. On the other hand, coding is the only way to find things in a database.

Let’s consider the most important asset other than the consultants themselves in the recruitment industry – candidates and clients. Information will result in better sales approach with potential clients and selection of potential candidates. Where there is not enough information, it means lack of knowledge to advance. Where there is too much information, it means spending time picking through data.

I propose that while coding cannot be the only way to create knowledge, it is an integral part and cannot be ignored.

Coding the right information about candidates helps consultants to know better.

Consider Candidate Coding:

Basic segmentation
A candidate resume database is like a huge library of documents. Basic segmentation will help to group candidates together for easier searching. These include past experience in sector, function, current level of seniority and geography. Keep it simple and basic for initial filtering.

Like books that can be filed under more than 1 genre, a candidate can have experiences in different areas. In today’s digital world, a candidate cv can appear in different groups, there is no need to hard code only 1 type.

Interview notes
A consultant’s interview notes provide important qualitative information on a candidate. Their experience in evaluating candidates will provide precious insight for other consultants who may want to contact the same candidate. While the interview is difficult to document, there are key information that can be coded for reference. These can include basic skills and competencies such as language skills, communication, teamwork, autonomy etc.

For notes specific to the job the candidate is applying for, this can be summarized and added for reference.

Candidate Intimacy
Candidate intimacy is created with increasing number of touchpoints. Some toucpoints have high value than others. Recording these touchpoints will provide a view of historic activities. High value candidates can often be turned in high value clients. The different type of touchpoints can be coded by their value and then assigned to candidates.

For example, email alerts, mailshots are low value touchpoints and can be coded in the same group. Assigning this code to candidates who had received email alerts may not provide much information and can be coded automatically. Others such as participation to round table discussions, events and satisfaction survey feedback provide more value and can be tracked differently.

Consider Client Coding:

Basic segmentation
Similar to candidate coding, a client contact can also be coded against basic information on sector, function, level of seniority and geography. Here there are 2 sets of information, basic information about a client company and basic information about the client contacts within the company.

Most companies fall into the trap of selling to only 1 line of business in a company when there are potentially other lines of businesses. Where ring fencing is important, having as many client contacts in a company will help to avert risks and improve chances of cross selling.

Client Meeting Notes
Meeting a client contact will provide an accurate temperature read on their attitude to your services and company. These can be coded based on key information such as attitude to recruitment firms, openness in discussion, willingness to provide information.

Information relating to the particular opportunity can be recorded as qualitative notes just like a candidate interview.

Client Intimacy
Like candidate intimacy, client intimacy is created with as many touchpoints as possible. Successes on each of the touchpoint will help to improve relationship and create intimacy. There are 2 levels of intimacy: with the company and with the client contact. Here, high value touchpoints or successes include successful placements, satisfaction, recommendations and referrals to business.

Keeping a record of past successes and proof of satisfaction will help in convincing new contacts in the company to kick start in relationship building.

Other than coding
Outside of coding, there are also other methods available to make information easier to find. These include:

Tagging
Tagging is a good way for consultants to include information that is not part of the coding list. With cloud-computing and smart design, tags previously used can appear as suggestions. This helps to reduce the number of tags and highlight often used tags for potential inclusion in standard codes.

Search boxes
Both Yahoo and Google have invested in providing searching services to companies. It comes as a form of search box that means you can perform “google search” on the database.

Finally, does information really mean knowledge? It’s been said that information is power. This power is useless if it is not put to good use – that is knowledge. Isn’t it?

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