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  • How to Vet Public Domain Data Sources

    February 06, 2019 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices

    TAGS: best practices, nace insights, strategic planning

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    In her op-ed in the November issue of the NACE Journal, Mary Scott, founder of Scott Resource Group, writes that most of what is widely reported on the Internet specific to university relations and recruiting is considered public domain, in that it is not copyright protected.

    While this provides an enormous amount of data for employers to consider as they plan campus strategy and execution, Scott points out a related downside: The findings often imply that a vendor’s offering will solve whatever issue the employer is tackling. Great marketing, to be sure, but caveat emptor (“buyer beware”). Consider the source, she warns.

    Here are two suggestions from Scott when evaluating the reliability of public domain data:

    • Follow the money—Is there a linkage between the data being presented and the “solution”? Be sure the data being presented can be independently verified and authenticated, and are not rooted in broad-brush generational assumptions.
    • Match the survey cohort to the employer’s target population—Many third-party service providers survey students who use their platform, which makes sense from an expediency standpoint. The caution here is to evaluate the profile of the service provider’s student respondents in comparison with the employer’s hiring personas. There can be an “echo chamber” effect of a closed-system when the survey group is sourced entirely from the provider’s subscribers, and response bias is a decided pitfall in gathering actionable data to apply across larger candidate populations, i.e., those who do not have an account with the provider.