Are you familiar with a process known as Talent Mapping? Most know it as an internal process which allows for the identification of talent within your organization and align those employees with the business strategy and goals. It also brings to light talent gaps in your company, so HR and recruitment leaders can identify the talent they need or will need, as well. But what some don't realize is that a hybrid version of this process can be used externally to help your organization gain a competitive edge when it comes to recruitment by identifying the existing talent within a Discipline, Industry, Geographic, or Specialized areas (DIGS). In agency search, this method is used to gain 'market mastery,' exponentially increasing the value the firm has to their clients. In corporate recruitment, this provides leadership the opportunity to assess the talent pools within each segment of DIGS against their current and future needs.

#1 - The Process

Competitive Talent Mapping has come a long way. When I first joined the recruitment industry, social media was still in its relative infancy, so organizations were mapped primarily through the use of organizational lists, such as Manta against the company's automated phone system. Agency researchers, sourcers and recruiters alike would stay late at night, come early in the morning or head to the office on the weekends to get the dial by name directory and work their way through the alphabet. Each name and phone number went into a spreadsheet and would then be cross-referenced against the internet to find their title, along with whatever other pertinent information they could find. The spreadsheet would then get uploaded into a CRM system, rolled up into a phone list and recruiters/sourcers would smile and dial their way through it, networking to find out what the person did, how they fit within their team/department/company (gathering as many names as they could), their skills, and what they were looking for in their next role (or two). Lather, rinse, repeat until all identifiable talent within all organizations within the industry DIGS.

#2 - The Benefits

Competitive talent mapping allows for the development of a clear and well-developed prospective candidates. In 2012, Bill Boorman shared his belief that talent mapping "might just be the accelerant needed in the talent network/community building process," and he's right. The important thing to remember is they are prospective candidates, meaning they will still need to be included in a talent attraction marketing campaign if you want to convert them. And while the candidate pipeline is a big benefit, there are other significant advantages to competitive talent mapping for the business side of the house, as well. Competitive talent mapping provides important market knowledge and competitive insights from the companies you're competing against for talent. Understanding why professionals may want to leave (or stay) with your competitors can help you better shape your People Program; but it can also give your business leaders an edge into what's happening inside the competition's walls that could impact their project timelines or bring to light market opportunities.

#3 - Technology Tricks & Tips

As you might imagine, when I began the process Competitive Talent Mapping at KBIC in 2004, it was a rather lengthy, time-intensive process. Even today, it can often take organizations months or years to flesh out, depending on the competitive landscape and industry resources. Fortunately, the maturation of social media and technology has exponentially expedited the process of competitive talent mapping. You can create search folders in LinkedIn Recruiter to organize candidates by company and start searching away, adding profiles for the employees identified in search results. While you will likely have to fiddle with the format a bit, you can ultimately create a file that would allow you to import the information into your recruiting CRM system (remember, these aren't candidates yet) such as Avature, Archively, or No Recruiter license? No problem. You can still find a lot of information online, even on LinkedIn. Take an this sourcer's trick, for example: You can search for all connections of yourself or your 1st level connections who have chosen to allow those they are connected with to see their full list of connections, using the following steps: 1. Find the User ID of the LinkedIn connection you want to scope out. You can see where it's located, highlighted in the URL of the picture below:

LI Profile

  2. Enter the ID number where it says 'ID"in the search string below and paste into your URL bar:

Be sure to extend your mapping beyond LinkedIn, as while there are plenty of profiles, only 36% of total job seekers are active on the site. While time-consuming, the research you do will pay off in spades for quite some time to come - especially if you're using a sourcing tool or CRM with a dynamic profile feature, such as Talemetry's. Whatever your method for mapping and entering info into the CRM, I have found creating a separate segment for talent mapping in CRM systems is the cleanest approach, when possible. Don't have a CRM? You can use free and low-cost tools to create visual talent maps, such as Mind Meister or my favorite, XMind (which also allows for you to save to EverNote). Remember, once the maps have been created, the key info you need to obtain to make them valuable will still require a conversation - so don't be shy about picking up the phone and networking (Scott Love tip: follow up w/ an email later in the day to help jog their memory to return your call for better results!). In The Talent Imperative study conducted by Forbes Insight in 2013, less than 10% of executives from mid-sized private companies reported having talent strategies closely aligned with the company's overall strategic planning and 50% reported weak or no strategic alignment between the two strategies at all. This is a serious gap that needs to be addressed and both internal and competitive talent mapping can help us do it. Does your company or recruitment agency capitalize on competitive talent mapping?