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Market mapping: The secrets to success

Gurprit Bhambra
By Gurprit Bhambra
on September 22, 2016
Image credit: Dragan Radojevic via iStock Market mapping can play a key role in smart sourcing, providing the foundation needed to take a strategic, data-driven, proactive approach to talent acquisition. Here’s how.

Defining a market map

What exactly is a market map? There are varying definitions, as market maps can take many different forms, ranging from a list of competitors in an Excel spreadsheet, to a PowerPoint presentation detailing the hierarchies and business strategies at certain companies within your industry.

While their appearance is changeable, what all market maps should have in common is that they provide information about the competitive landscape that can be used to guide your recruitment practices and make informed strategic business decisions. It becomes much easier to find the people you need when you are going in with your eyes open and have a clear idea of what talent is available and where you should be targeting from the very start.

The advantages of market mapping

There are plenty of benefits that can be enjoyed by drawing on market maps as part of your sourcing strategy:

Be proactive: Arming yourself with knowledge of the market before you start sourcing allows you to take a proactive approach to recruitment. Do you need to expand your geographic range or look at businesses outside of your industry to find the talent you need? You'll already know where you should be looking and when, rather than searching for answers once you've already started.
Fulfill diverse and difficult hiring needs: If you're hiring for a hard-to-fill role and looking for a niche skillset, a market map can be invaluable in helping to focus your search in the right areas to find the talent you need. Market maps can also play a key role in locating diverse talent that may otherwise be hard to find.
Build hiring manager trust: Market maps can help to build trust between recruiters and hiring managers, providing information in an easily-digestible visual form and helping to ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction.
Engage in competitive hiring: By providing competitor insights, including information on what people are responsible for in their roles and how they set up their teams, market maps can help you target your rivals' talent, particularly for high-level roles.
Recruit faster and more efficiently: By encouraging proactive recruitment, market maps can help you to reduce time-to-fill and drive down cost-per-hire by limiting dependence on agencies and executive search firms.
Add value: Overall, market mapping helps the recruitment function to add value to your organization, improving return on investment and becoming a strategic partner that can play a key role in workforce management and resource planning.

How do you go about collecting the data needed to create an effective market map?

There are numerous avenues you can explore. LinkedIn and job boards, such as Indeed, are a good place to start, providing information on the size of talent pools and hiring activity. Paid tools, such as TalentNeuron, offer more in-depth insight into candidate supply and demand and information on who is hiring and how much they are paying.

This data will allow you to build an accurate picture of the talent landscape and then dig deeper if necessary. If there is not a great pool of talent on LinkedIn, it's time to look at other communities such as forums and social networks where the kind of people you're looking for may be gathering. Other areas to look into include professional associations and even social groups, such as those on Meetup.com, which may attract people with the skills you need.

When it comes to competitor activity, everything from company websites to news releases (which can be monitored via Google News alerts) can provide useful information. Boolean searches can also be used to look for company documents that may offer an insight into hierarchy and personnel. You can even carry out primary research, such as cold-calling a company to find out information from someone who works there to confirm what you already know about them.

A final source of information you should not be afraid to tap into is your own employees. Gather data from candidates by ensuring recruiters ask questions about the state of the market and note down the answers they receive. While speaking to candidates, they can also take the opportunity to gain insight into their wants and needs and what motivates them to look for a new job. Another option is to draw on any employee resource groups your organization has, who may be able to share information on the state of the market for their role or business function.

Market mapping in action

An AGS global financial services client had a senior position open in Japan that required a hybrid of two skill sets. As the position had remained unfilled for more than 12 months despite using suppliers, the client was considering hiring from another country.

To assist the client in making a decision, AGS mapped out the client’s three largest competitors, including building out market maps and organizational charts for the competitors’ senior teams. These maps provided actionable insights into supply and demand, allowing the hiring manager to understand how difficult the role was to fill.

Once the hiring manager understood the marketplace and the structures of competitors, the client decided to hire outside of Japan and filled the position in three months.

The map to success

Gathering all of this data and information allows to you compile the kind of market maps needed to make strategic recruiting decisions and enjoy the advantages discussed above. At Allegis Global Solutions (AGS), we regularly help clients to produce market maps as part of our Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) solutions.

I will be discussing the market mapping process and further exploring the secrets to success at this year's SourceCon event. Find out more here.

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Gurprit Bhambra
Written by Gurprit Bhambra

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