“Know thy enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are sure to be defeated in every battle.”
- Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu may not have been talking about recruitment and talent strategy but he could have been!
Effective recruitment and talent strategy relies upon knowledge of your company, its relative position to the competition in the market and the state and movements of the market overall.
One of the ways to build this knowledge is through effective market mapping.
What is Market Mapping?
Market mapping is a strategic process that helps recruiters identify and analyse the talent available in a particular job market, the profiles of companies that operate in the same space and that trends and dynamics that shape the market. It is a process of researching and analysing a range of data points in relation to a particular skillset and talent market.
It involves gathering data and information about the talent available in a specific market, including their skills, experience, qualifications, and job preferences and the market forces around this skillset such as demand and availability, talent movement, and significant market events. Alongside this, it incorporates identifying peer companies with a similar profiles of hire and analysing these and their talent patterns. These are companies that are likely to be competing for the same pool of talent and so recruiters need to gain insights into the competition for talent in the market and identify potential areas of opportunity to target.
The first step in market mapping is to define the talent market based on the profile of hire. This helps narrow down your search and focus on potential candidates and companies who meet the criteria.
After defining the market, the next step is to gather data on potential talent pools, market dynamics, and companies. This can be done through various channels, including online databases, social media platforms, and various public data sources.
Once the data is gathered, recruiters need to analyse it to understand what is the status of the market as a whole, the profile of the talent pool, and where their company fits within this ecosystem so they can determine who are their closest competitors, how competitive the market is, what are the main drivers of the market and more.
On a more granular level, recruiters can start analysing competing companies to gain insights into their different hiring practices. This can involve gathering information on the types of roles they are hiring for, the qualifications and skills they look for in candidates, and any unique selling points they offer to attract top talent.
Recruiters can also look at the reputation of peer companies in the market. Are they known for offering competitive salaries and benefits packages? Do they have a reputation for offering strong career development opportunities? These factors can all impact the ability of a company to attract top talent and should be considered when analysing peer companies.
Another important factor to consider is the size of peer companies. Are they larger or smaller than the organization that is conducting the market mapping? Larger companies may have more resources and brand recognition, making it more challenging for smaller organizations to compete for talent. However, smaller companies may offer unique benefits such as a more agile work environment or a stronger company culture that can appeal to certain candidates.
This is where context is paramount and often where it is necessary to map the market overall but similarly look to understand talent pathways specific to your company and build market maps and insights for this.
Market mapping is an ongoing process as the market shifts and changes but through these steps recruiters are able to gain an appreciation of their company’s positioning in the market and the market status. Subsequently, they can develop strategies based on these as well as initiate more actionable items such as identifying potential talent pools and talent drains, building talent communities and actively monitoring significant market events.
One of the benefits of market mapping is identifying top talent. It allows recruiters to identify high-potential candidates who may not be actively seeking new job opportunities and who may not immediately be obvious.
Market mapping can also help reduce time-to-hire by creating a pipeline of potential candidates who are pre-screened and meet the job requirements. By engaging with potential candidates before they apply for a job, recruiters can create a positive candidate experience and build relationships that can lead to future hires.
Additionally, market mapping can equip recruiters with the knowledge and insight they need to act as talent advisors to their companies. They can begin to influence decision-making on talent and recruitment with real data and understanding of the talent landscape. Additionally, by gathering data and analysing the talent landscape, recruiters can make and guide informed hiring decisions that are based on data and evidence rather than guesswork.
Of course, there are potential challenges to market mapping. One challenge is data quality. The quality of data gathered during market mapping can vary, and recruiters need to ensure that the data they use is accurate and up-to-date. Another challenge is that market mapping can be resource-intensive, requiring a lot of time and effort to gather and analyse the data as well as apply context to it.
In conclusion, market mapping is an essential tool for recruitment professionals. It helps identify and engage with high-potential candidates who are may not be actively seeking new job opportunities. By identifying peer companies with similar profiles of hire, recruiters can understand the competition for talent in the market and identify areas of opportunity and develop strategies to attract and retain top talent. While there are potential challenges to market mapping, the benefits make it a worthwhile investment for organizations looking to make informed hiring decisions.