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When it comes to recruitment, finding the right candidates is crucial for the success of your role in talent management or at a recruitment agency. However, the process of sourcing and attracting top talent can be challenging, especially in today’s competitive job market. This is where talent mapping and market research come into play. In this article, we will explore the concept of talent mapping and provide you with valuable insights on how to conduct market research to identify and engage with the best candidates on the market. Whilst we will discuss how to talent map internally most of the article will be focussed on recruitment and sourcing candidates.

What is Talent Mapping?

Talent mapping is a strategic approach involves aligning a company’s recruitment strategy with its business goals by adopting a long-term perspective. It involves creating a holistic picture of the talent within a specific industry or sector. Talent mapping allows organizations to proactively identify and engage with potential candidates, even before specific job openings become available. Talent Mapping empowers hiring managers to make informed decisions  and implement effective recruiting practices for attracting top talent. It can give you the edge on your competitors who only use a reactive recruitment strategy. As Talent Mapping is time consuming it could be more effective to use for senior roles or if you work in a niche area of technology, for example.


  • Find the right talent faster.
  • Identify your top employees so you can nurture them
  • Save your hiring resources.
  • Offers valuable insights into competitors, including size, structure, organization design, top talent, and employer brand reputation.

What are we looking for. You need to build a very specific persona of the ideal candidate to fulfil the hiring goals. By understanding the skills, experiences, and career paths of individuals in the talent pool, organisations can better align their recruitment strategies and position themselves as an attractive employer. So, you have defined  the hard and soft skills for your position and how to assess for this. Here are the next steps –

The Importance of Market Research in Talent Mapping

Market research plays a crucial role in talent mapping. You can gain a deep understanding of industry trends, competitor strategies, and the availability of talent. This information allows you to make informed decisions when developing your talent acquisition strategy. It allows you to anticipate market demands, tailor your recruitment strategies, and build relationships with potential candidates.

Define Your Target Market: Start by clearly defining the target market or industry you wish to focus on. Identify the key skills, experiences, and qualifications required for your roles.

Here are some steps to help you conduct effective market research for talent mapping:

  • Who? Research and analyse your competitors to understand their hiring practices and the types of candidates they attract. Look at their job postings, employee profiles on LinkedIn, and the skills they prioritise in their job postings. This analysis can help you identify potential gaps or opportunities in the market.
  • Where are they coming from? What companies did they work in before? Do they prefer to hire fresh grads or target their search to more senior profiles?
  • What education do they have? What universities did they study at?
  • Find out where they are operating: what platforms, websites, and/or social networks are they using
  • Do you share similar values? Do they have a similar working environment? You need to find out how your competitors are growing and their plans for the future.

Engage with Industry Experts: Network with industry experts, attend conferences, and join relevant communities to gain insights from professionals who are actively engaged in the market. Their expertise and knowledge can provide valuable information on emerging trends and talent availability.

Look back. Study the profiles of your own staff that have left: where they came from, how long they stayed with you, and who they work for. Perhaps they left as there weren’t opportunities for them at the time and now you have grown and they may want to return. Having a strategy to reach out and put suitable job opportunities in front of them could reap dividends.

Talent Lake. These are people you interacted with or those that interact with you. These could be previous candidates, people following your company page on LinkedIn, etc. Out of the lake you can create a talent pool which are candidates you have identified for specific roles in the business similar to sales prospects.

Social. Leverage online networking sites and the different social media profiles of people in the talent pool. What does the person post, what groups are they in, and what conferences, meetups, or shows does they visit? Do a proper mapping of these. Pay attention to their career progression, educational background, and the organisations they have worked for. Having this information will help you find a proper fit. Pay attention to a person’s interests. Who does he/she prefer to spend free hours with? What are the individual’s contributions? It is always important to learn about a person’s interests, contributions, and activities – that is usually a source of intelligence.

How to organise the data? This could be the most challenging aspect. ATS’s have their limitations and are good for  organising and processing applicants when posting new jobs. Most ATS’s over-promise and under-deliver when it comes to organising the raw data of previous applicants in the data-base and matching it to new roles. It’s a good idea to use it as a tool and have your own data analytics tool for talent mapping purposes.

  • What data do we need?
  • Where can we get it? Obvious sources are the ATS, LinkedIn, Social Media.
  • Who can help get this data? Ask internally for help. Involve hiring managers and key stakeholders in the talent mapping process. Their insights and expertise can help give you a different view.
  • Can I automate the data extraction?

Visualisation: When you have done all the research you can create a visual dashboard. It is important to manage the  board’s or hiring managers’ expectations and present this in a compelling way.

LinkedIn Insights

Access real-time talent and company data worldwide with this tool. It connects you with top talent and provides personalised recommendations. LTI simplifies candidate discovery and provides suggestions for hidden gems you may have overlooked. Organize your talent mapping process based on your preferences, whether using an excel sheet or a high-tech platform. Regularly review and adapt your plans for optimal recruitment and sourcing outcomes. With the right approach, you’ll build a strong team that enhances your culture and drives business growth.