The Value of Talent Mapping

candidate mappingWith both internal recruitment teams and external recruitment providers we are experiencing a greater level of discussion concerning talent mapping.  It’s clear to me that the value in candidate intelligence is becoming more obvious to organisations who want to gain the greatest return on their recruitment investment.

After all, aren’t the best purchases we make as individuals the ones in which we have had time to consider the options and find the product that best suits our needs.  All too often in recruitment, the options are limited as the approach is reactive and conducted under time pressure.

The opportunity for the internal teams we work with to have qualified information about technically suitable candidates, concerning experience, motivators, behaviour and appetite is ground-breaking for them.  The value they gain is not only the depth of insight we provide, but also the time they have to consider it; transforming many teams from support functions into proactive facilitators of talent to the business.

Recruiters and HR leaders are increasingly able to offer a fact-based external view to business leaders, helping them to play a prominent role in shaping people and growth strategies.

The quality of hire is heightened as decisions are made in less pressurised situations and a direct financial benefit is also experienced by the business through the sustainable nature of the talent mapping detail.  The talent identified are passed to the recruiter to own without ongoing placement fees, as such the most effective examples see organisations hire multiple candidates from a single talent map, reducing the cost per hire.

The opportunity for organisations to carefully consider talent in less stressful candidate engagement forums from the creation of talent pools and talent pipelines results in increased and better direct hires.  The caveat I should include here is that an organisation needs to ensure that they have the right skills within their recruitment team to conduct effective engagement both in and out of live recruitment periods.  The best examples of talent mapping will discover more passive than active candidates, as such the nature of conversations are likely to be more around the medium and long term, where the recruiter should gain an understanding of the individuals career needs and wants for the future, rather than assessing them against a specific vacancy. 

The ability for the recruiter to discuss vision, progression and culture becomes more important than the technical elements of the role.

Whilst the ROI benefits to the end employer are clear, we are increasingly being engaged by executive search firms to provide talent mapping services to enhance their senior hiring service. Our talent mapping solution to these businesses provides them with a flexible resource option to gather, identify and analyse senior talent with greater depth and breadth of research than they would traditionally produce for the customer.  As we focus our skills upon research, they are able to conduct increased face-to-face engagement with the highest quality individuals from which they can gain a greater understanding.

As the end customer will take advantage of our expertise to increase the time they spend in assessing and engaging potential candidates, the search firms are able to do the same.  In each scenario better quality of candidates are found for the employer.

Talent Mapping is not purely exclusive to the executive levels and whilst in the past couple of months we have mapped Pensions and HR Director level roles along with a CEO within the Social Care sector, we have also produced comprehensive skill maps for Healthcare professionals, Engineers and IT specialists for both the employer and recruitment providers.  These customers have discovered candidates they would not have seen through traditional methods, saved money – in one case a third of their usual recruitment budget – and improved the quality of hires. 

Talent Mapping is enabling organisations to become aware of better candidates, develop effective means of engagement, increase the time they have to build relationships with talent and ultimately create pro-active sourcing models which make a positive impact upon the business.  If it’s something you are not incorporating into your recruitment strategy, it’s likely your competitors are.


Marc Drew is the Managing Director of Cogito Talent Limited, a direct hiring consultancy helping organisations to improve recruitment effectiveness. To understand more about how talent mapping can help you to find quality candidates and add value to your recruitment performance visit, call +44 1179200125 or email

Are you up recruitment creek? Recruitment Research is your paddle!

recruitmentToo busy to be innovative, measuring performance by activity KPIs and failing to understand the views of candidates are 3 of the key reasons why I feel the majority of recruitment teams and their suppliers continue to do as they have always done.

The Creek

Technological advancement and the social media revolution have helped to streamline the process and broaden attraction in their respective ways, but have they helped to increase the quality of hires?  How long will the hiring community be happy to suffer the consequences of the status quo?  Isn’t it time for all recruitment decision makers to take greater ownership, influence the budget holders and invest in transforming the ways they attract talent?

I think so. 

Volume resourcing activity tends to force recruiters to get stuck in a routine.  The expectation to deliver the required number of CVs per role in the agreed timescales fuels the vicious circle and increases the pressure upon the recruitment team, this means that they cannot take time to analyse the individual requirements of the business and transfer talent needs into smaller segments. 

Volume leading to Pressure leading to Challenges quite often means one option; Outsource – driving down fees and pushing the problem elsewhere.

Are organisations considering how they could improve, and in what areas, before asking themselves if they need to outsource all of their hiring?  Where the best recruitment suppliers add value is through their particular specialism and strong candidate networks, consideration should be given to use them for that not to control how you hire.

Many HR leaders I have met with recently cannot confidently say that the outsourcing of all hiring really reduces overall cost, increases quality and improves stakeholder experience.  Very few feel they get innovation from their supply partner and are questioning if outsourcing in its current form is the right way to go.

What about the organisations that do not hire in the numbers to require an outsourced solution?  Typically they try advertising and referrals – usually unstructured – and rely upon third party providers to source talent for them.  Rather than utilising these as providers of specialists and skilled professionals the providers increasingly become an extension of the HR team, the danger here is that the default for the internal recruiter is to throw any vacancy out the door for someone else to own, reducing the direct employer to candidate engagement.

Filling vacancies shouldn’t always be a problem to off-load, it is a challenge to solve.

The Paddle

Utilising information and recruitment research to create recruitment plans and reviewing hires will improve performance.  Considering the effectiveness of previous tactics, identifying what good actually looks like and measuring the contribution that a great hire has on the business are the ways that recruitment performance should be assessed.  Benchmarking yourself against the best in the market sets you a clear goal to aspire too.

Some innovation and new ways of engaging talent is happening – change is afoot.  Organisations are increasingly talking more about assuming responsibility for the quality of the people they hire and how they do it.  I have spent the last few weeks helping one company to understand what candidates think about their business, the customer is tired of missing out on good hires or reverting to agencies to sell their opportunity for them.  This organisation is now aware of how they can improve their proposition to specific candidate communities.

Another company has decided to take control of their long term workforce challenges by implementing an early talent strategy which will utilise research findings of the best institutions for them to partner with.  Instead of staying in the reactive routine of advertise, agency and process management, they have decided to build a sustainable direct hiring model focusing upon entry level talent – a first for their business.

Many clients are understanding more about the challenges they face and how to solve them, developing plans which they will execute to directly hire.  To support this they realise that the Thought, Insight and Analysis, gained from recruitment research, have to feature in any progressive recruitment team which wants to become best in class and that the Resourcing Leaders should be empowered to take the initiative and manage upwards to affect change which will enable them to hire great people into their business. 

The how and who companies recruit is changing, organisations are evidencing that they want different, innovative and insightful solutions – make sure your company doesn’t get stuck up the creek without a paddle.


Marc Drew is the Managing Director of Cogito Talent Limited a direct hiring consultancy working with progressive companies with a desire to improve the effectiveness of their internal recruitment teams.  To find out how our Recruitment Audit and Recruitment Research services could add value to your recruitment performance call 01179 200125.