What is talent mapping?

In advance of live vacancies, a recruiter scours the market and identifies the top talent in a field. This process is called talent mapping. Potential candidates are sought out by the recruiter with short, medium and long-term employment goals in mind.

As such, talent mapping ensures that emergency hiring situations don’t leave companies powerless, waiting and hoping for the right candidates to apply. Chances are when a company utilises talent mapping, they have already identified a pool of candidates ready to go straight to interview.

When hiring for a live vacancy, a company will receive applications from candidates actively looking for a new role. However, this leaves a wealth of passive talent unexplored. Businesses can make quality hires by reaching out to those who are right for a position before a vacancy goes live.

This approach, therefore, provides companies with the opportunity to tailor a job role to the right candidate. As part of the process, recruiters can engage candidates to find out what it is they want from their next role. So, when employers are prepared, they can respond to a talent need swiftly and efficiently having already established relationships with suitable candidates.

In this sense, talent mapping can also be used purely for market research purposes. If a business wants to increase employee engagement and retention in the workplace, utilising talent mapping to understand what your competitors are providing can be a powerful tool. This can cover everything from the specifics of a job role and the expectations attached, to salary, benefits and seniority.

How can talent mapping support candidate attraction?

Talent mapping isn’t just about listing names, companies and locations. Rather, talent mapping aims to open up conversations with potential candidates and establish a relationship. By getting directly in contact with a candidate, a company is sending a strong message that they are particularly keen to work with that person. This then enables the business to establish if the candidate is interested in their potential offer and put a follow-up plan in place.

Previously, the market has relied on “employers choosing candidates”. However, while we are in the middle of a global talent shortage, the power is in the candidates’ hands. This doesn’t mean employers can’t still have a strategy in place to help them reach the best, most relevant talent in the market. However, it means employers need to utilise attraction campaigns and techniques to market their employer brand effectively.

Talent mapping is a hugely valuable asset to talent attraction campaigns. By having a detailed awareness of the market, and their competitors, an employer can ensure that they are continuing to provide the best offering. This can be utilised company-wide, to improve the overall corporate culture and work environment, as well as in attraction campaigns.

So, how does talent mapping work?

Talent mapping often requires companies to question what they want to achieve, and when they want to have achieved it by. As such, it is an essential part of any business which wants to put a successful scaling strategy in place.

Talent mapping creates a reference for the internal talent you have, and the talent you are likely to need. By mapping the company structure, you can then identify the talent gaps you will eventually need to fill. Identifying these gaps means that you can then look externally, if you need to, for the right people to fill those vacancies.

However, it also means that you can invest in training the team members in your company who could eventually fill those roles. Identifying potential in the workplace and investing in career development, in turn, promotes employee engagement and positive company culture.

Putting a strategy in place enables companies to put these plans in place with plenty of time to see them through. As such, talent mapping is not a quick, short term process. Rather, it requires a long-term investment to see the results that will make a difference. So, while planning ahead can be hugely effective, it requires the time investment to make it worthwhile.

How can my company implement a talent mapping strategy?

This is where an agency can prove itself most useful. Even if you don’t already outsource your recruitment processes, talent mapping can require time that your in-house team don’t have.

Alternatively, if you do outsource your recruitment processes, finding an agency which can combine both talent mapping with your day-to-day recruitment can mean that there is more value in the service you are receiving. With an approach that thinks ahead, you are much more likely to make quality hires with a greater chance of job satisfaction and retention.

Talent mapping is a highly flexible, versatile recruitment tool. As a process, it can be used to achieve such a variety of different goals that trying to put it in a box is futile. It is this flexibility that perhaps makes talent mapping a more difficult process to understand.

However, the goal of talent mapping is always to provide an insight into the market and can be undertaken with absolute confidentiality if necessary. It is the use and value of this insight that can then be used in a variety of ways to support your company. As such, talent mapping does much more than simply filling a role, giving your company both short and long-term employment strategies.