Tag Archive for Talent Mapping

Accelerating Talent Networks/Communities With Talent Maps #SocialRecruiting

Talent networks and talent communities take time to build. I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot recently. One of the most interesting businesses I got to spend time with last year was Talent Works International, based out of Northampton, who have 9 offices across the globe. Talent Works are an evolution of a recruiting business, launched by I.T. recruiter Neil Purcell. Talent Works International are experts in the art of talent mapping, and it is talent mapping that I believe that might just be the accelerant needed in the talent network/community building process.

Talent mapping  means  identifying talent by company, job role or department and profiling them. Talent Works sit somewhere between researchers who name gather and recruiters who are looking to fill job roles with interested candidates. Theres quite a few benefits to taking this approach beyond hiring. You get real-time feedback on your employer brand, get to understand the real perception potential employees have about you as an employer (whatever that may be), and get to identify who to hire now, and who you might want to revisit at a later date.

Recruiting projects tend to be concerned with who you want to hire now. Who fits a job and who is interested in a particular opportunity at this moment in time. Understandably recruiters are largely transactional and concerned with the now. Pressure from clients or hiring managers mean they need to operate this way, with little time to look to longer term requirements. Talent mapping allows for a longer term view, a more comprehensive look at all the talent in the market, and to build relationships for the future. Talent mapping isn’t about list building or putting names in a database, it goes well beyond that. Profiling the talent identified, which can only be done by conversation and a relationship that goes well beyond the first approach, and it’s also not exclusive to social media or on-line research, with about 40% of talent choosing to exclude themselves from social channels. If it is an approach you are considering, I recommend you take a look at Talent Works. They also have offices in Miami, China, Israel, Holland and Romania, so they can take a global approach. 

Building effective talent networks or communities takes real-time. The Kevin Costner adage of “If you build it they will come.” doesn’t really apply.” I’ve heard Quezia Soares, the recruitment marketing manager of Accenture speaking, and explaining that they are not expecting a real return from their talent network for 3 years.(Quezia will be a track leader at #trulondon so expect more of this.)

The companies that are performing well in this area have all been active for a number of years. Networks, communities, followings all need to be built piece by piece by piece, tweet by tweet and post by post.Success and rewards are coming now, but it has taken time. The biggest lessons I’ve learnt from Oracle, and other projects is that the results aren’t instant, and in the first few months it can seem like you are wasting your time. You need perseverance and belief before the rewards come. There are exceptions to this rule, like the Hard Rock Florence story I have blogged about many times, but the exception came about because there were immediate hiring requirements and a strong employer brand.

I was discussing this problem with a client last week, putting together the plans to build a talent network. They understand that it’s going to take time to build a network that gives a significant return in hires, but they don’t have the time to build it. We need a plan that will speed things up, which lead us to discuss the sourcing and re-sourcing team, and how their role might change. The reality is that if you can make all the candidates who have applied to you in the past and are lost in your ATS searchable and accessible,then you have a good base to start a talent network. You can bring in an expert like Talent Works to do this for you, or consider how you might be able to structure your own team to do this.

One consideration in this area is how the sourcers roles might change. If you can map out the market, in terms of organisations you know employ talent with the same skill sets as you, and you map out the people you are already connected with in those organisations and roles, then you can identify where you have holes in the map. Once you know where the holes are, a good sourcer can go about the process of identifying the names to fill the gaps, creating a target list for conversations. Mapping should look internally in your organisation, as well as externally. Internal mobility is becoming increasingly important to organisations these days, and a talent map should cover and profile all the talent, including your own.

This takes the role of sourcer from finding talent for open requirements, to finding talent to build the network. Proactively using their talents and skills to recruit in to the talent network or community rather than in to open requisitions. Changing this focus (and targeting) I believe will accelerate the building of an effective network or community for the hiring organisation.  The role of the recruiter is focussed on always searching the network or community first. It is conceivable that if the sourcers are building have built the network or community to critical mass, there will be no need to look or advertise outside.

U.K. Sourcing expert Katharine Robinson aka: @TheSourceress will be leading a track at #trulondon on the role of the sourcer. Martin Lee of Talent Works International will be leading a track on the art of talent mapping. I’m expecting the part this pro-active approach to building talent networks or communities to play a part in the conversation. If your thinking talent networking or communities, then you need a plan for populating them, because if you build it, they won’t just come!



Talent Works International

Quezia Soares

Katharine Robinson

Martin Lee


Announcing TalentWorks 2011. A free talent event in Miami hosted by @mytalentworks (16/11/11)

In the old days, wars were fought by feet on the ground, or who had the biggest stick. It was less about intelligence and more about brute force. Who could hit fastest, hardest, first. You only have to look at the German strategy of Blitzkrieg which overwhelmed France so quickly in the last world war. The enemy was easy to define. They wore different coloured uniforms for a start.
The real turning point came during the second world war, when the Allied forces set up the fantastic code breakers camp at Bletchley Park. The Polish navy managed to steal the Germans enigma machine, that enabled the Germans to communicate via an unbreakable code, and move with immunity. The code-breakers achieved the unachievable and cracked the code. From this time on the Allied forces knew what the Germans next move would be, and armed with this intelligence, accelerated the end of the war.

The modern-day war on terrorism is even more about intelligence, and less about force. The battle lines are blurred,the enemy is hard to spot without any uniform or badge to mark their allegiance. Battle lines are based on intelligence gathering. Listening and deciphering the clues that enable targets to be identified and understood.

Talent acquisition is often termed the “ war for talent.” In my last post I talked about the war for talent, or more specifically the war for other people’s talent. Intelligence plays a key part here. Knowing who the talent is. Where they are located, and what they are thinking in terms of career. What people think about your employer brand is essential for knowing what you are getting right, and what you might have to change to attract the talent essential to your business.

I understand about the technology and the psychology behind talent networks and talent communities. The hard part is how to populate the community. Do you build and wait for them to come, push an advertising strategy through Facebook or another channel or go out and actively source talent in to your community?

I recently met with Neil Purcell who founded talent mapping business talentworks international. Neil has grown the business rapidly, with offices and teams in the U.K, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Romania, Holland, Israel and has recently opened in Miami, USA. talentworks offer 3 different services, Recruitment Research, Talent Pooling and Market Intelligence. 

The business is retained to locate and identify talent based on job role, division or market who are working for competitor employers, profile their background and make voice contact. This enables the team to get a clear understanding of who is where, what their career aspirations are, future plans and view of the hiring company. This enables the hiring organisation to know who will be receptive to an approach now, the market perception of their employer brand, and a whole lot more. TalentWorks provide the intelligence in the war for talent, globally or locally.

To mark the launch in Miami, we have been putting together “TalentWorks 2011″, (#TalentWorks), a free talent conference on November 16′th. We will be featuring 3 key-note speakers with expert knowledge in the talent arena, from communities to talent acquisition.

Marvin Smith

I’m delighted to announce that the opening address will be delivered by none other than Marvin Smith, Senior research Recruiter at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Marvin is recognised as being one of the forefathers of the talent community concept, having been involved in building communities since 1986 for a range of organisations, principally Microsoft.

Highlights of Marvin’s  bio reads:

Talent Community Evangelist.Microsoft.

“In this role, I identified current and future talent (employees) for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB). This Talent Community Evangelist role is a hybrid role that is part program manager, part marketing, part research & competitive intelligence, part sourcing and part recruiting. Specifically, I find the target talent that is needed for our businesses and create opportunities for conversations with that audience. This workstream was a part of the pioneering talent community development pilot at Microsoft.”

I will be confirming 2 other speakers of similar standing over the next few days. In addition to the key-notes, we will be hosting interactive discussion sessions to allow participants to discuss their individual issues and needs, followed by a networking party.If you are interested in attending, invites will be available from Monday, in the meantime, if you want to know more, leave your questions in the comments. This will be a great way to advance the talent intelligence conversation!

Hope to see you there,



Neil Purcell

Marvin Smith