Boost Your Sourcing Game with Talent Intelligence

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Feb 25, 2024

What is the state of the labor market? How is the labor market affecting passive candidates? What are our competitors’ hiring practices? How do our former and current employees feel about a career at our company or at our competitors? The gathering of the answers to these questions, analyzing and applying the information to sourcing, recruiting, and hiring efforts is called Talent Intelligence and is an important tool to add to your sourcing tool belt!

When I started my sourcing career, I was changing careers from social work and didn’t know much about the labor market, sourcing, or even recruitment best practices. For me, finding out as much as I could about things like the labor market, information about our industry, why former employees leave our company, and why prospects are joining our company were the most natural places to start to understand my role at a macro level better. As I began to form a more holistic understanding of the labor market, I began realizing the benefit that my other team members could gain from receiving this information, so I started a weekly talent intelligence email that shared my findings. Below, I will share how I gather talent intelligence, how I share that information, how it is used, and why you should start gathering talent intelligence to position yourself as a subject matter expert.

Where do I find talent intelligence?

You have likely already started the work of gathering talent intelligence! Sourcers at their core are intelligence gatherers. We are constantly looking for the perfect candidate and gathering intelligence on the role for which we are sourcing from hiring teams, job descriptions, and even the pipelines we develop. This information helps us develop an understanding of the ideal candidate. Labor market intelligence is just another piece you need to add to your talent intelligence development!

Just as you start your sourcing searches with an idea of what you are looking for, establishing what intelligence you want to gather will be a great place to start your search. If you are interested in understanding the labor market better, starting with a site such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will help you understand and visualize the labor market on a macro level. Beyond the macro numbers and reports, subscribing to weekly newsletters such as “The Work Shift” written by Taylor Borden, editor at LinkedIn, can help give additional context to more complicated topics and reports on the labor market. Recruitonomics is another great site to subscribe to as they send out a newsletter with monthly labor market updates both nationally and internationally.

Once I find a site or author whose content I can understand and enjoy reading, I will subscribe to that site or individual, so I receive updates when they post again. Finding a good recruitment or sourcing-specific site that sends out regular communications is another great way to start expanding your labor market knowledge. Subscribing to a site such as SourceCon or Recruiting Daily is a great place to start. These sites offer reports on the labor market, webinars, podcasts, recruiting industry news and updates, as well as recruiting and sourcing insights written by both editors and industry professionals. Interacting with content written by industry professionals allows you to find other professionals in the industry and subscribe to their content, thus growing your pool of knowledge! Speaking of industry professionals, Recruiting Brainfood is a weekly recruitment-focused newsletter written by Hung Lee that provides news and updates on the recruiting industry, links to upcoming webinars, LinkedIn and general sourcing tips and tricks, as well as links to a weekly podcast hosted by Hung Lee where various recruiting industry topics are discussed.

Finding the time to search the web for relevant news and updates can be overwhelming some days. Luckily, there is a tool called “Google Alerts” which will search the internet for you based on a Boolean string you set up. For instance, let’s say you know that you are sourcing for a Tax Manager in Chicago with experience in the Energy and Natural Resources industry and you want to keep up on news and updates within that industry. You could set up the alert to send you updates every week using this string: tax AND energy AND (Chicago OR “United States” OR US) AND (policy OR news). When using this string, this article popped up and gave me some great insight into changes made for the new electric vehicle tax. The better you understand the work your prospect does, the more likely you are to find and connect with them!

Do you work as a sourcer in a specific industry? Look for industry-specific sites that post industry news, updates, and articles written by “community members” for insights directly from the type of talent you might be searching for. Within the Public Accounting industry, sites like The Journal of Accountancy and Accounting Today provide industry updates as well as articles written by industry professionals. Oftentimes, you can find recruiting-specific topics within these sites as well, which is a bonus! Have you searched Reddit or Fishbowl? Reddit likely has a “subreddit” for your specific industry. I follow the r/Accounting subreddit and the Accounting “bowl” on Fishbowl because professionals can post anonymous feedback and updates on industry happenings in these places. Though you can’t take everything as fact on these sites, it can be a great place to start your research and to understand how the professionals in the industry feel about certain news and updates.

What do I do with the intelligence I gather?

Once you’ve gathered information on the labor market, industry, or even information on your own company, you have leveled up your sourcing efforts simply by gaining and applying this knowledge. Let’s say that, through your research, you discovered a site where industry professionals can share peer-reviewed articles. Try starting your sourcing search on that site and find someone who is talking about an industry-specific issue that someone in the role you are searching for would be talking about. Once you find that person, ask yourself, “Is this person someone that could fit in my pipeline?” Even if they are the wrong fit, but are in the right industry, try to find the author on LinkedIn and see who they are connected with or what groups they are involved in! You now have information you can share with your hiring team about industry news, where candidates for this position are likely gathering/sharing information, and who they may be connected with, even if you haven’t found the “purple squirrel” yet.

By combining your knowledge of the labor market with industry-specific insights, you have not only gained an edge on your sourcing efforts, but you are also able to position yourself as a subject matter expert with hiring teams. Imagine being in a kick-off call with a hiring team and being able to share labor market information with industry-specific tie-ins. Your hiring teams are a wealth of knowledge, so becoming the labor market expert who is up to date on current industry hiring practices, how industry layoffs are affecting the labor market and could affect sourcing efforts, what the unemployment rate looks like for the particular region you are hiring in, and knowing what the sentiment is from individuals within the industry can all help set you up as a subject matter expert.

Talent intelligence makes us all better sourcers!

Sharing is caring and as sourcing professionals, sharing our talent intelligence findings with the recruiters and other sourcers on our team ensures everyone has a chance at growing and succeeding. If you enjoy writing, try developing a weekly or monthly “talent intelligence email” that summarizes the information you have found, and webinars that you are attending that others may benefit from, and you could even include any insights you discovered on the sourcing tools you use. If you want to take it a step further, share interesting labor market or sourcing findings to your LinkedIn to position yourself as a talent intelligence subject matter expert outside of your company or develop a blog where you become the author that you once were finding your intelligence from! When we share the information we gather, we all become better talent-sourcing professionals and contribute to the growing wealth of knowledge that is talent intelligence!

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