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What Is Market Mapping and How Do You Do It?

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Are you just throwing a job advertisement out there hoping to catch a quality candidate? Don’t fool yourself. Recruiting like this is the equivalent of bad fishing techniques. Throw the old, stale bait out into any old pond and wait to see what you catch. While this may be the simplest method, there’s not much chance of catching the big fish.

A better way to approach attracting candidates to your business is known as Market Mapping.

Market Mapping is outlining the employment setup of the current market – particularly of your competitors.

Why Would You Create a Market Map?

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1. Figure out who to hire next

Do you know exactly what role you’ll hire next? Do you even know if you can afford the role? Getting an understanding of how your (often larger) competitors structure their companies will give you a vision for your own future.

It’s valuable to know how much you need to pay a top-level Marketing Manager, so that you can decide to quit outsourcing at the right time.

If you’re right at the cusp of growing into a larger organization, knowing the set up of your larger competitors will help you see your own next step. Perhaps your #1 Competitor has a marketing team of five and you like their setup. You can use a market map outlining roles and showing how each one contributes to your company’s success to convince your team of the value in adding a person to your team.

2. Identify and attract high quality passive candidates

Of course, the core reason you put together a Market Map is to begin attracting high quality candidates to an open role (otherwise, why do it at all, right?). A market map also allows you to approach passive candidates directly, confident that your role will be of interest and in the right salary ballpark.

For example, one recruitment organization put an executive marketing position for a well-known brand on the major job boards. It was an exciting opportunity but it didn’t receive any quality leads.

However, because they had a market map already developed, they knew who to contact. When asked, many of the candidates who eventually were contacted and interviewed said they had seen the role but hadn’t applied.

They needed encouragement … a personal invitation, to join. This is the difference that Market Mapping can make in your recruitment processes.

3. Keep tabs on people you meet

It’s possible that the recent graduate you met at networking drinks last Friday will be the right person to take over your marketing function two years from now. The fact that you remember meeting them two years prior and can congratulate them on their career ascension stands you in good stead of landing them for your role. Keeping a map of people you know who may be useful to your company in the future can be useful in many different settings.

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Market Mapping is typically a term only used in larger companies because it used to take significant resources to build up a comprehensive and useful market map.

As with everything though, times they are a-changing! Social networks like LinkedIn and anonymous information sharing websites now allow anyone to put together a simple market map.

4. Identify your competitors

The more market map sources you have, the more time it will take to put together and maintain. Identify who your competitors are, specifically focusing on those who represent what you would like to be like in a few years. Identify companies that house employees with the skills you want in your own team someday. Include a smattering of different sized organizations so that you can figure out a general pathway from small to big.

5. Decide what information you need to know

You’ll get the best value from your time by focusing your market map on the areas most helpful to you. Don’t try to map every employee of each of your competitors. What’s the first role you think you want to hire? Focus on just this role across all of your competitors and perhaps the roles immediately around it.

6. Research the roles and folks who have them

LinkedIn has made market mapping significantly easier. Now you can get a rough idea of the roles of your competitors and who is filling the functions in those roles with just a few minutes of searching. Put these into a spreadsheet or a mapping software – somewhere you can save the info and access it later down the track.

7. Get Additional Information

You can even check out how much people in roles like the ones you’re thinking about are earning with Glassdoor.com or by checking out the roles posted on AngelList. Even if they don’t list your exact competitors, chances are that a similar role will be on one of those sites and you can assign a probable salary to future candidates.

Once you gather all this information, you should have a pretty good idea of what roles you need to hire, what your competitors are doing, what potential candidates look like, and how much money you’ll need to pay. This information will make it easier for you to figure out whether you need to staff up the roles you’re thinking about and whether you can afford it.

Even if you don’t want to dedicate the resources to building a comprehensive market map across a particular section of your industry, it’s a good idea to start compiling a list of people you meet or come across that may assist you in the future.

You never know when the information you have gathered will be useful!

Jenn Steele

Head of Growth at RecruitLoop. Previously at Amazon & HubSpot. Passionate about growing humans and companies, working out, and wine. Also blogs on leadership at leadinggeeks.net. Follow her @jennsteele.

  • Radhika

    Hi Jenn,

    Thank you very much for your valuable insights into Market Mapping, and how to go about it. This is the best article I’ve come across on this topic. It has helped me very much.

    Thanks and regards,
    Radhika

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