Do you use competitive intelligence for your hiring process?

Competitive intelligence can create more leverage than hiring the right Talent, but few organisations are using it actively to support their critical decision-making process.
In my opinion, competitive intelligence beats candidate experience, employer branding and any recruitment campaigns you are running on your career website. In fact, I dare say the value of competitive intelligence could potentially be greater than all the placements you have made for your organisation.
[Tweet “Is #competitiveintelligence more important than the most impressive recruitment campaign?”]
Competitive intelligence, in general, is an under-utilised resource in hiring because Talent Acquisition (TA) professionals do not traditionally work with a Talent Management or mini workforce planning mindset. Often than not, they are too preoccupied with getting out there finding the right people, filling the position and moving on to the next role. But I truly believe TA can be more.
To be able to offer competitive intelligence, particularly when it is unsolicited, is a very powerful way of gaining a seat at the table and becoming a sought-after business partner. And this requires taking a step back from filling jobs to see the forest, not just the trees.
Here is an example: you notice that a new skill set that is in demand in your organisation is present in external candidates who had gone through a certain career trajectory. These candidates would come from a certain background and have expanded their portfolios through training. Looking internally, you understand from the previous placements that you have made, that your organisation has people with similar background.
Using these intel, you present to your hiring manager a list of external candidates who possess the required skill set and their salary ranges. You then recommend training your current workforce to acquire this skill instead of bringing someone in. This might raise an eyebrow or two, because I don’t believe it is what most TA leaders would do, but it also shows how much thought you have put into ensuring the success of your organisation and that will go a long way towards convincing your hiring manager.
However, there will be occasions when you have to go external and you will need more than just internal intel to ensure you get the right people. Here is a list of the types of competitive intelligence that are useful to have so as to get that extra edge:

Value Proposition (EVP)

The most common type of competitive intelligence is to understand how your organisation’s value proposition compares to the market and it is typically rated by your Talent Pool, Pipeline or Community. This single piece of knowledge can be the difference in attracting the cream of the crop versus the kings of duds.


Understanding how your organisation’s salary scale compare with others can help you decide the type of remuneration package you should be offering your top candidates.

Gig vs. permanent

Should you offer a group of positions as permanent or contract? You really want the flexibility and agility associated with the Gig workforce but you are uncertain of the rates and whether you can access a skilled workforce of this type. Analysing how your competitors are managing this can help you figure out what is your best formula for success.
[Tweet “How much do you really know about how your EVP, renumeration, and workforce compare?”]
So how can you gain competitive intelligence? Here are some ideas:

  • You could survey your external Talent pool and your internal employees to find out where your organisation’s value proposition stands versus your competitors;
  • Analyse the content that your competitors push out on their career sites, blogs and social media to understand what is attracting Talent to them;
  • Analyse macro employment trends to identify potential key skills that might become critical to your organisation so that you can prepare yourself ahead of time;
  • Subscribe to sites that specialise in your key skills area to keep up with the latest developments in that space;
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis.

Competitive intelligence can help you understand the demand and supply of skills and enable you to evaluate your organisation’s position in relation to that skill. In addition, it can help you discover new Talent markets, beat the competition and more. It plays a crucial role in helping you make the right decisions, or to alter your hiring strategy, so that your organisation remains competitive in the Talent market.
Getting your intel right for your organisation will lead to a significant ROI and impact could be massive. So get onto it!
Cover image: Shutterstock

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3 Responses to “Do you use competitive intelligence for your hiring process?”

  1. Great post Trevor. Agree with your reasons why this is not happening. Maybe it’s time TA functions start having this as a metric. Philips in SEA is great example of this understanding all the market Intel about their identified High Value Talent. Another example of market Intel, target talent by researching share price value and if they joined when share value was high but has since gone south significantly then the identified talent are more likely to engage with an opportunity you have.

  2. Thx Martin, it really takes a sustained strategic approach with a strong knowledge of the business to make use of competitive intelligence.
    I appreciate your contribution and hope all is brilliant for you.


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