Why is market mapping an important part of a retained executive search?

Vaco - The importance of market mapping in executive search - blog graphic

Why is market mapping an important part of a retained executive search? Because it’s where all of the magic happens.

Market mapping plays a vital role in the world of retained executive search. Market mapping — also known as talent mapping or talent market mapping — is a strategic consulting service performed by top-tier retained executive search firms to help identify ideal candidates for C-suite and board-level positions.

Companies working to recruit the very best talent for their executive positions can use market mapping to identify industry trends and salary information. Researchers also rely on the practice to home in on the types of skills new executive hires need for immediate and sustained success. 

There are all sorts of reasons why companies partner with retained executive search firms and finding top-quality candidates who are in the market — if not on the market — is at the top of the list. 

What is market mapping?

Talent market mapping is a retained executive search best practice that combines deep research, detailed data analysis, and industry intelligence to find top candidates within a particular industry. 

Wide-ranging and proactive, market mapping helps clients find perfect, hard-to-identify candidates. When done right, talent mapping identifies and tracks the positions, expertise, and career trajectories of key individuals across related industries. 

The market mapping process yields a robust list of all possible candidates — both active and passive — who should be considered for leadership positions within a given organization or industry. The information gathered during the talent mapping process can also help companies develop highly competitive compensation packages designed to attract top-tier talent. 

Vaco’s retained executive search firm, Focus Search Partners, uses executive talent market mapping to provide clients with customized market intelligence and in-depth analysis of the candidate pool.

“We have the expertise of identifying specific candidates within a given ecosystem. So even though we may not know them right now, we will. We have an entire team of researchers and analysts who are constantly bringing us new information and new candidates for our clients,” says Connie Adair, managing partner at Focus Search Partners.

Not only does it expedite the search process, but the discreet and confidential methodology also helps ensure a successful executive search. Retained executive search firms that engage in market mapping, like Focus Search Partners, help companies bridge the gap between immediate requirements and future needs. This kind of foresight helps improve search quality, efficiency, and candidate retention.

How does the process work?

As no two executive searches are the same, talent mapping varies depending on the scope of the search, the industry, and the client’s unique needs. Typically, however, market mapping involves a high degree of transparency and communication, a solid database, lots of research, and in-depth analysis.

Step 1: Populating the database

Typically, the process begins with industry research to identify competitors and opportunities in a given market. Then, researchers will begin collecting the names of key players, industry superstars, and rising leaders — regardless of whether or not they’re actively seeking new opportunities. 

Step 2: Digging deeper

Next, these intrepid executive recruitment researchers will start searching the internet and scouring public databases, news outlets, social media, press releases, and annual reports for more information about the targeted individuals. This is the kind of substantive and contextual information that retained executive search firms use to build detailed candidate profiles for their clients. 

Step 3: Assessing candidates

Once a retained executive search consultant has a clear sense of your industry and the strengths and opportunities that your company has to offer, they’ll begin assessing candidates and developing a list of top performers. At this point in the process, your team will begin shortlisting candidates who have the right hard and soft skills for future consideration and outreach.  

What are the benefits?

We’ve already spent some time discussing the most obvious benefit of talent mapping: finding top leadership candidates who have the skills and experience to transform your company. 

Here are a few additional benefits of market mapping:

  • Fast-tracking the search process with a pre-screened set of candidates
  • Identifying star performers and high-performing talent within your existing pool of employees
  • Aligning job description and expectations with industry trends
  • Finding the right balance between skills and cultural fit
  • Learning about competing corporate structures
  • Uncovering gaps in leadership staffing
  • Understanding how your competitors operate and the types of people who work for them
  • Benchmarking organizational structures against closest competitors
  • Discovering what’s driving industry growth
  • Identifying staffing and leadership needs for the future
  • Creating an attractive and competitive compensation package
  • Setting realistic goals and expectations based on industry research
  • Finding the right combination of incentives to attract the perfect candidate

What market mapping can do for your company

Market mapping offers a data-driven, intelligence-based overview of the best talent available in your industry and beyond. Whether you’re conducting a global or a local search, getting ready to launch a search, or starting the succession planning process, market mapping helps you find the best potential candidate — whether or not they’re actively searching for new opportunities. 

While senior in-house human resources professionals can conduct market mapping, when done right it’s a time- and labor-intensive process. Many companies lack the resources and expertise to conduct the kind of in-depth research that market mapping requires.

How can Focus Search Partners help?

Retained executive search firms, like Focus Search Partners, have dedicated teams of researchers and analysts who specialize in mapping. We’ll get to know your organization, needs, values, strengths, goals, and opportunities. We’ll use this information to inform an extensive, custom talent search for your corporation.

Market mapping can minimize uncertainty while maximizing your search. Transform your leadership with a consultative retained executive search partner. Contact us to learn more about market mapping and our consultative approach to executive search.

Download our eBook to learn more 


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