Why market mapping is critical to retained executive search

Market Mapping - Vaco

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

Identifying and recruiting top-tier leadership is a critical part of growing and sustaining a competitive business. The process of finding the best fit for your executive team, however, can be a complex and challenging experience. This is especially true in the current labor market, where companies are facing increased turnover at all levels, including among senior leaders and the C-Suite. The Great Resignation has left its mark on even the most tenured, experienced leaders: job openings for chief executives passed 40,000 in October 2021.

While thousands of companies are searching for their next C-Suite superstar, they’re facing increased pressure to identify top talent quickly and efficiently, against a backdrop of intense competition.

Pursuing a top leader doesn’t have to create a bottleneck in your journey to growth and expansion; there are strategies to help improve the executive search process and streamline the path from initial outreach to final negotiations.

Recruitment market mapping can help ease the burden of your search for top executive talent and help you identify ideal candidates for C-suite and board-level roles. 

Let’s look at how. 

What is market mapping?

Recruitment market mapping is the process of evaluating a market to determine the level and quality of talent available, as well as the employment status of key players within that market.

Market mapping for talent incorporates deep research, detailed analysis of data, and critical industry insights to identify key talent within a particular industry. Effective market mapping is wide-ranging, and helps businesses find ideal candidates to meet their unique needs—candidates that may otherwise be difficult to identify. 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 talent pool, composed of both active and passive candidates 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 to ensure that they’re able to attract top prospects. 

Learn more about Focus Search Partners, a Vaco Company.

Not only does market mapping 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?

Because no two executive searches are the same, executive search market 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 perusing 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 your company’s core strengths and offerings, they’ll begin assessing candidates and developing a list of top talent. 

At this point in the process, your team will begin shortlisting candidates who have the right skill sets—including both technical and soft skills—to move forward in your outreach process.

Read more: The most important qualities for the modern CFO

What are the benefits of market mapping for executive search?

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

To drive home our point, 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 your job description and expectations with current industry trends
  • Finding the right balance between skills and cultural adaptability
  • Gaining insight into competing corporate structures
  • Uncovering gaps in leadership staffing
  • Understanding your competitors’ priorities in hiring and the types of candidates and employees they pursue
  • Benchmarking organizational structures against your closest competitors
  • Discovering what’s driving industry growth
  • Identifying staffing and leadership needs for the future of your business
  • Creating an attractive and competitive compensation package
  • Setting realistic goals and expectations based on deep industry research
  • Finding the right combination of incentives to attract the perfect candidate

What can market mapping do for your company?

Talent 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 they’re actively looking or not.

While senior in-house HR specialists and hiring managers can conduct market mapping, it’s important to remember that effective market mapping is 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 take the time to understand your organization’s needs, values, strengths, goals, and opportunities. We’ll use this information to inform an extensive talent search that is tailored to your business’s goals and future vision.

Market mapping can minimize uncertainty while maximizing your executive search experience. Transform your leadership team with a consultative retained executive search partner. 

Learn more about our executive search solutions or contact us for more insight on market mapping for your executive search process. 

Focus Search Partners is the retained executive search division of Vaco.


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