What is a Candidate Map?

Someone asked me to explain a little further about candidate mapping. Let’s take a look. 

What is a candidate map?

A candidate map brings meaning to a world of data. More specifically it brings meaning to a world of candidate data.. While there are millions of profiles on LinkedIn and on other platforms that use open web data like Referable, thousands of profiles also likely exist within your ATS or CRM awaiting updates and reviews.

A candidate map is a tool to identify the talent that is relevant.

One of the challenges recruiters face is that profile data from social media platforms, including LinkedIn, is often incomplete. This lack of information can make it difficult to determine a prospect’s suitability. Many LinkedIn profiles remain dormant or are only partially filled out and they often go ignored – even though they could very well be a super star candidate. We ought to find out if we can.

Candidate mapping involves collecting intelligence to identify suitable potential candidates. The key challenge lies in efficiently leveraging the team to complete this data, so that recruiters can focus on the high probability profiles. Ultimately, it’s about hiring the right individuals in the most efficient manner possible.

If I had to pin an explanation down to one sentence, perhaps this is it: A candidate map is a tool to identify the talent that is relevant.

Top of Funnel

Candidate maps start with “everyone” currently or previously employed by target companies. Depending on the size of companies the numbers may run in the hundreds of thousands so we need to filter this down into a meaningful workload. 

Middle of Funnel

Our objective is to hone in on relevant data, enabling our team to pinpoint the right individuals. Date stamps serve as useful tools in this process, highlighting instances where employment histories intersect with our team’s. If individuals have overlapping work periods, it’s likely they’re acquainted or at least aware of each other.

Knowing which team members can provide insights, we can approach them for potential introductions or to gather information about past colleagues. Additionally, identifying departments and specific keywords aids in discerning internal organisational proximity. For instance, if two individuals were part of the manufacturing sales division, it’s reasonable to assume they might be familiar with each other.

Bottom of Funnel

With the raw data in hand, a candidate map will leverage the knowledge of our network and peers, guiding us towards the high probability individuals we should prioritise. These are the candidates who can be referred or recommended—essentially, they’re “referable.”

While this process emphasises referrals and recommendations, it also underscores the importance of identifying who in our network can be instrumental in engaging and attracting the right candidates. Instead of recruiting alone, we can work as a team to ensure the right information gets to the right people at the right time.

We can look at a candidate map like a sales funnel or as concentric circles. Firstly there is everyone at the company we used to work at, let’s call it Acme Corporation. Then there are the people we worked with during our time there, and then there are the people we feel confident are suitable to work at our current employer. We may or may not be close friends with them or connected on social media, but we know who they are and we can share that information with the recruiter.

When you consider how many employees. you have now and how many target companies may hold the skills and experience we seek, we start to see the scale of the problem. Building a candidate map manually or on your own is near impossible for a single recruiter. Sourcing team members and recruiters need to build the map, but we need to leverage the team to identify the talent.

Better yet, we can use purpose built solutions like Referable to automate as much of this as possible so we only need focus on engagement and attraction! 

Who uses a candidate map?

Every industry that hires mid-career professionals benefits from a candidate map. Industries like technology, life sciences, legal and accounting, consulting, financial services, and so on are obvious targets. There could be formal qualifications such as a university degree or certifications that are required for our hiring, or there could just be a significant amount of experience that we seek to hire. When we are leveraging the team for intelligence we can even go beyond skills and experience, to look at values or competencies.

Spreadsheets & LinkedIn Projects

Spreadsheets are still a go-to tool for many recruiters. When we are talking about thousands of potential prospects that we need to screen down to hundreds or dozens, spreadsheets are unwieldy and unscalable. Worse is that once the owner leaves the company, spreadsheets often go unused, which is a colossal waste of talent IP. 

LinkedIn’s features are getting better and better but most non-recruiters don’t want to work in LinkedIn. Executives and A-players might help the recruiter once or twice out of courtesy, but interest in discussing project folders will drop off. They want the easiest way possible to collaborate and in its present form, LinkedIn is not that. 

Do you ever see those “People you may know” suggestions on LinkedIn? They hardly ever actually make any sense. When taking the screenshot below, only one person out of 10 were people that I actually do know. It is an almost useless feature largely because it doesn’t match up the time stamps. 

Do you ever see those “People you may know” suggestions on LinkedIn? They hardly ever actually make any sense.

Rather than build the candidate map manually, Referable does it automatically while also making collaboration easy.

Referable Networks

Referable brings relevance to “People You May Know” by matching employee networks across a range of data sources, including:

  • Open web data
  • ATS/CRM candidates
  • New recommendations

Rather than build the candidate map of referable networks manually, Referable does it automatically while also making collaboration as easy as a few clicks on any device. Employees don’t want to keep meeting the recruiter to do their job for them. If they can find a quick and easy way to get the same result, they will take it. We believe that a quick and easy way is Referable!

Looking at user data referrers supporting corporate or RPO recruiters give feedback on shortlisted candidates in just a few minutes, if not seconds. That sure beats holding a meeting that will include small talk and prep time up to 45-60 minutes. Collaborators want a better way!

Why is a candidate map different to LinkedIn connections?

Most referral platforms allow employees to upload their LinkedIn connections, but this has limitations. Our 1st degree contacts are already very well known to us and while having them in our ATS or CRM helps the recruiter, we are still limited to people we know intimately. When it comes to 2nd and 3rd degree relationships it is highly random. 

The power of a candidate map is that it includes 1st degree contacts but also includes people who we may not know well enough to connect with on social media, but we know by reputation. 

Where do you get the value from a candidate map?

Once a candidate map is developed it is easy to maintain and even if a team member leaves the company, if the IP is stored centrally then it remains as a corporate asset. 

Instead of spending all day screening cold prospects for a search, with a candidate map recruiters can kick off by focusing on high probability outcomes within the map.

That said, not all candidates will be ready to join your company immediately. Most will need the right kind of information and communication to bridge the gap between their perception and the reality of your opportunity. This is where a candidate map affords recruiters and team members who know the candidates an opportunity to plan their engagement. 

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