Conquering an uphill battle – How talent mapping helps companies avoid skill shortages

Three years ago, a recruiter’s biggest challenge was finding candidates during a world-wide talent shortage. 

In 2021 and 2022, employers were dealing with a candidate-led market, where talent had their pick of positions and the best applicants were scooped up in about 10 days. 

Today, businesses are facing the same problem for different reasons. 

As companies continue to navigate a concerning economic downturn, the tide is slowly turning towards an employer-led market, where businesses are now getting hundreds of resumes for each position. 

And still, recruiters are continuing to list a talent shortage as one of their top challenges in 2024. But this time, the trouble lies in finding skilled workers that fit increasingly technical, specialized positions, particularly in tech and healthcare. 

This is where talent mapping comes in. 

This long-term, Direct Sourcing strategy helps Hiring Managers attract, organize and retain skilled workers while avoiding the need for expensive emergency hiring.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is talent mapping? 

Talent mapping is a process that helps your company map the best candidates to the appropriate job roles to ensure your current and future talents’ needs are being met. 

It’s a long-term strategy that involves understanding your composition of talent and skill sets, evaluating future hiring needs, reviewing whether your current staff meets those needs, and finding talent in your industry that would be a good fit for future recruitment. 

If done correctly, talent mapping reduces the need for third-party hiring services and increases talent retention, which offers significant cost savings. It’s also an excellent way to capture skill gaps at your company and pinpoint candidates who have skills that may be needed for future positions or talent that can be re-engaged.

Skill based hiring: How talent mapping can help

Skill-based hiring has become a top priority for a growing number of companies trying to capture the growing contingent market. As technology evolves at exponential speeds, businesses are continually finding themselves with technical skill gaps that only highly specialized candidates can fit. Even in an employer-led market, these candidates are tough to find. 

Companies were especially hard hit at the end of 2022, when OpenAI released ChatGPT, a generative AI platform that created endless integration possibilities for B2B tech companies. Those who didn’t have workers who understood how to integrate this technology lost out to their competition. 

Companies who invested in Direct Sourcing strategies like talent mapping were able to adapt faster and quickly find candidates with the right skill sets. 

Taking a skill-based approach

Creating a skill-based talent mapping strategy is a long-term investment, but it has impressive gains. Before getting started, it’s important to build a solid talent value proposition to attract strong applicants. 

Once that’s done, here’s how to get started:

Step 1: Create a skills map

To start, your company should identify key skills that will be needed in the future. If you’re running a software development startup, for example, these skills may include mobile app development or Python proficiency.

You can do this using a talent matrix that explores how important each skill set is and how the business will be impacted without these skills. Check out our downloadable, located  at the bottom of the page, on how to create a skill matrix. 

Step 2: Find workers who can fit those skills

At this point, you’ll want to examine your talent communities for workers that fit these skill sets. TalentNet’s TalentBench platform allows companies to seamlessly build, organize, and engage with these communities, creating an easier talent mapping process. 

Making candidate personas – profiles for the ideal candidate – is vital for this stage. It’s also important to define the criteria you’ll be using. For example, do you want candidates with five or more years of experience, or are you looking for candidates with specific industry experience? TalentNet’s TalentNavigator platform allows recruiters to converse with the tool to find top talent using this criteria. 

Step 3: Get more info

Once you’ve identified a list of candidates, it’s important to collect data to understand where each individual fits on your skills matrix. You can do this by:

  • Creating talent surveys
  • Interviewing managers and workers directly
  • Using AI-driven tools like TalentNavigator to review each candidate’s job history and profile

Important data includes education and past experience, performance ratings, and career ambitions. 

Step 4: Categorize your talent 

With all the information you’ve gathered, you’re now able to place employees into the following categories to better understand who would be a good hire:

Category 1: Future Pipeline

These workers have developed their skills and are ready to get started whenever they’re needed.

Category 2: Future Investments

These workers have potential but need some training. They will be ready in the near future.

Category 3: Prospective Pipeline

These workers need to develop their skills fully. They require an investment from the company. 

Category 4: Not Worth Pursuing

These workers are still mastering current skills and are not ready to develop future skill sets. 

Finding the right talent faster

Talent mapping is an essential tool that helps companies navigate an ever-changing job market. With the right Direct Sourcing strategy, recruiters won’t have to sift through hundreds of resumes to find skilled workers. 

TalentNet’s intuitive platform allows businesses to build and manage diverse talent communities filled with skilled candidates. To learn more, check out a demo here

Complete the form below to download your copy of TalentNet’s Resource, Talent Mapping: How to create a skills matrix.