Discovering the benefits of Talent Intelligence

GARY TOWERS • 08 Sep 2021

This article first appeared in Hr NETWORK
Scotland Magazine in September 2021.

Talent Intelligence is about bringing a different level of insight and understanding and knowing how to apply it to deliver benefits.

Blending data from outside an organisation, as well as data from it, our Talent Intelligence Unit has been created as a specialist division to analyse and improve an organisation's talent strategy, which improves their operational effectiveness making the roles of talent acquisition and HR essential when building a business strategy.

'One-click' reports that tell you 'all you need to know and what to do' are the pot of gold at the end of rainbow. It takes time to gather, evaluate and curate meaningful information. But it is the interpreting and knowing how to apply the learnings from that data, and to communicate it that is where the real value lies.

So how might this benefit my organisation?

By using organisational and external date companies are armed with insights for more intelligence-based recruiting, a competitive advantage, supporting common business goals and themes such as cost and time savings or increased service satisfaction. These might be broken down into more specific measures, that in-turn feed other goals and measures, with a tangible business outcome. For example: 

  • Reduced time to hire
  • % vacancy fill, and % first time vacancy fill
  • Reduced empty chairs or empty chair time =

  Increased end customer satisfaction

  • Increased Quality of Hire (measured through selection benchmarks, rejection rates etc) =
  • Increased staff performance =
  • Increased staff tenure =

  Increased end customer satisfaction

Measuring starting points, inputs, and outcomes is a fundamental component to success, ensuring lessons are learnt and continuous improvement, as well as providing case studies for external accreditation and awards. We summarise this as "A.I.M to succeed!"... (A - Analyse, I - Improve & M - Measure)

Where do you gather the data from?

We use a mix of internal and publicly available external data. There are companies that specialise in the supply of information as a paid service.



HR/L&D platform

Job Board/Job Board Aggregators

Google analytics

Candidate and employee surveys 

External - Public (often free of charge)


Freedom of Requests

Industry Publications

News outlets

Glassdoor ratings






What are you finding Of most interest in the world Of Talent Intelligence at present?

There is a dichotomy or paradox within recruitment at present: whilst organisations report increased and often, overwhelming numbers of applications, many (and often the same) organisations report struggles filling vacancies.

This is suggesting a mismatch, a lack of suitable candidates for the vacancies available.

862,000 jobs on offer between April and June 2021, 77,500 higher than the first three months of 2020. Biggest increase since records began. (ONS, 2021)

4.9% UK unemployment rate. The highest level since 2016 (ONS)

61% of full-time employees planning to switch jobs in 2021 (CareerArc, 2020)

80% increase in applications via Jobtrain Q1 2021 v Q12020

So, whilst advertising can certainly reduced in terms of volume or frequency, a more targeted 'sniper-like' approach and a carefully pitched EVP will be required to draw out the best candidates. Automation can deal with the unsuitable candidates efficiently. Skilled resources have departed post-Brexit, and so long term plans to train up future talent will also be required more than ever in some sectors.

Another growing influence on a candidate's choices of employer is their policies and practices with regards to equality, diversity & inclusion. A growing number of Jobtrain clients are participating in schemes and accreditations such as the Disability Confident or Athena Swan scheme and enabling key features to support this in their software and processes such as anonymous shortlisting, guaranteed interviews, and online accessibility tools to help those with visual impairments of dyslexia.

And this is not cynical virtue signalling. Dyslexia UK estimates 13% of UK adults have some degree of dyslexia. If we assume the same percentage for the 60million job seekers Jobtrain handled globally last year, that's almost 8 million.

Certainly, it seems to be the main area of interest for Senior HR leaders we have been engaging with, and so we ere finding it interesting that some organisations' talent functions have been dropping EDI monitoring. Whether that's due to perceived lack of use for the data, advice from legal counsel to remove it, to suit a 3rd party integration, or simply to make the application as short as possible to appease candidates remains to be understood.

Of the 61% of candidates who plan to change jobs in 2021 mentioned above, CareerArc found that over half expect some degree of flexible home working.

Whilst the majority do record data for protected characteristics, those who care for dependants are seldom being recorded as part of EDI. Yet, according to ONS 93% of males and 75% of females have some degree of dependent care to factor into their working life.

Of the 61% candidates who plan to change jobs in 2021 mentioned above, CareerArc found that over half expect some degree of flexible home working. The Economist's survey in partnership with Prudential found that 42% of employees say they will resign if they aren't granted permanent flexible work arrangements post lockdown. The question we have been putting to our clients is this: Could instigating or more actively promoting part time and location-flexible roles boost inclusion but also positively generate a larger pot of high-quality candidates from which to select your hires?

What do you currently see in the future of recruitment?

The buzzwords might change and the technology advances to support better methods, but the fundamentals of recruitment will remain - understand your target candidate, be clear about what you offer, truly engage them throughout the lifecycle, run efficient and fair processes, continually analyse and improve.

The labour market will change. Growing skills shortages will require longer term strategy, flexible working will grow, and flexible structures too - focusing on recruiting a flexible portfolio of skills rather than following rigid titles and structures.

Insights from data will be crucial to success. Talent Intelligence will be the competitive edge.

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