Talent Mining and the Future of Sourcing and Recruiting

Many people equate sourcing candidates with simply creating and running Boolean search strings.

In my opinion and experience, Boolean search neither adequately describes nor gives proper credit to what sourcers and recruiters are really doing when they leverage the Internet, resume databases, ATS/CRM applications and social networking sites such as LinkedIn to find candidates, and to what some very talented and highly skilled professionals are able to accomplish with human capital data.

I had the distinct honor of delivering the keynote presentation at SourceCon 2010 which was held at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. I spoke about a specialized form of information retrieval and text/data mining which I call talent mining, defined as querying and analyzing human capital data for talent discovery, identification, and ultimately acquisition.

At the strategic level, talent mining is the process of transforming human capital data into an informational and competitive advantage – much more than simply writing Boolean search strings.

Companies have been leveraging financial, product, customer, marketing and many other types of data for decades now, building data warehouses and using business intelligence solutions and analytics to make better, fact-based decisions.  I believe that we are just beginning to enter an age in which companies will start to understand and appreciate the power of leveraging human capital data to predictively identify more qualified candidates, make better hiring decisions, and make them faster and more efficiently than previously thought possible.

My vision and prediction of the next frontier in human capital and talent analytics involves companies building talent warehouses and specialized talent intelligence solutions that will enable them to quickly and predictively discover, identify and acquire top talent. While this may be many years off for most companies, it is quite possible to more effectively leverage the vast amount of human capital data available to just about everyone today. During my keynote, I detailed the 5 levels of talent mining, the specific advantages that talent mining affords over any other method of talent discovery and identification, and a glimpse into the future of sourcing and talent acquisition.

Below you can view the expanded version of the slide deck I used for the presentation, and you can view the video here. Enjoy!

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  • Kirstin Stokes Smith

    Thank you for posting this Glen. You’re laser-sharp and spot on — this presentation is gorgeous: compact yes, but chock full of goodies.

    best way to start the week,
    K.Stokes Smith

  • Joseph Louis

    Hello Glen,

    Thank you so much for posting.

    It’s Informative, pinpoint and very very useful for recruiters like us…

    Warm Regards,

  • MG

    Why make cold calling and referrals appear lesser than data mining? I think there’s room in the tool kit for all. A good sourcer knows when to use the right tool for the right project.

  • @MG – It was never my intention to make cold calling and referral recruiting appear lesser than talent mining. I simply compared the different methods of sourcing candidates on the dimension of predictive control of candidate variables. There is no question that cold calling and referral recruiting can produce candidates that may not be able to be found via any other method.

    However, when it comes to the control over a candidate’s specific skills, responsibility and experience, tenure, education, certifications, precise location (and thus desired commute), desired opportunity and desired compensation level, talent mining has intrinsic significant advantages over cold calling and referral recruiting.

    The reality is that cold calling and referral recruiting simply don’t offer much predictive control at all over the experience and qualifications of candidates. That fact does not lessen the value of those sourcing methods, however.

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  • Steven Yeong


    Great preso and content. Your views about predictive control is something that should be stressed more among those in management. It’s all about productivity and making better use of time.

    steven yeong

  • Vipin Sharman

    Thanks Glen as this stuff is magnificent for the recruiters.
    Your presentation gives strong basement for recruiters..

    thanking u

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  • So my question as a follow up to this presentation is, “now what?” Where do you go for talent databases if they are not readily available?

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