W hile there is no dearth of sources of competitive intelligence on the vast expanses of the internet, one of the most undervalued sources for competitive intelligence is job postings by your competitors. The information contained in job postings is meant to inform the potential candidates about the organization and the role, however, it can be a treasure trove of invaluable competitive insights for you. In this article, let us look at how tracking competitors’ job postings can help you in competitive intelligence, what to look for when tracking competitors’ hiring activities, a real-world example of job postings analysis, and how a competitive intelligence software can help you automate the whole process.
How does tracking competitor’s hiring activities help your firm?
An analysis of your competitors’ job postings can reveal details about their technology stack, systems, and processes. In addition, comparing present or past job postings might offer valuable insights into the direction the organization is planning to take. In addition, you can (almost) map their entire organizational structure, simply by following who the role reports to, including details around roles by function, job titles, nature of teams, departments, projects, etc. Job postings can also reveal operational insight by describing specific knowledge that a candidate must possess for the role such as technology, skills, certifications, etc. If analyzed properly, this is amazing ammunition for an organization in terms of competitive intelligence. It can show how the company (your competitor) is investing for growth, where they are expanding, and how your competitive landscape might change in the future.
For example, say your competitor is thinking about launching a new line of business. Here, analyzing their hiring patterns can tell you what kind of products, services, or initiative they’ll take. Thus, the job postings of a company are a leading indicator of its needs, that can be gauged to determine their strategy. By analyzing this data, companies can glean valuable insights that can be used to formulate a counter strategy before it is too late.
What to look for when tracking competitor’s hiring activities?
Now that we’ve established that tracking competitors’ hiring activities can be a great source of competitive intelligence, the question arises - what to look for when you do so? Below are some suggestions to get you started. These are based on the best practices that we’ve developed at Contify after serving hundreds of customers over the last decade:
1. The location of the job posting. Do they currently have an operation there? If they don’t, it might indicate a new operation, expansion, relocation or contraction.
2. Is it a new position or are they looking for a replacement? The job description sometimes indicates whether it is a new position or if it will be expanding a team. If nothing is mentioned, it might indicate retention issues? If so, why?
3. How long are the jobs open for? Jobs open for long periods of time might suggest they are struggling to recruit. If so, why?
4. Are they looking for a new set of skills and qualifications as compared to their earlier postings? This could indicate they are working on a new product or service.
5. Are they looking for salespeople or digital marketers or distribution staff or specialist engineers or software developers? What does this tell you?
6. What are they offering in terms of package and benefits? Something you could add to your offers? Does this make the competitor’s jobs more attractive to your people? What do you want to do about it?
7. What does the analysis of the CVs of their former employees tell you? When did they leave? Such an analysis could highlight a sustained redundancy program in your supposedly successful competitor.
Real-world example of hiring activity analysis
Let’s have a look at a real-world example of hiring activity analysis between consulting firms. Each of them have different hiring priorities that suggest a lot about how the firms operate and what their strategy might be. Have a look at the charts below:
The above chart represents the first step in the analysis of hiring activities, i.e. the number of job postings each firm has made in a given period of time.
The above chart represents hiring activities of a consulting firm by function. The maximum number of jobs posted are in the Analyst function, which clearly indicates that the firm is planning to extend increased support to their clients, and maximize their efficiency. Support and Engineering aren’t far behind. Combined, these insights suggest that the firm is about to acquire new clients, and more significantly, are planning to be a clear leader in the IT domain.
The above chart compares hiring activities, head-to-head, between two dominant management consulting firms. Both firms are putting emphasis on analysts. However, Firm A is more analyst-focused, with 67% of their job postings in this function. Their second largest share of job postings are in the Support function. This implies that their attention is focused on serving and retaining existing customers.
Firm B, on the other hand, while primarily focusing on analysts, also focuses on IT and Engineering, which means their simultaneous attention is on advancing their products and services. A valuable insight that can be gleaned from this chart is that Firm A is lacking a focus on improving their products/services, unlike Firm B. Firm A’s analyst-focused strategy can potentially impact their performance and ability to compete in the changing marketplace.
The above chart reveals the hiring trends of Firm A and Firm B over a period of time. This indicates the hiring patterns within these firms. It raises questions like: Why did Firm B’s hiring activities increase between September and October?
Note: The above images have been taken from Contify’s Market and Competitive Intelligence Platform.
How to perform a competitor job posting analysis?
Well, you could try manually following job postings on their company website, and follow multiple review sites where they supposedly post jobs. However, this can consume a lot of time and effort. There’s a better way to do this.
Specialized market & competitive intelligence software like Contify are specifically designed for customized competitive intelligence such as monitoring and analyzing job postings. Such software not only cut through digital noise on the internet, but also automate repetitive, and time-consuming tasks like collection and organization of information. This leaves more time for analysis and actual decision-making. Cutting-edge market and competitive intelligence tools offer a number of additional advantages including:
1. Identification of industry trends, and their visualization using intuitive dashboards, improving an organization’s response to such shifts.
2. Competitive analysis of an organization vs. its top competitors, which helps in assessing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, improving the organization’s response to competitors’ movements.
3. Centralization of the information collected from public and premium sources or paid analyst reports an organization may be using, saving time and effort spent in searching for information scattered across the organization.
4. Distribution of intelligence to various stakeholders and teams, in formats that are accessible, familiar, and relevant to their business function.
Manually tracking and filtering strategic information from the internet is not only difficult, but practically impossible. It requires huge investments in time, effort, resources and money, for running even a fragmented process of gathering and analyzing information. And more importantly, without a centralized repository of information that stakeholders can access, these competitor insights will likely be lost in a variety of disconnected systems, making it difficult to track changes, share ideas, and collaborate internally. This is exactly why management consulting firms depend on market and competitive intelligence tools like Contify.
Analyzing your competitor’s hiring activities helps you anticipate your competitors’ next big move. It is a great source of competitive intelligence that can help you develop better business strategies. Make sure that you use era-appropriate technologies like competitive intelligence software to anticipate your competitors’ strategies and stay one-step ahead of them. Although job posting / hiring activity analysis is just one use-case of competitive intelligence software, it sure provides enough intelligence to give an organization the competitive advantage they need to stay ahead in a competitive market.