15 Competitive Intelligence Tools for Recruiting 8 Comments

Competitive Intelligence. It’s the systematic gathering of open information and analysis to provide a better understanding of a competitor firm’s structure, culture, behavior, capabilities, and weaknesses. While competitive intelligence as a practice is not new to the recruiting profession, it can be a key component to a competitive recruiting strategy when deployed properly.


Here are 15 tools that can be used to increase any organizations competitive advantage in the recruiting space.

  • Google Alerts: Keep tabs on what your competitors are doing, conveniently delivered via e-mail or RSS feeds.  What about “A” talent your keeping tabs on? Press releases? Financial information? The opportunities with Google alerts are endless.
  • SpyFu:  Spy on your competitors online.  You just need the site name, and SpyFu does the rest.  What keywords and adwords are they targeting and buying? How are they performing? What positions are the most competitive? What are the results?
  • SocialMention:  Receive free daily email alerts of your brand, company, CEO, marketing campaign, or on a developing news story, or a competitor.  This can be a powerful tool, and includes exporting features as well.
  • LinkedIn:  Where do I start with the possibilities here.  Track a companies new hires, promotions, people that have left, where they have gone, press releases, org charts, and on and on.  Do you follow your competitors pages?  If you aren’t taking advantage of everything LinkedIn has to offer, start with this one first for recruiting.
  • BoardTracker:  Want to know what people in forums are saying about you and your competitors? Find out with BoardTracker. It’s an innovative forum search engine that tracks messages and sends instant alerts from forums and forum threads of your choice. It searches over 37,000 forums representing more than 63 million threads.  Another popular option is BoardReader.
  • copernic.com:  A sophisticated tracking tool that looks for new content on your competitors’ web pages.  You receive an e-mail with a highlighted version so you know specifically what has changed.  If their career site is updated or new positions are added, you’ll know what’s changed and when.  This can be used on your desktop or iPhone / iPad.
  • Twitter:  Are you following your competitors and all their employees on twitter? How about the people that the competition is following, or those that engage the most with your competition?  Are you leveraging twitter lists? What lists do they use or subscribe to?  There are a lot of opportunities to leverage social media for competitive intelligence, though this one provides a lot of opportunities.
  • Twitter Search:  Twitter search is now the #2 search engine as of last week, according to several news sources.  Are you tracking what you should be? Some obvious choices include competitor names, product names, and appropriate keywords.  Use the advance search feature for even more options.
  • Wikipedia:  What’s out there about your competitors? Check out the business intelligence possibilities with one company’s search results on the Wikipedia site – for Walmart.
  • Slideshare:  Which of their employees are presenting? Where? What’s being published? Tap into this information with a couple of searches on the site, and you’ll quickly see what’s possible.
  • The Free Library:  A great source for articles and information on your competitors. You can browse by date, author, category and name.
  • Google Finance:  If your competitor is publicly traded, you can perform a search in Google Finance, where you can review income statements, latest news stories and blog posts about competitors and their business data.
  • YouTube:  Are you seeing video results for competitors? Have you subscribed to their YouTube channel?
  • Collecta:  What’s being talked about right now, and the trends?
  • CI Radar: CI Radar delivers key intelligence about competitors, prospects, partners, customers, employees, industry developments and internal threats and vulnerabilities.

Whether you use competitive intelligence for recruiting to get information on a company or their employees, there are multiple tools and approaches that can be used.  Sure, it takes time, but a lot of the tools available offer e-mail and RSS feed results delivered to you.  Time is a small investment compared to the return.

What other tools do you use for competitive intelligence?

About Jason Buss

Talent HQ’s creator and editor is Recruiting & Diversity Leader, Jason Buss. Talent HQ is a premier online news and information channel for the Recruiting and Human Resources community.

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  • Posted on: Monday, July 12th, 2010
  • This Post Has 8 Comments

    1. Phil North says:

      Jason, Awesome list, you’ve added some that I hadn’t thought about. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be sending it to all my colleagues…

    2. Justin Sivey says:

      Excellent article! I made reference to it from my blog. Though I can’t say that every tool is useful for every recruiting niche, the benefit of this article is that it shows the importance of creative thinking in regard to internet recruiting and name sourcing. I’m a fan of attempting to find use in the majority of tools one comes across. I attempt to find the most use from the free tools, but, as you’ll see from the list, sometimes it makes sense to pay a little.

      On a related note, we wrote a while back about using Simply Hired, LinkedIn and Zoom Info to gather quick and dirty competitive intelligence. In relation to recruiting the article shows another way to size up who is doing what (or who is hiring what) in a quick way using open resources. – http://www.thenamessourcer.com/2008/01/3-punch-relationship-to-free-quick-and.html

    3. Jason says:

      Thanks Phil, I appreciate it.


    4. Jason says:

      Thanks for sharing Justin.


    5. Kary Valley says:

      One addition I’d make is the Market Mapper tool by Broadlook. In a lot of cases, you don’t always know who your competitors are. Instead of guessing, Market Mapper allows you to build a targeted list of companies based on a set of keywords. Or, perhaps you need to segment a current list of companies in your CRM/ATS to find competitors. This tool is designed for these cases. You can view a video demonstration of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYg2DJFWQ3k

    6. Chris Hote says:

      Great list that should include compeititve intelligence platforms allowing hiring pattern analysis from monitoring job posting on corporate web sites, job announcements from RSSs, and other sources included as Twitter, FaceBook, Indeed, CareerBuilder ….

      E.g.: http://www.digimind.com

    7. Dawn says:

      Great Article! Learned about some new tools that I would have never thought about. Definitely will use these in the future. Thanks!

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