Great recruiters and researchers use competitive intelligence in a variety ways to advance their organizations talent acquisition efforts and results – from industry information, company research, organizational charts, employee information, labor market information, and overall trends.
Recruiters that lead the way use competitive intelligence to position and drive influence with their hiring leaders.
And sure, while the best researchers have as many cell phones and numbers as they do accents for making calls, there are a lot of other ways to gather information quickly and cost effectively (usually free). While this list is focused on recruiting, it can be used in almost any research function. Here are 20 powerful competitive intelligence tools you can use in recruiting:
- The Free Library: A great source for articles and information on your competitors. You can browse by date, author, category and name. A quick example – I typed in the company Wells Fargo, and instantly came across information about a reorganization which included information about a new structure (including some names and titles). There are a lot of opportunities with this tool – this is just one quick example.
- BoardTracker: This powerful tool has near real-time monitoring with over 2 billion (yes billion) in-depth discussion posts from hundreds of thousands of forums and millions of users. You can get advanced alerts & tracking options with alerts by email, twitter, SMS, RSS, etc. Another popular option is BoardReader
- Google Alerts: Keep up to date instantly with what your competitors are doing, and have the results delivered to your email or set up as RSS feeds. Customize your alert to include specific people, press releases, financial information, etc. The opportunities with google alerts are endless.
- SocialMention: Receive free daily email alerts of your brand, company, individuals, marketing campaign, or on a developing news story, or a competitor. This can be a powerful tool, and includes exporting features as well.
- LinkedIn: For starters, follow your competitors pages. Check their employees updates, track a companies new hires, promotions, people that have left, where they have gone, press releases, research org charts, etc. If you aren’t taking advantage of everything LinkedIn has to offer, start with this one first for recruiting.
- copernic AGENT: Simply put, Copernic Agent is the best meta search engine that queries several search engines and aggregate the results to give you the best search results.Copernic Agent gives you the ability to search deeper into the Web and to get relevant, high quality results grouped into categories..
- Google Plus: Google Plus can be used as a source to find information on companies and employees. Not only are companies establishing their brand pages on the site, but individuals are sharing content about companies that have not decided to have a presence on Google Plus. Like with any other site, you might be surprised with what you can find in a short amount of time.
- Twitter: Are you following your competitors and all their employees on twitter? How about the people that the competition is following? Are you leveraging twitter lists? What lists do they use or subscribe to?
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: There is a significant amount of data available from the BLS that can be valuable information when used in recruiting and research. If you haven’t visited the site in awhile, I’d recommend taking a look at what’s available.
- Twitter Search: Twitter search is the #2 search engine. Are you tracking what you should be? Some obvious choices include competitor names, news, and relevant 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 Target Corporation.
- Job Descriptions: Do a quick search on job boards for competitive intelligence jobs to see what other methods or sources companies look for when hiring these professionals – it may give you some other ideas.
- Indeed: Yes, you can find jobs on indeed and see what jobs your competitors are hiring for, but don’t forget other Indeed tools including hiring trends, their online forums, and salary research.
- 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.
- 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.
- CI Radar: Automatically uncover competitor presentations, research, competitive analysis, etc. Documents can be automatically collected, filtered, and scored for relevancy based on your industry/market.
- Research firms: If you don’t have the resources, you can always rely on a research firm to provide you with information including names, numbers, organizational charts, etc.
- Company & Industry Information: Some of the best sources of information for competitive intelligence can be found in annual reports, analyst coverage, and industry analysis.
- Your employees, references, and candidates: They all sounds obvious, yet don’t forget about them. We’re hiring people everyday, and they can supply the most relevant information quickly – or put you in touch with someone who can.
A list of 20 tools can be overwhelming and it can take some time to look through and decide what makes sense for you to use. I’d recommend starting out by putting together a simple strategy. Then, start with the easy ones – that provide results sent directly to you. Also, carving out a couple of 30 minute blocks of time in a week can help to. It’s a small investment (time), compared to the return.
What other tools do you use for competitive intelligence?