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What is People Intelligence?

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Think of people intelligence as a dynamic, continually updated map. It gathers information from a variety of sources, some internal, some external. It melds that data in a way that shows the route you’ve driven and presents options for the route you might take. It does this in real-time so that your decision-making is based on the road conditions of that moment. Broadly speaking, that’s what people intelligence does.

People intelligence is all about using strategy, technology, and actions to learn more about a specific group of people -- like, say, a company’s employees or candidates hoping to work there -- and implementing the tools and processes needed to address issues your data analysis may have uncovered.

It’s a practice that allows you to study how candidates and employees behave with an eye toward predicting what actions might improve their performance and morale. Because it provides real-world numbers, as opposed to estimates or projections, people intelligence allows managers to track developments in multiple areas of concern. By melding information from internal systems with public data, it allows them to study behaviors that are put into context by applying ever-evolving insights.  

For example, by leveraging hundreds of thousands of attributes, people intelligence creates profiles of current employees and sketches out the characteristics of candidates who could match their performance.

These “attributes” include any traits that could be used to make a talent acquisition decision, from what kind of roles the company needs to which individuals might fill them. Location, skills, stage relevance, and aptitudes, even intangibles such as entrepreneurial spirit, leadership qualities, or a get-it-done attitude, for example, can be used to identify candidates that are the right fit for open roles.

Because it works with great amounts of data, people intelligence is anchored by increasingly powerful automation and AI. And its use is growing. The research firm MarketsandMarkets recently predicted that the market for HR analytics would grow to $3.6 billion by 2024, a CAGR of almost 14%. Driving the increase: the need to automate HR processes, scale HR personnel efforts and improve workforce engagement programs. People analytics provides hard and deep intelligence to employers who want to improve their efforts throughout the employee lifecycle.

Gathering, Scrubbing, and Analyzing

At first blush, the idea of people intelligence sounds dry and academic. That’s not surprising. It’s about gathering, scrubbing, and analyzing data that paints a picture of workforce behavior under a range of circumstances that are increasingly granular.

But when employers dig into the data, the value of people intelligence becomes apparent. The insights it provides help employers measure how their strategies worked once deployed, then monitor ongoing performance in real-time. It helps managers identify trends in areas such as salary and compensation, retention, and the location of ideal candidates. All of this helps them make decisions with more information -- in fact, more accurate information -- than they’d otherwise access.

Of course, such approaches aren’t new. For years, marketing departments, sales teams, and customer service groups have used data to understand communications efforts, plan new campaigns and improve productivity. People intelligence simply brings these capabilities to HR and talent acquisition, who can employ them to plan their sourcing, execute on talent development and examine the performance of their campaigns over time.

People Intelligence at Work

When the right technology is applied, people intelligence enables companies to uncover trends and attributes within a data set. For example, using attributes allows talent acquisition teams to search across multiple data sets such as resumes, company information, and code contributions. Such searches are highly effective for filling targeted and hard-to-fill roles, as they generate a pipeline of candidates who possess the exact attributes necessary to succeed in a particular position.

People intelligence capabilities also integrate seamlessly with almost any ATS. Once the connection is made, the system automatically refreshes profiles with the latest candidate information, identifies fits for open roles, and allows recruiters to engage desired candidates with personalized campaigns.

In a similar way, people intelligence helps build diverse talent pools based on forecasts of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. Employers can source for diversity attributes alongside others such as career growth and company experience. At the same time, the system provides analytic insights about the talent funnel so managers can identify areas that can be improved or streamlined, strategies for how to improve, and the ability to measure the results of their efforts.

Popular Use Cases

End-to-end sourcing of hard-to-fill or executive roles

  • People intelligence enables talent teams to conduct real-world, ‘impossible’ searches that span across multiple data sets including resumes, company data, code contributions, etc. These searches are highly effective for hyper-targeted, hard-to-fill roles and generate a pipeline of candidates who possess the exact attributes you’re looking for in real-time.  Automated, personalized campaigns can then be used to engage those candidates effectively.

End-to-end sourcing of high-volume, evergreen roles

  • Using People intelligence talent teams can create reusable Ideal Candidate Profiles for evergreen roles and generate a high-quality pipeline of matching candidates. You can then launch automated campaigns on matching candidates without taking up valuable resources on your team and deliver interested candidates straight to your ATS.

Candidate rediscovery (ATS)

  • This is the process of automatically refreshing profiles in your ATS with the latest candidate information, identifying matching candidates for open roles, and engaging those candidates with personalized campaigns.

Diversity sourcing & analytics

  • One of the most important use cases for people intelligence is enabling companies to source for diversity while meeting their compliance requirements. This is done by building a fair talent pool based on its probabilistic diversity. People intelligence also delivers analytic insights into the talent funnel so you can identify what’s broken and how to fix it and measure progress towards your goals.

Internal mobility

  • People intelligence helps talent teams to search across internal employees for matches to open roles and see how to develop employees based on the attributes needed for success in their desired career path.

Connections & referrals

  • On average 30% of roles are filled through referrals. People intelligence enables talent teams to identify internal employees that previously overlapped with sourced candidates (school, work, professional associations, etc.) You can then identify the best source of candidate referrals and initiate the referral process with a seamless workflow that places the lowest burden on the referrer.

Dynamic market mapping

  • This is the process of better understanding the talent market and individual talent pools for specific searches. Using people intelligence, you can:
  • Review your talent pool broken down by attributes including education, experience levels, diversity, etc.
  • Review matching candidates by company, category, business model, funding, stage.
  • Review matching candidates by geographic locations using a browsable, interactive map
  • See up to date org charts for every company and search by reporting structure

Pipeline analytics

  • Once talent teams have found and contacted great candidates, they need to ensure they move them through the talent funnel. People intelligence enables you to identify the sources that led to hired candidates, see which recruiters have been populating the funnel, see conversion rates, etc. at every stage of your talent funnel for all sourcing channels.

Competitive benchmarks

  • Using people intelligence, companies can benchmark any attribute or combination of attributes in real-time - internally, against multiple competitors and peers. This helps you to identify talent gaps. You can also see benchmark data over time to reveal trends.

The Importance of People Intelligence

In short, people intelligence allows systems to work more intelligently and talent acquisition teams to work more efficiently. The systems use automation to scale their efforts beyond the capabilities of human staff, while increased automation and efficiency offer cost savings and help recruiters determine where, for example, additional resources should be applied and which recruiting events the company should attend. Examining attributes increases the quality of each match and by its nature increases the pipeline’s diversity. And, attributes make talent acquisition teams more strategic in their thinking, as they come to understand benchmarks, sourcing, exits, and how hiring truly aligns with company needs.

Finally, people intelligence helps talent acquisition groups plan effectively for the future. To succeed, they need to have a realistic, unbiased view of what works -- and what doesn’t -- in their approach. That means identifying their strengths and weaknesses in an unbiased way.

At the same time, accurately defining the skills and personality traits that best fit a role helps recruiters do a better job of describing, attracting, and developing the candidates they need. Doing that requires them to examine their efforts with the goal of understanding what actually happens at their company, as opposed to what was planned or hoped for. For example, look at the number of interviews candidates must navigate before a decision is made, and how many candidates drop out along the way. With people intelligence, the system gathers both internal and external data to help tailor your process to the real-world needs of your business. That can make the difference between being an industry leader and an also-ran.


People intelligence helps companies build more engaged, diverse teams and close their talent gaps more quickly. With AI and publicly available data, it uncovers the best talent with the diverse backgrounds and experiences your company is looking for. And, with all of its attributes and other information in hand, businesses can become more proactive and accurately predict future hiring plans, even as they lower cost and time to hire.

With all this information in hand, talent teams can become more proactive and accurately predict future hiring plans while lowering the cost and time to hire.

Backed by AI and all the world's people data, Findem’s People Intelligence platform empowers talent leaders with the data-driven insights they need to architect and develop a best-of-class workforce. With Findem's platform, companies can uncover the talent attributes that matter most to their business goals, benchmark their talent internally and externally, identify skills and diversity gaps, and fill those gaps through automatic introductions to exceptional and interested candidates—all without bias.

Learn more about how Findem can accelerate and elevate your talent acquisition process by requesting a free demo.

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