• Authors: Bob Bellano, Fariman Felisa, Donald Parker
  • Author Fields:
    • Author Name: Bob Bellano, Author Position: Senior Partner, Los Angeles and Newport Beach, USA
    • Author Name: Fariman Felisa, Author Position: Managing Partner, Paris, France
    • Author Name: Donald Parker, Author Position: Senior Partner, San Diego and Newport Beach, USA

An assessment of what talent is potentially available for a particular role in your organization can solve a number of hiring and personnel challenges. There are four clear advantages to using this approach.

What is a market scan? 

A market scan (otherwise known as ‘market mapping’ or ‘talent mapping’) is a strictly confidential and thorough search and analysis of the potential candidates that may be available for a particular role or human capital problem. It provides valuable real-time insights and data that enable companies to make more informed and strategic external hiring and internal promotion decisions. It is also an excellent way of preparing for and speeding up succession planning whenever it occurs.

There are a number of stages throughout a market scan process. Initially, we work with the client to come up with a position description for the role that they are interested in exploring. Once this is established, we create a long-list of potential candidates for the role, and have an initial conversation with as many of these as possible about the potential opportunity, whether they would be suitable and interested, and what their compensation expectations would be. Whilst conversing with potential candidates, the identity of the client is not revealed.  

From there, we build out anonymized profiles of the most promising individuals and send a detailed report to the client. Candidate backgrounds are detailed and structured for ease of comparative assessment, but are completely confidential - no contact information is shared with the client. Usually the best 8-15 people are profiled. 

For example, for a recent market scan mapping project in India, NGS Global initially mapped 98 individuals for a potential succession to the Country Managing Director at a global transportation systems, equipment and services company. We spoke with 80% of the target universe, and the final report contained the detailed backgrounds of nine high potential candidates. 

Once the project has concluded, the client can choose to continue the search process and convert the market scan into a retained executive search. We would then work closely with our client to fully screen their selected profiled candidates and complete the interviewing,  referencing and employment offer process to secure the best talent for their needs.


Market Scans: Four Key Advantages

There are four key advantages for companies undertaking a market scan: sanity-check internal thinking, market intelligence gathering, a consistent methodological approach and providing a diversity lens. 

1. Sanity-check internal thinking

A market scan allows companies to check their own preferences with regards to a particular external hire or internal promotion, particularly at the executive level. A scan allows your organization to benchmark a preferred internal candidate with external talent. Calibration of a company’s internal assumptions with a big-picture reality check is an often overlooked but crucial aspect of the hiring process. This is particularly relevant on the back-end of COVID, where working modalities and styles have shifted greatly. Sometimes a company may have concerns or issues that may not end up being a problem for the market at all. 


Companies can also create an ideal role ‘on paper’ that best fits their needs, and define this position quite specifically (by skill-set, by geography, by industry, by seniority, etc.) and then a market scan can sanity-check whether people are potentially available that exactly or closely match those attributes. 

2. Market intelligence gathering

More broadly, and perhaps even more advantageously, a market scan can provide critical intel about a particular position: how it is compensated, where it is heading, and how that role is structured. This includes insights about a company’s competitors and how they manage and structure certain roles. 

It can also be an important way to garner competitive insights about how much the market values a particular skill-set or talent, by region, industry, or any other number of variables.

3. Consistent methodological approach 

A thorough assessment of who could be interested in applying for a particular role, what they can offer (both for the role and the broader business), and for how much is a complex project. When companies try to undertake this themselves, there is quite often a lack of methodological consistency in the outreach. HR teams may not have the resources or experience to execute an effective approach to an initial long-list of, say, 40-50 potential candidates. Any small group handling such a project will invariably have process inconsistencies in how they characterize the role to an individual candidate, and, even worse, inconsistencies in how they judge the quality of every person they approach. 

Effective management and engagement processes by seasoned professionals who are able to independently assess the talent pool will save a company time, effort, money and resources. We provide a clear message to the marketplace with a professional position specification and a consistent opportunity framework.

4. Providing diversity lens

A market scan can quite easily be provided with a specific lens to be able to forensically examine the best talent that is available in order to achieve an organization’s important diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) objectives. This is increasingly becoming a crucial and transformational component in the search and hiring process. 

With this approach, sourcing and assessment of talent can more easily be tied back to the broader business benefits, investor value and shareholder/consumer sentiments associated with a progressive and targeted DEI strategy.



A market scan is a dedicated talent mapping exercise that provides a thorough assessment of the most suitable candidates for a specific role or talent gap at an organization. The clarity and insights gained through a market scan cannot be underestimated. Companies should consider this approach for all senior functional and strategic hires, to ensure that they are making the right human capital selections and investments. 


Contact Don,Fariman, or Bob

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