4 ways that CVs reveal competitive intelligence

CVs submitted by job candidates to websites such as Monster and CareerBuilder contain, not surprisingly, reams of competitive intelligence. Access to CV databases is usually not free but the amount of information available almost always outweighs the cost of usually $100-$800.

Tapping into these databases properly requires a planned, step-by-step approach. In this post, we will mention three examples of competitive intelligence available from CV databases.

  1. No organization chart project is complete without searching job applicant databases. CVs can give you information about roles, departments, reporting structures and team sizes. In some cases, entire departments will have uploaded their CVs.
  2. CVs can tell you the customers of a technology competitor: the CV of an Oracle database administrator at a company shows they have an Oracle database. Analysis of technology use can answer many one-off questions: a company's commitment to open source, how often they upgrade their software, the complete technology stack that they use. More than that, CVs can tell you how intensely a company uses an application: if three CVs mention Siebel that company may be a light user, but if dozens of CVs, or every CV from sales/marketing refers to Siebel, chances are that this is a key Siebel customer.
  3. Company morale, culture and other intangibles can be deduced from how long employees tend to stay, how often they get promoted, what training they have been given and how they describe their roles.
  4. CVs will also show you a competitor's office locations, and in some cases the sizes or relative sizes of these offices.

Much of the above work can be partially automated. More intensive, manual analysis of these CVs will reveal incidental competitive intelligence, such as salary details or the relative frequency of career moves between two companies. Applicants will also often list customers with whom they have worked, technology migration projects they have managed and the financial value of key accounts or investments. CVs are one of the essential sources of competitive intelligence.