Sourcing With Org Charts via Intellerati

What if you could source candidates using curated, highly researched organization charts? That’s the premise of Intellerati, a service created by executive recruiter Krista Bradford. According to their site;

Intellerati is an executive search firm alternative. Our recruiting research resembles the work of retained executive search firms. Like elite retained search partners, we identify, profile, qualify, and recruit top-performing talent.


Bradford believes their expert recruitment research uncovers top talent others miss. I asked her a few questions over email recently that delve deeper into the service.

  • How did org chart sourcing come about?

We have always been an investigative recruitment research practice because, in a former career, I was an Emmy award-winning investigative journalist that specialized in data. I used data to find things out and to break stories. I left TV news and applied those investigative research techniques to recruiting. That’s our innovation. Recently, I’ve come to realize that org charts are one of the most powerful ways to make search smart.

Org charts are a form of competitive intelligence. Few people know how to build org charts from the outside looking in. Yet, that visualization of all the talent, complete with biographies, contact information, and relevant links is incredibly powerful stuff. One day, I noticed that org charts had a talisman-like effect on our clients. They couldn’t stop talking about them or referencing them. They were fascinated by org charts because they convey so much valuable information  — just by examining the very shape of a company. 

Org charts tell you where the talent is; how the company operates; what a company is building up; and what a company is tearing down. New kinds of functions and roles suggest growth or restructuring. Those are just a few examples of insights they provide.

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Later,  I realized our clients, no matter what industry they were in, kept wanting to go into the same high-interest companies. So we decided to offer online org charts of high-interest companies by subscription in addition to building one-off custom org charts for a client.

  • What type of research effort goes into making them?

Whenever we add a contact to our database, we always attempt to determine that person’s direct superior. Doing so makes for more work initially. Sometimes, its a lot more work. That’s because you have to add every contact that sits between the contact and the CEO on the company org chart. However, that extra effort on the front end reaps powerful results. It makes executive search smarter and more effective.

That is how we consistently uncover candidates that others miss. It lays down a level of due diligence. Mapping teams answers one of the most important questions in executive search: do we have everyone?

If you have an SVP and have identified just one direct report of that executive, you can be pretty certain you are missing the rest of that SVPs team. So you loop back around and find them. Interestingly, the more we build org charts, the more we surface team members with few, if any, breadcrumbs on the Internet — people who do not hang out on LinkedIn or other places frequented by recruiters. In other words, you do not realize what amazing talent you have been missing until you build org charts. I consider it a best practice.

Few people know how to build org charts. So that gives us a strategic advantage that we pass on to our clients. To date, there are no solutions out there that do it well. We’ve checked org charts produced by the handful of places that offer them. They are not accurate. We see that opening as an opportunity,

  • Describe an example of digging deep to help build an org chart.
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To build an org chart, all you have to do is connect people to their direct superior on up to the CEO. The trick is to start at the top with the Chief Executive Officer. Next, you add the executive team and determine which people are direct reports of the CEO. You work your way down the organization, level-by-level, and team-by-team to the level you want. For executive search, we usually map talent companies down to the Vice President or Senior Director level.

For uber-elite technologists, data scientists, and AI leaders, we often go down to the individual contributor level — architects whose compensation starts at half-million dollars a year.

Now, people always ask us how do we determine who reports to whom? That’s our secret sauce and it’s where our investigative skills kick in. We start with reporting relationships verified by the company. We then draw inferences from those verified relationships based on level, function, products, and teams. It is a lot like working on a jigsaw puzzle.

We are incredibly nerdy in that way. I hire investigative types who enjoy solving puzzles. They excel at the critical thinking required to spot patterns that enable the org chart to emerge. 

We use numerous recruiting technology tools to conduct the research — solutions that leverage AI and machine learning. However, AI isn’t advanced enough to develop org charts, at least not yet. In the end, we deliver a bespoke org chart offering. They’re pretty special. Clients really respond to that.

Our org charts are not meant to be an exact duplicate of the company’s own internal chart. But they come pretty close. They are used for executive search, technology recruitment, organizational development, restructuring, sales prospecting, management consulting, and business strategy.

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