What a summer! As Summer 2016 winds down, let’s revisit some of what happened these last few months that has shaken and will continue to shake both the recruitment advertising world and the HR space, or more specifically programmatic HR tech. If in May you told me that by Summer’s end Simply Hired, Monster, and Career Builder would all look radically different, I am not sure I would have believed you. But here is the run down and what the ramifications may be.
Simply Hired Simply Goes Away
First, there was the surprise announcement that Simply Hired was shuttering. It eventually came out that Indeed’s parent company, Recruit Holdings, is the buyer. In some sense, this event may have been more of a foreshadow of what was to come. Nonetheless, the closing of the company signaled a shift in how recruitment advertisers could leverage this big name when it comes to distribution. The logical extension of that is that the closing of Simply Hired also means that recruiters, staffing companies, and hiring managers will no longer turn to Simply Hired for applicants. To what extent it was still a relevant site for these people is unclear. The company officially shut down on June 26th, ending what was once one of, if not the, largest job board on the internet.
No One Is Saying Yahoo Anymore
Next, Yahoo was acquired by Verizon. While this acquisition was not strictly in the realm of the job board, there are 2 significant takeaways from the downfall of Yahoo. First, the impact of the ‘internet as the job board’ illustrates that distribution is essential to successfully finding quality applicants, as well as getting the most apply-clicks from candidates. Applications or apply-clicks are often the backbone of revenue for job boards, so distribution across the web is essential. This means that search sites like Yahoo and Google need to pick up a job posting, which they are more likely to do if that posting is showing up on local, niche, and national job board sites. The search giants will aggregate the posting on numerous sites and understand it to be relevant content to show in search results for a job seeker. If the distribution isn’t there, then neither are the search giants, nor the applicants, nor the revenue. Yahoo’s shuttering further reinforces the importance of distribution.
The second takeaway is similar to the Simply Hired shuttering, namely that the ‘old internet’ is disappearing. Once the dominant search (though that literally feels like a lifetime ago), Yahoo could not evolve to keep up with Google. Add in the immersion of social media sites in the last decade and Yahoo’s reach was just not as impactful as it needed to be. While reach can be targeted rather than wide, it does not seem that Yahoo had firmly established a reliable audience it could reach. Perhaps this speaks to the strength of the AOLs of the world, who still exist because so many Baby Boomers kept their primary email accounts at AOL registered in the 1990s despite the Google email takeover. (That is an unsubstantiated theory, so I would not dig too far into that one.)
There Are No More Monsters In Your Closet
This brings us to Monster, the next once-internet-giant to fall. One key difference with Monster from Simply Hired is that Monster was acquired by the staffing company, Randstad. Sites like Monster and staffing companies are usually not in direct competition with each other, but now that Randstad has acquired Monster, it puts advertisers on notice. They will now be competing for job placement, for clicks, for applicants, for job seekers, for traffic, etc. with a staffing company. At the end of the day, whose ad will get hire placement and campaigning – the employer advertiser’s or the staffing company’s (whose main source of income is placement, rather than advertising)?
This domino falling is important for advertisers and publishers to understand because it changes the marketplace a bit. Monster/Randstad will now be competing directly with employer advertisers for talent, which will impact performance and results for those publishers. Publishers driving job seekers to their Monster integrated job boards will leave their job seekers ripe for Randstad to target with their own jobs and employer advertisements. With Monster/Randstad potentially emerging as a competitor and threat to talent acquisition, one should expect a migration away from the company for local publishers who want to keep traffic and revenue for themselves and away from Randstad.
ZipRecruiter Recruits Price Increase
Though not the seismic shockwave on the level of the other events of the summer, ZipRecruiter increased its entry-level posting price from $99 for $249. This price increase signifies that the company is now passing along costs associated with the acquisition of traffic through distribution to the buyers. While I doubt this will have a huge immediate impact, it is another example of how distribution is vital to getting job seekers. The question here is whether the company is doing any targeted distribution or the digital equivalent to posting more and more billboards on more highways.
CareerBuilder Builds Rumor of Sale
And finally, you have heard the rumors that CareerBuilder may be for sale by its owners, announced just a day after the major US publishing company, tronc, announced it would no longer be using the company’s job board platform, replacing it with RealMatch’s programmatic job board technology in its place. With the launch of tronc on a programmatic platform, it is clear that publishing companies are fully embracing the shift from traditional media companies to new digital-first minded organizations. If CareerBuilder is spun off and sold, depending on to whom it is sold, the repercussions could send shockwaves to employers around the country.
What Does It All Mean?
With all these changes, there are a few takeaways that are abundantly obvious.
The first is that there is a massive shift underway in the recruitment industry and we are in the middle of it. While Indeed looks strong now, the end of Monster and potentially CareerBuilder can reshape how employers want to advertise their job openings. There is conversation that all employers need to do now is post a job on their website and let their employer brand speak for itself. This is a fundamental mistake and misunderstanding of how to efficiently receive qualified applicants. Targeted reach, backboned through programmatic technology, has to be the future for employers. Otherwise, they will be wasting potentially millions in hiring the wrong people and the associated costs that go along with that.
The second takeaway is what I just referenced. No matter how the leaves fall, the impact of ‘the internet as the job board’ is here. Specifically, companies embracing programmatic recruitment are poised to reap the benefits of this brave, new world. Companies that are slow to react and embrace technology are only hurting their bottom line – both revenue and so called people analytics. This is why major publishers like the New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The LA Times, and others have all recently embraced programmatic recruitment advertising.
So it seems like this Summer has set the table. It is likely that the real impact of these actions will be felt more next year than this year. Acquisitions take time, as does the sale of a company. But for media companies embracing the shift to technology in recruitment and/or recruitment advertising like tronc, the impact is immediate. Recruitment revenue is projected to increase significantly. With the holidays around the corner (I’ve already been to two Halloween stores!), the holiday hiring bump might influence what happens with all these companies. If employers can waste less time reviewing underqualified applicants and utilize time better focusing on qualified applicants, they will continue returning to job board advertising. The best way for this to happen has to be programmatic recruitment. If you are not embracing technology in recruitment, then you might soon find yourself the last resident of an abandoned ghost town.