August 01, 2015

The History and Future of Online Recruiting

The recruiting technology industry has been evolving. The job boards of years past have rebranded, retooled, and reinvented themselves countless times over the last decade. To determine the future of online recruiting technology, it helps to have a clear picture of the history.

The Early Days

In the early 2000s, during the dot com boom, job boards were still in their infancy. Online recruitment was dominated by three major players – Monster, Career Builder, and Hot Jobs. According to a Career XRoads report, these three job boards were responsible for approximately 22 percent of all external hires. In today’s market, job boards are the source of 15.4 percent of all external hires. Social recruiting, at the time, only made up 3 percent of external hires.

There were, of course, hundreds of niche, emerging and established competitors. However, the trend was towards consolidation through aggregation. While the bigger online recruiting companies were competing against each other, spending huge amounts of money to acquire traffic, users, and relative market share, they overlooked the threat of social.

The Emergence of Social

Almost sneakily, social online recruiting technology companies such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor were able to take over the market, leveraging and capitalizing on the social and mobile trends in the market.

U.S. Traffic Growth per Company Year-over-Year, 2015

U.S. Traffic Growth per Company Year-over-Year, 2015

Source: comScore

Glassdoor has clearly emerged as a leader, with growth far outpacing other online recruitment destinations. However, it’s overall volume still lags behind LinkedIn and Indeed. The revenue models between these companies (LinkedIn and CareerBuilder and Monster in particular) are not that different – they are all  based on ad sales around career content and paid search licenses. The only real discernible difference between LinkedIn and the traditional job boards is in its brand marketing as a ‘professional network’.

To compete with these new social-based companies, the traditional ones have been trying to free themselves of the job board label. In this attempt to differentiate, the companies have realized that perhaps the only way to dominate online recruiting is to excel in online search.

Online Search

The traditional job boards, in their evolution, have acknowledge the value in driving traffic and earning margins by becoming intermediaries between job seekers and employers. The most popular revenue stream has been to become the source of hire and deliver the traffic that finds them first. This means winning the best rank on the most popular search engines.

Also, these companies are also paying attention to the allocation of the billions of dollars that employers invest annually in talent acquisition solutions and activities.

Recruiting Spend by Category (2014)

Recruiting Spend by Category (2014)

Source: Recruiting Daily

Today and the Future

Today, the market has shifted again. Professional networks are no longer the ‘it’ recruiting tool. Just recently, Monster announced plans to shift towards becoming a job aggregator from online sources all over the world, with new pricing models designed to attract smaller employers. This new strategy will put them in direct competition with Indeed and other job aggregators, change their traditional pay-to-post pricing model, and challenge LinkedIn. While still keeping their traditional duration pricing model, they will also be adding a pay-for-performance model that will appeal to small, price-conscious employers. Customers will also have more choices on where their paid ads appear, including social media sites. According to company officials, these job ads can be narrowly targeted to reach not only people with a connection to the company but others who fit the job profile.

CareerBuilder, meanwhile, is looking to make a play for the applicant tracking system (ATS) and customer relationship management (CRM) space with a new platform. And LinkedIn is expanding their content marketing platform.

Meanwhile, the market for recruitment advertising has shifted to Indeed and Glassdoor, who are both producing better results at a lower cost per hire. The emphasis of both these companies is on company reviews, employee ratings, and selling employers control of their own branded pages as a primary revenue source.

Top Sources of External Online Hires

Top Sources of External Online Hires

Source: SilkRoad