Job Boards in the Age of Acquisition

Topics: HRExaminer, by Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Jeff Dickey-Chasins aka "The Job Board Doctor", Editorial Advisory Board

Jeff Dickey-Chasins aka “The Job Board Doctor”, Member Editorial Advisory Board

The sound of SimplyHired’s demise was also the sound of Indeed taking a victory lap. A smaller aggregator was acquired out of existence by a larger one. In the online recruiting world, did it signify anything?

No. Yes. Kind of. How is that for a definitive response? Let me explain.


SimplyHired has been on the skids for years. A new management and sales team a few years back didn’t seem to reverse the direction. Even without its acquisition, they were on the way out. The only question was how the exit would look. It came down to the right offer.


Indeed’s acquisition of SimplyHired was yet another in a series of acquisitions throughout the industry. Think Bright/Connectifier and LinkedIn, TalentBin/JobR and Monster, EMSI and CareerBuilder, and so on, and so on. Companies are acquiring other companies for a variety of reasons: to acqui-hire talent they couldn’t get otherwise; to acquire technology they desperately need to stay ‘relevant’; or to move into new (and potentially lucrative) areas of recruiting. In this regard, Indeed’s acquisition was simply a way of keeping competitors (Jobs2Careers?) from snapping up a wounded but still sizeable company.

Kind of:

All acquisitions are very specific. We like to extract ‘trends’ from a series of transactions, but in fact each acquisition happens for different reasons. Maybe an underlying trend is strength or weakness in the industry – or ‘easy money’ from VCs. Maybe not. It does seem that enough acquisitions spur additional ones – essentially, those companies that are sitting on the sidelines thinking about doing something finally get scared or greedy enough to act. Go to any job board or online recruiting conference, and you will run into companies that would ‘definitely consider’ being acquires. Face it, a lot of the pioneers in the space have been building their companies since the late 1990s, and they’re ready for an exit. A lot of companies are looking to grow, and are looking for acquisitions. Some marriages will be made.

What does it all mean?

There is a good reason behind every acquisition, but we the general public are rarely privy to what that reason is. The job board industry is thriving at present – and conditions are ripe for niche and regional players to make or accept acquisitions that will expand their reach. Technology development in recruiting is also thriving, and I fully expect the biggest job boards and recruiting sites to acquire smaller technology firms (as Monster did with JobR and TalentBin).

How long will it last?

I have no idea. But everything comes to an end – even the age of acquisition.

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