Indeed sharpens its knives for the staffing industry

knivesI’ve written about Indeed’s transformation in North America several times over the past five years. It added resumes, ridded itself of job board customers, and ramped up a direct sales force to tackle employer sales. It was famously acquired by the largest staffing company in the world, and continues to push into new markets around the globe. As the U.S. is still its home base, I find it useful to watch what they’re doing here – because it’s likely you will see them do it elsewhere at some point (U.K, I’m talking to you!).

So what’s new with the world’s largest aggregator? Indeed Prime. If you haven’t take a look yet, you should. Indeed claims to screen tech candidates (only allowing the top 5% to proceed – I guess a tip of the hat to Hired is in order). Who exactly does Indeed look for? “We are currently sourcing software engineers, UX/UI designers, data scientists and product managers in San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle and Austin.” But….”We plan to expand to more markets soon.”

Where are they finding these top tier candidates? “Our candidates are sourced from a variety of online and offline channels, including Indeed and other platforms. We sponsor nationwide coding challenges and developer conferences.”

Interesting, eh? As one staffing firm told me recently – and I paraphrase – ‘Indeed is a great source of candidates for us, but now they’re competing with us’. As a job board guy, all I can say is it’s deja vu all over again. Job boards were also hooked on Indeed’s traffic – until Indeed began competing directly with them for employers. I suspect the staffing industry is going to get a taste of what competition from Indeed feels like.

It’s a smart business model for Indeed – use customers to build up your own business, then dump them for a new set of (even more plentiful) customers further up the food chain. You could say Indeed is going to eat staffing the same way it ate a good portion of the job board industry. Of course, job boards are still going strong – no matter how huge Indeed is, the recruiting market is bigger, so there is still room for other players. But if I was a staffing firm, I’d be taking a cold hard look at my Indeed spend.

What’s next for Indeed? My money is on a rollout of the changes we’ve seen in the North American market to the European market. Simply adding more products to Indeed’s offerings will generate a substantial revenue boost. And parent company Recruit is not sitting still – they have a big pile of cash and aren’t afraid to spend it. It would make sense to acquire a few key assessment companies to complement Indeed’s offerings – and to bolster Recruit’s staffing properties.

At any rate, I think we’re only seeing the beginning of Indeed’s entry into the staffing industry. Should be interesting!

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