People aggregation: buzzword or new paradigm?

A large percentage of what is billed as ‘new’ is actually just repackaged. For example, think about LinkedIn: is it really the first social recruiting site, or simply a general job board with a (somewhat) visible resume database and a few interactive features? I’d argue the latter.

The latest in ‘new’ is ‘people aggregators‘: services that allow employers and recruiters to search for candidates across multiple ‘open’ (or public) sources. In other words, instead of relying on the names in one’s ATS, a people aggregator lets the employer find candidates wherever they might reveal themselves. What’s more, a people aggregator consolidates the information from multiple sources – so the user doesn’t have to. Good examples of people aggregators: Dice’s OpenWeb, TalentBin (recently purchased by Monster), CareerCloud, RemarkableHire, Gild, and Entelo.

So – are people aggregators actually something new – or just a repackaging of what we already had? I’d argue that they are the kind of incremental improvement in existing services that are often more useful than something completely new (remember resume search aggregators?).

Think about it: as social media has fragmented and expanded, it has multiplied the number of places and ways that people can disclose information about themselves (whether this is good or bad, I leave for you to judge). Much of this data is irrelevant to the hiring process – but not all. What if you had a tool that let you find a candidate based on your specific needs – without duplicating searches across multiple platforms? Sounds pretty good, right?

As mentioned above, the concept sounded attractive enough to some major job boards (i.e., Dice and Monster) to add the service to their offerings. Can we say ‘job board evolution’? I suspect that the real utility of people aggregators varies significantly depending on the industry and type of position – as others have noted elsewhere, some professions are just less willing to put it all out there. Not everyone is a programmer swapping code on GitHub!

So if you’re a niche site, you may want to look into adding this capability – or not. Remember – the bottom line is effectiveness and efficiency: can your site connect quality candidates to employers better than a general purpose people aggregator? I advise that you try several aggregators out and see how they do – then reach your own decision.

Perhaps we are indeed in a bit of ‘pardigm shift‘. Or maybe it’s just evolution. Whatever. You have to admit it’s interesting.

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Matt Charney


    Good article, but think that it’s another example of this market being a laggard. Pipl & Spokeo are as good, if not better, than any of the entrants you’ve listed on here in terms of dynamic profile & deep web indexing capabilities, and were on the market back when recruiters were still putting individual contacts in Jigsaw & fighting over the fax machine. Smart that they’ve figured out how to monetize information that’s not only free, but also already a fairly mature market.


  2. Todd H

    I was just talking to someone about this recently – the idea of using more sources of data to find potential candidates. It seems like it could create a wider pool of potential candidates, but I would wonder what kind of algorithm would be used on the backend to filter the quality candidates – else it just a wider, but much shallower, pool of candidates to select from.

    That being said, in the tech world, I could see something drawing from programmers’ profiles, participation in industry specific mailing lists, being listed as a tech conference presenter, etc. to build a pool of potential candidates that would a be useful starting point.

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