The Great Powers: Recruit, Google, and Facebook

This is starting to feel like World War I: ‘Great’ powers, aggressive tactics, and a desire for world domination. Yep, I’m talking about the recruitment marketing industry.

In case you didn’t hear, Recruit bought Glassdoor last week. Many incisive analyses have been written already, by Matt Charney, Joel Cheesman, and Roy Mauer. So what could I possibly have to add? Not much, really. Except…

How much does this actually matter to the majority of players in the recruitment marketing world? How likely is it that this acquisition will change the business decisions you make in your business? Is this acquisition going to drive you out of business? Force you to come up with new services? Sell? Acquire?

Well, let’s take a step back first. As in WWI, the Great Powers don’t really give a rat’s ass about the rest of us. That’s why they are Great Powers. They operate at vastly different scales. Your biz is making $25M a year? Ha! They’re making $500M, or maybe $1B a year. They lose more customers in a year than you’re likely to have in total. When they fight, they aren’t worried about collateral damage – so if their decision to fold in an employer rating service into an existing job board hurts you, big deal.

But guess what? Great Powers also produce many enemies. Remember what happened to Archduke Franz Ferdinand? Some of those enemies got mad, and (depending on which version of history you prefer) goaded one Great Power to attack another. It ended badly…for some of the Great Powers. But it also spawned many new Powers (and another war, but we’ll leave that for another time).

Recruit/Indeed is moving against Google. Google is moving against Facebook. Facebook is moving against Google and Recruit/Indeed. And in the wake of this Great Power war, many enemies – read ‘disappointed/unhappy employers‘ – are being created. Let’s face it – employers just want to make those hires, an increasingly tough proposition in this low-unemployment environment. And disappointment or unhappiness spawns…opportunity.

It’s fun to watch the Great Powers strut about on their stage, jabbing and slashing at each other. It’s fun to fantasize about being the recipient of a $1.2B payday. But in the real world of recruitment marketing, what they’re doing has – at best – a trickle-down effect on the vast majority of employers’ expectations. The biggest effect of their war(s), in my humble opinion, is the creation of employers in search of a better solution than the one the Great Powers are hawking.

Maybe the solution those disappointed employers are seeking is the one you provide?

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