The 2017 Talent Acquisition Brandscapes

The brandscapes for the five talent acquisition subcategories addressed in this report illustrate four vendor attributes for talent acquisition providers:

  1. Brand power
  2. Message focus
  3. Competitive strength
  4. Competitive potential

Candidate Discovery

Candidate Connection

Candidate Management

Candidate Intelligence

Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Candidate Discovery Brandscape

Candidate discovery is an enormous category, with job boards historically making up a large portion of this market — with Indeed leading the pack. But LinkedIn is still the revenue and market leader, though its recently approved acquisition could have it moving beyond this category (it still gets around half its revenue from recruiting). Among category leaders, CareerBuilder and Monster are making big moves to redefine themselves, while Dice seems content to double-down on the strength of its niche. Market challengers will always be active here — for example, as novel discovery tools replace the job posting and social recruiting platforms of the last generation of software.

Other Brands to Note: Clinch, Jobaline, SwoopTalent, Restless Bandit, HiredScore

Candidate Connection Brandscape

This small subcategory is going to see aggressive growth in the next few years, as companies continue to seek out better ways of reaching candidates. It’s not just about discovery or management or intelligence — it’s about combining all three of those into a single product to increase the quality of hire while reducing the time and steps applicants have to go through. Companies like Stack Overflow have done this through building communities of people, while others like Elevated Careers try to combine discovery and fit assessments into a single step. We expect randrr — the solution coming into market from former RightThing founder Terry Terhark — to make a big move toward defining this category. This more holistic approach promises a better candidate experience, but companies in this space will need to work on defining a category that most buyers aren’t shopping for quite yet.

Other Brands to Note: RealMatch, Whitetruffle

Candidate Management Vendor Brandscape

The applicant tracking system and its red-headed stepchild, candidate relationship management software, are easy to slag on. For the most part, a lot of them deserve it. The traditional category leader iCIMS has been struggling to maintain its perception as an innovator in the face of challenges from suddenly resurgent brands such as Jobvite and SmartRecruiters and spunky upstarts like Lever and Greenhouse. Ultimately, this category is about reducing complexity and keeping up with the rapidly changing integration landscape. Although this core technology has stickiness, talent acquisition organizations are passionate about avoiding solutions that will likely stunt their ability to hire talent. (See: recruiters’ reactions to Workday’s talent acquisition solution.) The challenge for every vendor in this category will be how to rise above commodity status and pricing.

Other Brands to Note: gr8 People, Yello

Candidate Intelligence Vendor Brandscape

Though background checks are pretty straightforward, assessments are rapidly rising in importance and use, even as they have run into their unique and ever-present challenge: the human factor. Assessments that are aimed at determining things like fit, skills, and competencies are called into question when they go against the judgment of their human administrator. Any intelligence solution needs to overcome that with reliable, reputable information when it needs to be leaned on. HireRight, Wonderlic, Sterling, and First Advantage are some of the biggest traditional brands in this space, with HireVue and SkillSurvey making big moves toward category leadership. Recent entrants into the market, such as GoodHire, have taken a more holistic, fair look at the adverse action process.

Others Brands to Note: GoodHire, pymetrics, SkillCheck, OnboardIQ, Social Intelligence, Intelifi,, Hire Intelligence, Interviewed, TrueAbility, Wellhire, TeamFit

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) Vendor Brandscape

Usage of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), especially at organizations that hire more than 500 people a year, continues to grow. Although some of the biggest brands in the space such as Randstad, Manpower, IBM Kenexa, and KellyOCG still struggle to get their messaging dialed in, Cielo is doing the best job building momentum behind its brand with a focused message and thought leadership approach. Alexander Mann and WilsonHCG are hot on Cielo’s heels. While this function rose from modified staffing organizations, RPOs do their best work when they’re able to work within your own technology stack, supplement your existing technology and talent with their own, and help level demand for talent acquisition professionals — so organizations can scale up and down easily. Global presence, responsiveness, and a tech-forward approach are predictors of long-term success in this area.