Understanding the Vendor Brandscape Report™

Our Methodology

The Starr Conspiracy Intelligence Unit (TSCIU) developed its Vendor Brandscape Report™ methodology as a multidimensional model with the purpose of understanding the market attributes of HR technology categories and vendor attributes to characterize how companies within a specific category interact with the market.

Market and vendor attributes

This brandscape focuses on market attributes such as market stage, size, and growth, as well as the following vendor attributes:

  1. Brand power — based on brand-awareness research when available and our own assessment when it’s not
  2. Message focus/market position — based how well the vendor delivers a compelling value proposition to real buyers
  3. Competitive strength — based on the vendor’s brand reputation, financial strength, strategic alliances, and how defensible its position is
  4. Competitive potential — based on the vendor’s business trajectory. For example, is it positioned to capture a new high-growth market? Is it a category rollup player, a target for acquisition, an IPO candidate, or a persistent niche player?

Brandscape Key

Who are the key audiences?

This report serves the needs of three primary audiences:

  • Senior executives and sales and marketing leaders at HR and recruitment technology vendors, who will gain a better understanding of the market and insight into how to improve from a brand and message perspective in order to attain a better competitive position.
  • HR and recruitment technology buyers, who will gain a better understanding of market trends that are affecting talent acquisition technology, and the brands worth investing in.
  • Venture capital/private equity investors, who will gain a better understanding of the market and how marketing, message, and brand all play a role in the success or struggles of specific companies.

Why are we doing it?

In the HR technology industry, marketers were early adopters of a number of innovations that have become mainstream, such as marketing automation and content marketing. However, as an industry, marketers have been consistently behind in the use of brand. There’s a whole generation of HR and talent acquisition marketing professionals who have never even done true brand marketing.

That’s a missed opportunity, because buyers act on the affinity they have with brands. The strongest brands gain market share faster, see better demand-generation results, book more revenue, and become early favorite vendors — sometimes the only vendor considered. Remember, “nobody gets fired for buying IBM.” That’s the power of a salient and powerful brand message, executed over the long term.

As the talent acquisition category changes and shifts, this tendency of buyers to play favorites within a limited evaluation process remains true. Brand plays an incredibly critical role in rapidly changing categories — and talent acquisition is no exception.

We expect the growth cycle of this category over the next few years to look like this:

  • Category average for revenue growth is approximately 15 percent
  • Category leaders average 40 percent growth
  • Industry breakouts show 100 percent growth

In short, a combination of brand and innovative products is paving the way for incredible growth in the talent acquisition category. We did the research and created this brandscape to help define and prove out our understanding of this category.

What is this work based on?

The Starr Conspiracy does more quantitative research on brand and message in HR and recruitment technology than anyone — dozens of surveys every year. We also create more brand advertising creative and direct more brand advertising marketing program investment than any other single agency. So, we have the unique advantage of studying the market as well as executing brand advertising within it. However, all findings and inputs in our Brandscape Report™ come solely via briefings and TSC primary and secondary research outside the purview of paid client work. Our goal is to help companies understand their brand power, message focus, competitive performance, competitive potential, and how they fare in relation to their competitors.

How is this different?

Traditional industry and market analyst firms focus on technology and process. They are good lagging indicators of the direction of a market. We take a forward-looking approach that focuses on the needs of companies and marketers — what the future holds, how to prepare for it, how you can grow as a company, and how to improve your brand to increase your competitive position.

How We See the Market

Talent acquisition is an enormous market. If you include staffing, headhunters, vendor and freelance management, and the expanse of talent technology providers that touch talent acquisition, the market is over half a trillion dollars. That’s too big to be useful or for us to provide faithful analysis. So we’ve selected the segments of the market we find most exciting and worthy of a detailed look.

So here’s what we’re not including in this report:

  • Staffing organizations — This part of the market is huge, but it’s also primarily service-driven rather than technology-leading. We rely, like much of the industry, on the insights of Staffing Industry Analysts for this important sector.
  • Large talent management and ERP suites — Almost every talent management suite has a recruiting component. Breaking out talent acquisition’s contribution to revenue and its true usage (instead of just a throw-in with the rest of the suite) was not something we could measure as part of our work here. Make no mistake, though — this is a big part of the market.
  • Point solutions — There are a number of point solutions, such as video interviewing platforms and interview management tools, that we measured but don’t fall into our categories. We expect most of these point solutions will be acquired or their functionality integrated by larger players in talent acquisition — particularly in the candidate management area.

For inclusion in this report, we’re focusing on these five subcategories and the leading brands in each one:

  • Candidate Discovery
  • Candidate Connection
  • Candidate Management
  • Candidate Intelligence
  • Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

Some of these categories are combinations of a few discrete categories where overlap naturally occurs (such as the candidate management or discovery subcategories). Candidate connection is an emergent subcategory that we believe should continue to grow over the next few years, with the ability to grow an organic community of candidates and connect with them more naturally. RPO is probably a surprise inclusion in a primarily technology report. With the growing use of RPO in large organizations and the narrowing gap between technology and services, they’re being bought like, and used in tight conjunction with, technology.

Talent Acquisition Vendors

The vendor landscape report is not all-inclusive. It’s a measure of vendors we selected that have significant brand presence or potential.

Inclusion Criteria

We included talent acquisition vendors based on any of the following criteria:

  • The vendor’s presence and brand position in the North American market
  • Our ability to measure the vendor’s brand awareness
  • The vendor’s participation in our briefing and research process

Each segment’s brandscape includes five to seven market leaders We then name other notable vendors for most segments.

Candidate Discovery

  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • CareerBuilder
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Glassdoor

Other Notable Companies: Dice, Entelo, SmashFly, Symphony, HiringSolved, RecruitLoop, Talemetry, Broadbean, eQuest, Beyond.com, BountyJobs, WayUp, The Muse

Candidate Connection

  • randrr
  • Hired
  • Ascendify
  • 1-Page
  • Stack Overflow
  • Elevated Careers

Candidate Management

  • iCIMS
  • Jobvite
  • Lever
  • Greenhouse
  • SmartRecruiters
  • Bullhorn

Others Notables: JazzHR, HRsmart, Jibe, Jobscience, Avature, TalentCircles, Phenom People, ClearCompany, talentReef, Lumesse, WCN, Workable

Candidate Intelligence

  • HireVue
  • HireRight
  • Sterling Talent Solutions
  • SkillSurvey
  • First Advantage
  • HackerRank
  • Wonderlic

Others Notables: Accurate Background, eSkill, Checkster, OutMatch, IntelliCorp, Matchpoint Careers

Recruitment Process Outsourcing

  • ManpowerGroup
  • Randstad Sourceright
  • Cielo
  • ADP
  • IBM Kenexa
  • PeopleScout

Others Notables: Alexander Mann Solutions, Hudson, Futurestep, Seven Step, KellyOCG, Kinetix, Pontoon, WilsonHCG, Allegis Global Solutions, Yoh, Novotus