Vendor Overviews

Candidate Discovery

Leading Candidate Discovery Brands


LinkedIn is the undisputed revenue and brand leader in the candidate discovery segment. But the company needs to tell a different story or it will never be recognized as anything other than a recruiter tool in the market. Its acquisition of (now relaunched as LinkedIn Learning) was part of that vision and made it an attractive acquisition target for Microsoft. Its unfair advantages are Microsoft’s war chest and its large trove of data from 467 million users. Its big disadvantages are post-acquisition confusion and Microsoft’s incredibly bad M&A track record. The two biggest questions about LinkedIn for 2017 are:

  1. Will Microsoft use LinkedIn to make a full-fledged foray in HCM? LinkedIn has been hiring aggressively in this area. If this happens, how will Microsoft handle it from a brand and message perspective? Does the company become a “house of brands” along the lines of SAP? Or will Microsoft digest everything along the Oracle model?
  2. Will Microsoft shut off the tap to LinkedIn data outside of the Microsoft ecosystem? Salesforce is clearly concerned about this possibility, and many talent acquisition players and smart startups (see Beamery) are already making plans for this to happen. And if this move happens, does it damage the LinkedIn and Microsoft brands?


Once simply an aggregator with bigger ambitions, Indeed has grown to become the dominant job board in the market. With a commitment to the job seeker, Indeed has done a great job building brand awareness, including outdoor and TV placements. Indeed is a case-study example of the growth benefits that can come from heavy investment in brand awareness, including solidifying category dominance. There looks to be no challengers to Indeed’s dominance as a job board, as CareerBuilder and Monster take different paths. The real question isn’t how Indeed continues to dominate but what it plans to do next.


CareerBuilder is a strong brand with a significant functional association issue as its business changes. It’s making a shift from job-board-based services to a SaaS software model. Moving away from the advertising model, 20 percent of its revenue is based on software subscriptions, and it has more than 700 customers on its ATS. Over the past few years, CareerBuilder has acquired several players in the talent acquisition space, including Broadbean in recruitment marketing, Aurico in background screening, and Textkernel in semantic search. Now the challenge is even greater with the recent acquisition of WORKTERRA in HCM in September 2016. It appears CareerBuilder is committed to move into post-hire solutions and evolve into a full-fledged HCM company with this acquisition. Its leadership is strong and has a clear vision. However, it needs to make some decisions:

  1. What is its brand strategy? WIll it be a house of brands or will it take a singular brand approach under the power of the CareerBuilder brand? (See LinkedIn.)
  2. Can it tell a compelling story to the market about talent acquisition and HCM? So far, there’s a lack of market clarity about its strategy. CareerBuilder certainly understands talent acquisition. But does it understand HCM? And can it build clear functional association beyond being “just a job board”?
  3. Will CareerBuilder invest in brand building? Good things can happen with a heavy investment in brand. (See Indeed.) However, the HCM neighborhood is one filled with strong investors in brand (think Ultimate Software and Workday). Without a significant investment in brand building, the road ahead will be much, much harder.


Santa Monica-based ZipRecruiter has done an incredible job on brand awareness and messaging, including heavy investments in TV and radio. It would seem that investment has paid off. ZipRecruiter recently raised prices for the first time to match competitors. It’s a doozy, with prices hiked up to 600 percent. Will that cause ZipRecruiter to stray off its growth trajectory? As one of the fastest-growing companies in the candidate space, ZipRecruiter says it’s moving toward becoming a full-service HR platform for businesses — primarily the SMB. That might not be a bad idea, but it seems like rounding itself out as a complete recruiting solution would be better.


Earlier this year, the employee review and job-search platform Glassdoor raised $40 million with a $1 billion valuation, and now it’s putting that investment to use to grow internationally. In September 2016, the company acquired Love Mondays, a startup based out of Sao Paulo, with a view to expand into Latin America. Glassdoor has cartel-like strength, with an unbelievable PR machine and broad earned media coverage. But with LinkedIn’s recent release of its salary comparison tool, it’s now direct competitors along with Indeed’s own job comparison tools. Ultimately, Glassdoor needs to decide if being a Yelp for careers and a glorified job site is enough to justify its valuation.

Other Notable Candidate Discovery Brands


Dice is the go-to spot for tech jobs, but it’s not communicating a broader vision in a category that’s in flux. That said, it’s good at being itself in advertising, and the consistent brand and message continue to build strength. That might be good enough for Dice, but the company has smart competition from Stack Overflow.


With its strong product vision, Entelo raised 12 million in Series B funding in May 2016. The company reported 588 percent sales growth in Q1 2016 over Q1 2015, and some big customer wins with HCM names like Oracle, TriNet, and Zenefits. Despite this recent funding, Entelo needs to boost its brand awareness and overall marketing efforts if it’s going to continue to grow.


SmashFly is a recruitment marketing platform at the front end of talent acquisition with solid brand legs and the potential for more, now that it’s fueled with a $22 million Series B round. We like the direction its brand is going, and we expect the trajectory to continue. SmashFly wants to own recruitment marketing, and so far, it’s doing it pretty well.

Symphony Talent (Findly, QUEsocial)

Symphony Talent is described as an “omnichannel recruitment marketing suite” and is the culmination of a lot of acquisitions in the HCM space (SkillCheck, Findly, Hodes, HRLogix, Innovantage, QUEsocial, Breezy, TempBuddy, and others). This causes some serious confusion as to who Symphony Talent is and what the company does. If it’s able to do something with those acquisitions and tighten up its brand and message, it could be a potential disruptor in the market.


HiringSolved shows some promise and has gained some passionate fans, but its brand power is on the low side. It has high competitive potential, but this is a market that needs education and awareness. That will take venture investment and the marketing dollars that come with it. Particularly with the release of HiringSolved’s first A.I. for recruiters in September of 2016, we feel like the product is ready for prime time.


San Francisco-based recruitment marketplace RecruitLoop has made little brand impact since its seed-round funding in 2013. Its message focus is good, however, and we recognize its great competitive potential, so long as it finds the right brand message and thought leadership to help gain mindshare and educate the market.


Talemetry has done a great job educating the market on recruitment and has earned an award or two along the way. Although Talemetry has a good product and good message focus, it could benefit from strengthening and investing in its brand.


Two years on from its acquisition and we have yet to see how London-based Broadbean fits into CareerBuilder’s plans from a brand perspective (see the CareerBuilder analysis for more insight), and how it impacts partner strategy. This combination has the potential to leverage its international presence and make an impact, but it needs a sharper brand and message focus — one that truly unites the company.


eQuest is a job posting distribution platform that’s nearly as old as job posting itself. This alone leads to some brand power among longtime followers of the space, but we can’t help but notice its lost vision and slowing momentum. is a job board that has made some strategic partnerships over the years to expand its network and reach, becoming a broader solution. has good potential to compete head to head with ZipRecruiter, Dice, and other niche job boards if it invests in telling its story more effectively through promotion.


Austin-based BountyJobs provides a marketplace for contingent recruitment by connecting companies with job openings with a network of recruiters. This is a niche area with potential, but the company’s marketing efforts need to up the ante to take advantage of that. It does have passionate customers and is looking to expand into Europe, but without brand spending and message focus, we’re not convinced those efforts will go far.


WayUp (known as Campus Job until mid-2015) is an online marketplace for college students to find part-time jobs and internships. Although WayUp does run in a niche market, it hasn’t gained much market share, which is its goal. From a technology and category standpoint it’s in a good place to do so, but without the right brand and message focus, it will continue to fall short of its goals.

The Muse

The Muse, a New York-based career site targeted at millennials, raised $16 million in funding in June of 2016, bringing funding for the five-year-old startup to $28.7 million. It will see more traction internationally with consistent messaging, and by building brand power, will have greater success with revenue streams outside of recruiting. That being said, we expect big things from The Muse.

Candidate Discovery Brands to Note

  • San Francisco-based Handshake made headlines recently with a $20 million Series B round for college recruiting. Already on 170 campuses with 3 million student users and 100,000 employers, Handshake is poised to make waves if it can take a step up in class with its brand and further focus its message.
  • Dublin-based Clinch is a recruitment marketing platform and CRM that connects a company’s careers site, content, recruiter, and candidate in an integrated software platform. Launched in January 2014, its focus is on growing companies in the tech space. Small but rapidly growing for good reason, we expect Clinch to gain ground quickly and be a challenger.
  • Jobaline is pay-per-candidate platform for hourly employees. Washington state-based Jobaline knows its market and has compelling technology. Now is the time to look for growth and brand presence to expand its client footprint.
  • SwoopTalent is an integrated social sourcing and recruiting platform, and while many have been impressed with the technology (including us), it just hasn’t got brand power legs yet.
  • Restless Bandit hasn’t been on the HR software map long, but we expect to see things change after the $8 million Series A round the company received last summer. It’s a very niche space, but we expect Restless Bandit has the leadership and product chops to take it to the next level.
  • HiredScore — We like HiredScore’s branding (and no, not just because they have an octopus, too). After winning its recent IBM Beacon Award, it looks like HiredScore is on track to start making a splash in the market.

Candidate Connection

Candidate Connection Brands to Consider


To say the least, randrr is picking up steam in a big way. Created by recruiting industry veteran/The RightThing founder Terry Terhark, the free career opportunities platform has been building anticipation for its release since early 2016. With the announcements of its board of directors, COO, and expansion to its Jacksonville office, the platform is primed for a successful launch to the public in 2017.


Hired is making moves (in Australia and Austin, for starters), and its exclusivity makes it all the more appealing (if you’re a developer or salesperson). That exclusivity has lent itself to giving off a somewhat egotistical brogrammer vibe, though. Assuming Hired wants to grow, it will need to change that perception — quick!


1-Page is in some serious trouble. The company’s stock went down 96 percent on the ASX within the past 12 months. 1-Page has an interesting approach to sourcing, but it still isn’t telling a clear story to the market. It needs to get out of its own way — and fast.

Stack Overflow

Though it’s best known for providing answers for coding inquiries, Stack Overflow is starting to make serious headway as a job board with the recent launch of its Developer Story. Company leadership says its career site makes up two-thirds of its revenue. While limited to developers, Stack Overflow shows great potential to capitalize on a workforce that’s in high demand.

Elevated Careers

Known around the water cooler as the literal eHarmony for jobs, Elevated Careers is still very new to the marketplace. If Elevated Careers can start to gain traction, it stands to make a big splash once it can build its messaging and branding out more — perhaps even to the degree of the household-name status of eHarmony.

Candidate Connection Brands to Note

  • RealMatch — RealMatch’s recent partnerships with tronc and indicate that the recruitment advertising technology company is making moves. Keep your eyes peeled.
  • Whitetruffle — Whitetruffle has earned a couple of honorable mentions here and there but still has a ways to go before it can carry a story by itself.

Candidate Management

Leading Candidate Management Brands


As the leader in the candidate management category, iCIMS has considerable brand power to leverage. However, its biggest obstacle seems to be complacency — both at the product and brand level. In the face of stiff product competition within the category, iCIMS has favored conservatism over innovation. With a history that dates back to 1999, iCIMS’ recruiting platform needs to shake its legacy feel if it wants to stay competitive in this quickly evolving category. A refreshed visual look could help shed some of that legacy baggage, too.


Jobvite bills itself as a recruiting platform for emerging, midmarket, and enterprise companies. It has a solid customer list, has done a great job with brand, and competes well in an ultra-competitive market. After years of competitor FUD about its product (sometimes warranted), Jobvite has come out the other side stronger. Jobvite completed a re-platforming that has been well received in the market and positions it well for scalability. It shifted successfully from a social recruiting platform to a fully fledged ATS. Jobvite is following the market trend for integration and continues to maintain competitiveness and gain market share. Continue to invest in brand and push innovation and Jobvite should continue its growth.


After suffering under the slings and arrows of competitor FUD, Lever has found a new gear and is growing by leaps and bounds, and making waves along the way. With a $20 million Series B in 2016, Lever has been recognized for its brand velocity that’s growing fast, building momentum, and disrupting industry categories. The brand has huge competitive potential, and if the current trajectory is any indication, we expect big things in the year to come. In one of the most competitive categories in HR technology, Lever has become a brand to beat.


New York City-based Greenhouse has been the hot item in talent acquisition with a sexy little brand. However, its status as a category darling has taken a hit lately. Once mentioned as a potential unicorn, Greenhouse has found that living up to that valuation expectation puts a lot of pressure on sales numbers and client retention. To fulfill its promise, the company has been focusing on platform infrastructure and growth since receiving a $35 million Series C round in 2015. In a lot of ways, Greenhouse is now where Jobvite was in 2013. Can it overcome increasing competitor FUD (some warranted) and preparing the platform for scalability as Jobvite did? However, to stay ahead of data-driven, fast-growing competitors and more reasonably valued competitors such as Lever, Greenhouse will need a sharper message focus that highlights its true value and differentiation.


San Francisco-based SmartRecruiters is causing big waves in the ATS market. The company raised $30 million in June, only six years after being founded, and that’s in addition to the $25 million already raised. It’s growing quickly and intends to use this funding to accelerate growth. With growing brand power and a distinctly competitive edge, SmartRecruiters could make a greater impact and get the market share it seeks with more consistent, clear messaging. Its former position of the “free ATS” was compelling, polarizing, and differentiated. It needs a message that’s equally powerful going forward.


More than a decade old, Bullhorn has a solid market base, but we don’t see many opportunities for significant growth in talent acquisition. Its sales CRM, on the other hand, could see some serious growth. Despite the acquisitions and new products Bullhorn has delivered, its message is stuck in much of the same old way it’s communicated in the past. We do like its new visual identity. Bullhorn can benefit from strengthening its brand and developing a clearer message.

Other Candidate Management Brands to Consider


The Resumator first launched in 2009 and was renamed Jazz in the summer of 2015. Now, with its even newer name, JazzHR, this provider of recruiting platforms promises a new vision — one bigger than applicant tracking. Has it delivered on that promise? Not yet. If it can deliver, it could be a serious category competitor.


Deltek acquired Texas-based HRsmart in March of 2015 to broaden its HR offering. Although the solution is unified, the brand and message are definitely not. We’d like to see an integrated brand marketing strategy and clarity in its message that would boost its competitive edge.


Seven-year-old recruiting tech company Jibe is an emerging strength. We like its message, but the company could make more impact on the brand side. Investing in a clever brand strategy should see Jibe make waves with its competitors. Right now, it’s playing it just a little too safe.


Jobscience is built on Salesforce’s platform, which contributes to its competitive strength and potential. Jobscience’s message focuses on features, and it seems to be fuzzier than the sharpness we were seeing from the company two years ago.


Headquartered in New York City, Avature was a top product winner six years ago. At that time, it took a strong market position and then … turned into everyone else. It was a solid CRM for recruiting and now it’s a not-very-effective-all-in-one-everything-for-recruiting solution. We’ve heard grumbling from some former customers, too. Avature recently partnered with LinkedIn, and one other positive we see going for the company is that it’s global in a way that few recruiting companies are.


A nice little bump of coverage (courtesy of Zappos) gained Ascendify some recognition what seems like ages ago, but the end-to-end talent platform has had some recent success in gaining investments from at least one big name. But Ascendify has a long way to go if it truly wants to compete with the big players of the talent acquisition field.


Based in Silicon Valley, TalentCircles is a social recruiting platform that’s becoming less and less compelling around the needs of talent acquisition practitioners and buyers. It tried turning a talent community into an ATS-type solution and has taken an even fuzzier approach to turn that into a recruiting operations … something. Brand power and message focus are muddled and unengaging. Without a big turnaround on that front, we don’t see a lot of potential for growth.

Phenom People

Talent relationship marketing platform Phenom People (formerly iMomentous) has potential and momentum. We like where Phenom People is with its message, but we’d like to see more focus on brand power if it wants to make a serious rise.


If ClearCompany had stuck with its original name, HRM Direct, it might have been appropriate for where the company is going. We see it moving toward a full suite, still keeping its heritage talent acquisition focus. If ClearCompany manages to get some brand velocity going through consistent messaging that resonates, we see good competitive potential.


The company was rebranded in 2015 and renamed talentReef (from JobApp). Along with the rebrand, talentReef turned toward a broader commitment to HCM with a comprehensive all-in-one platform, and global expansion. We see a positive trend for this brand, and it did show good growth in 2015. We’d like to see its brand make bigger waves to reach its market potential.


U.K.-based Lumesse has a good international presence, which strengthens its competitive potential, and it’s making inroads into North America once again. Brand power packs some punch still, and its message is focusing more on talent acquisition with an international bent — which is exactly where Lumesse belongs.


U.K.-based WCN is the college recruiting platform, with a great international presence and a growing North American market. We keep seeing WCN as the platform most focused on college recruiting, but from a brand standpoint, it still has quite a bit to do to build brand awareness, especially when a well-capitalized competitor such as Handshake is coming at its market full throttle.


Workable is a company with loads of potential that’s just waiting for its brand to step up. Founded in 2012 and expanding quickly in the U.S., Workable is an up-and-comer with solid technology. We’re excited about where this company is going, and we know it can do a whole lot more to up its brand power, message, and ultimately impact.

Candidate Management Brands to Note

  • gr8people — Part of the Randstad portfolio, gr8people is growing quickly. Good message focus and branding ought to catch up. These guys know the staffing and RPO world well, which helps immensely.
  • Yello — Based in Chicago, Yello (formerly Rescolu) has a string of awards to its name. Founded in 2008, the company received $4.21 million in funding in one round in August 2016. It’s off to a good start, but it’s still early days for these guys.

Candidate Intelligence

Leading Candidate Intelligence Brands


There’s a lot of positive stuff to say about Utah-based HireVue. It landed $45 million in funding in 2015 and has built a strong brand that’s often mentioned by other startups as the kind of company they want to be when they grow up. It has received much recognition from top 10 “America’s Most Promising Companies” by Forbes to “Top HR Product of the Year” by Human Resource Executive® magazine, and recently named fourth fastest-growing mobile app by Skyhigh Networks. Its brand is well executed and its message is trending in the right direction, which makes it a strong competitor. Its overall product is strong and innovative, and we see it as the leading candidate intelligence SaaS players.


Orange County-based HireRight has a clear and compelling brand and message, which makes it the strongest competitive player on our scale for candidate intelligence brands. The company has offices across the globe, with the latest in its global expansion into the Middle East. The formula is right, but its market share could ultimately suffer with the expansion of Sterling as a competitor.

Sterling Talent Solutions

Powerhouse Sterling Talent Solutions (previously Sterling Backcheck) changed the company name in June 2016 to better reflect its new strategic vision. It looks like it’s trying to turn itself into background screening 2.0. It’s made a number of acquisitions, including EmployeeScreenIQ, TalentWise, Verified Person Inc., and others, though some work remains to be done to get everything under one roof. TalentWise gets the company into the onboarding space, but if Sterling wants to expand beyond just market dominance in background screening, it needs to be thinking about more vertical acquisitions. Regardless, Sterling has all the pieces in place to be a leader in this competitive space.


Pennsylvania-based SkillSurvey has a strong foothold in healthcare. With healthcare making up to a fifth of the economy, that’s nothing to sneeze at. Product-wise, there have been some updates to SkillSurvey’s interface in the last two years and with the increased emphasis on assessments, it’s time to get the word out. With sound investment in brand and marketing, SkillSurvey has the potential to dominate.

First Advantage

First Advantage went public in 2003 and actively pursued an acquisition strategy from that point. In 2013, the company acquired Verifications, another big background-screening company, which broadened First Advantage’s portfolio and validated its desire to grow. Being a market veteran, it does have brand power and recognition, but its message could do with some serious fine-tuning. Any moves it makes on that front could rock the assessment and screening world.


The tech talent platform HackerRank secured $4.3 million in venture backing in September 2016, totaling $24.2 million in five rounds and as many years. It has an impressive client list, including Quora, Cisco, and others. We’d like to see more push in brand power for this fast-growing startup to reach its full potential, but it looks to be on the right track.


A company with as much history as Wonderlic has a lot of brand power, and its 2010 rebrand helped shed its dated legacy brand. The company should take some steps to sharpen its message and building thought leadership.

Other Candidate Intelligence Brands to Consider

Accurate Background

Orange County-based Accurate Background has the size to be a player in the space and is maybe best known for being the background-check source for Uber — if that’s something to hang your hat on. However, its brand and message are rather “me too,” and it needs to make a move to hang with the big players in the space.


With strategic partners such as iCIMS, among others, eSkill has some clout, but we’re not seeing any focus on the brand and message front — it’s poorly executed and unengaging.


With a 2015 Series A financing round from Randstad, Checkster is in good company. Its thought leadership has been spot-on, but the brand suffers from a bit of a “me too” messaging issue. We’d like to see a clearer, more differentiated message, so the company can grow beyond its current standing.

OutMatch (Chequed)

Though big in the restaurant industry, OutMatch (formed through the merger of HCM firms Assess Systems and is not gaining the ground we’d like to see. On the product side, it released SaaS+ in June 2016. We’d like to see a focused message that resonates and a greater investment in brand to have the impact this company is capable of.


With its long history, IntelliCorp gets some lift with its brand power, but its “me too” brand and message are not helping in any way. It has a solid client list and market penetration. It’s not entirely clear which direction the company and its product are going in, though. Is no news good news? We don’t think so.

Matchpoint Careers

We’ll be honest: Matchpoint Careers is not engaging anyone with its messaging, and the lack of market impact must be hurting. It appears that the company is still in search of venture backing. We believe its brand and message need a lot of help.

Candidate Intelligence Brands to Note

  • GoodHire — Award-winning GoodHire was founded in 2013. In its first year, it partnered with leading brand ZipRecruiter to offer pre-employment background reports, and in 2016 became a founding partner with Civic Identity Protection Network. The company has a compelling message that focuses on social good, but it needs to add some oomph to get the word out.
  • pymetrics — New York-based pymetrics received $6.13 million in Series A funding in the summer of 2016. We detected some inconsistencies in message across the company’s owned media. It needs to decide on a differentiating story and stick to it.
  • Symphony (SkillCheck) — Symphony (SkillCheck) arrived on the scene 25 years ago in 1991, but still has a ways to go before it can carry a story by itself. After numerous name changes, it’s also no surprise the brand has yet to make much of an impact.
  • OnboardIQ — In May 2015, OnboardIQ raised $1.65 million. Since then, it would seem that this fast-moving company invested in product and business development, but its brand and message still lag behind.
  • Social Intelligence — Social Intelligence may well have a functional association problem on its hands due to the name and its association with social media marketing. We’re not seeing any focus on brand and message.
  • Intelifi — Intelifi’s unique value gets lost in its “me too” messaging. With little in the way of brand and message, the company’s strategic partnerships and integrations reflect a possible growth strategy.
  • Good&Co — In July 2016, Good&Co raised $8 million in Series A funding. Its competitors include Glassdoor, MBTI Tool, and Knozen. We like Good&Co’s fresh message, and it looks like the company’s on track to start making an impact.
  • Hire Intelligence — Headquartered in Virginia, Hire Intelligence was founded in 2011. Brand and message have a long way to go before it’s going to start making any waves.
  • Interviewed — The San Francisco-based startup Interviewed was founded in 2014 and received $2 million in seed funding the following year. It has a decent client list but no brand impact yet.
  • TrueAbility — Another startup, Texas-based TrueAbility was founded in 2012 and raised a total of $2.75 million in its first two years. TrueAbility suffers from a common mistake: a muddy message that doesn’t tell the buyer what it actually does. There’s nothing compelling or engaging about this upstart.
  • Wellhire — Three-year-old Wellhire raised $100,000 in 2014. It has a top client list and good reviews, but we’d like to see more effort made to differentiate this brand.
  • PeopleTicker — This Florida-based company has extensive real-time proprietary data into pay rates and markups for VMS and MSPs — a potentially huge money-saver for high-volume staffers of contingent labor. It’s still early days for this brand, but they are off to a good start.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Leading Recruitment Process Outsourcing Brands


No doubt about it, almost everyone has heard of ManpowerGroup. It has been in the market since 1991, so there is some brand power there. Unfortunately, it’s mostly known as a staffing organization, not as an RPO. We find the RPO message focus is stuffy and stale, and not aligned with how many RPO buyers are evaluating the market.

Randstad Sourceright

Randstad acquired SourceRight Solutions in September 2011 through the purchase of its parent company, SFN Group. The two brands combined became Randstad Sourceright. Strong in brand but weak in message (a muddy message that doesn’t tell the buyer what it actually does), this hurts its potential to grow beyond its current standing.


Founded in 2005, Cielo is one of the premier names in RPO, without the staffing reach (and baggage) of its better-monied competitors. Cielo has global reach, a clear and compelling message, solid brand legs, and very strong competitive potential. Cielo is winning awards and continues to dominate the market. We’re excited to see how the next phase in this company’s growth plays out and see it as an innovator in the RPO industry.


Founded in 1949, ADP has become successful in its strategy of pursuing growth via horizontal integration. The company continues to acquire smaller industry competitors — The RightThing, among others — which helps it to grow inorganically and increase product offerings. Undeniably, ADP is a well-known brand, but its message focus is unexceptional and undifferentiated. Many will buy based on the ADP brand, but will new buyers who don’t remember The RightThing find them under the crush of other ADP services?

IBM Kenexa

IBM acquired Kenexa in 2012, and since then, Kenexa has lost some of its brand shine, but don’t let that make you think it’s not a strong business. The acquisition was all about IBM’s move into the talent market and building a “smarter workforce.” Overall, the brand is still very strong, but it loses out on a dull message. Competitor FUD about Kenexa getting sold may have held the company back, but it has an opportunity to use the IBM name to its advantage if it can get out of its own way.


PeopleScout, a TrueBlue company, has been in the RPO industry since being founded in 1992. In January 2016, PeopleScout acquired the RPO division from Aon Hewitt to help position the company as a leading global RPO provider with more than $150 million in annual revenue. Although the company has brand clout, we’d like to see a more compelling message. PeopleScout should be on a path to growth if it increases investment in brand and improves its message.

Other Recruitment Process Outsourcing Brands to Consider

Alexander Mann Solutions

The U.K.-based Alexander Mann Solutions has a strong international presence and is trending positively in the U.S. Direction with brand and message is good, but it has the potential to be more of a player in North America if it’s willing to invest.


New York-based company Hudson scored well on our scale for brand power. In June 2015, Mastech Holdings Inc. announced the closing of Hudson Global’s U.S. IT staffing acquisition. If Hudson addresses its lack of message focus, it could make a move to become more of a leader.

Seven Step

Seven Step has been consistently awarded for customer satisfaction. The company’s brand and message are inconsistent across different owned media. We believe the company needs help with pushing forward and shaking its legacy image. In 2016, Seven Step acquired U.K. RPO BlueGlue, which should help it in the expanding international markets.


KellyOCG has received numerous distinctions over the last couple of years that have earned the company some brand power. That said, message is weak and uncompelling, and we see blockers to growth without a clear, differentiating go-to-market message that isn’t piggybacking off its staffing brand.


Korn Ferry started Futurestep with a very tech-forward positioning — including a fairly innovative website all the way back in 1998. It should be no surprise that the company takes this tech-forward positioning — and that’s definitely good news. Unfortunately, Futurestep is overshadowed by the larger Korn Ferry name and suffers some functional association difficulties.


Atlanta-based company Kinetix has been in existence since 1990. In May 2015, Kinetix acquired Peak Resource Group, reinforcing Kinetix’s growth strategy to build a broader portfolio of staffing and recruiting capabilities to deliver to clients in addition to its robust RPO and HR consulting services. While not a dominant brand player yet, it makes up for that with a clear message and is trending positively on our scale.


At the beginning of 2016, Pontoon merged with Adecco’s London-based hyphen division. The company has a strong international presence but a very muddled and unengaging message that could hurt its growth.


Florida-based WilsonHCG has made some acquisitions in the last couple of years to solidify its market positioning and strengthen its offerings. The company has received various HR and service awards, and we are seeing it trend positively on our scale. If WilsonHCG can communicate these positive trends through brand and message, it’s in a position for aggressive growth.

Allegis Global Solutions

Founded in 1983 in Maryland, Allegis Group integrated talent operations of its subsidiary Allegis Group Services with the MSP and RPO operations of Australia-based Talent2 under the name Allegis Global Solutions in 2014. Allegis is one of the market leaders, but its brand awareness underperforms at almost an unbelievably low number.


Yoh acquired Starpoint Solutions in October 2016 as a definitive step forward in its project management capabilities. Its message is polarizing, which is great, but it lacks consistency. We’d like to see a more focused message for it to rock the industry’s sensibilities.


Novotus was acquired by Orion International in January 2016 to fuel growth. The company has the building blocks to be a player, but it needs to focus its message and invest in awareness.