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Analysts spend a lot of time reporting on trends in their industry – a lot of time. I’ve spent the majority of my time staring at, thinking on, and writing about data from our first annual Talent Acquisition Survey these last few weeks. Thankfully, a bit of industry news hit the wire last week regarding two very large players in the solution provider community:

This kind of activity is always exciting, and many took to the web to offer up their thoughts on the deals – what it means for the buyer, what it means for their competitors, and what it means for the industry as a whole. This comes hot on the heels of Infor’s acquisition of PeopleAnswers, which I covered in my blog a few weeks ago, and there’s speculation that this may be the beginning of the next big wave of acquisitions in the space.

Though I’m not sure how big the wave will be, I’m inclined to agree that these are more than your run-of-the-mill acquisitions. If the number of blogs and news stories discussing it are any indication, pundits find Workday’s deal particularly interesting. I agree it’s significant – considering Identified’s unique approach to candidate sourcing. I’m a bit biased, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll continue seeing legacy HCM providers quite literally buying into the power of social-powered, analytics-driven point solutions.

But am I missing something? It seems there has been little-to-no discussion on Monster’s acquisition of TalentBin and Gozaik. On the contrary, it seems this bit of TA tech news has been eclipsed by Workday’s acquisition of Identified.

What’s the Deal with Monster’s Deal?
I don’t know much about Gozaik, but I’ve seen TalentBin – and like it (both the technology itself and their founder, Pete Kazanjy). At first glance, the product is very similar to other sourcing tools like Entelo or Gild. But where TalentBin distinguishes itself is beyond sourcing. The platform delivers solid CRM functionality and features a unique, outreach-centered approach to applicant tracking systems. To be honest, Monster’s acquisition piques my interest far more than Workday’s, as it is potentially more significant. I say potentially because Monster is being particularly secretive about their plans for these products.

In the press release announcing the acquisition, Sal Iannuzzi, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Monster Worldwide, stated the deal “completes one key component of a larger strategy designed to help our business grow.” Apparently details of these plans will be covered in more detail at their investor briefing event later this year.

Reading around, however, it seems other industry voices are less than impressed:

  • Joel Cheesman, Editor-in-Chief at Hire Daily quipped, “… what the acquired companies do is less important than to me than what Monster will do with them. History says they’ll screw it up, as their track record with acquisitions isn’t much to brag about.”
  • My friend Lance Haun, Editor for Starr Conspiracy and longtime industry thought leader, said, “Nearly two years after trying (and failing) to sell themselves to the highest bidder, Monster is trying to position themselves for an unlikely revival, one many companies don’t get the opportunity to attempt.”

I can’t help but wonder: Is this the general consensus, that it’s the death throes of a once-great giant now on the decline? If so, I’m not convinced. As I see it, this is a smart move focused on bolstering their competitive edge against other job board giants like Dice and CareerBuilder – both of whom have spent the last few years diversifying product offerings for employers and job-seekers alike.

While Cheesman makes a valid point in calling out the other opportunities Monster has had, I think it’s unfair to assume this is just one more floundering in the making.

And I’m not alone. Matt Charney – a respected recruiting pundit and former Monster employee, now Managing Editor and Director of Marketing at RecruitingBlogs.com – offered his thoughts on the deals, including predictions on where these technologies will fit into existing product offerings. As he sees it (and I agree), this likely indicates a move toward social-powered sourcing, advertising and CRM. Still, Charney voiced concern about Monster’s ability to make the most of the opportunity at hand – citing the BeKnown disaster and troubles with Trovix repackaging.

For now, I’m going to withhold anything more than a healthy helping of renewed interest in Monster. As many talent acquisition strategies continue moving toward attracting talent rather than scouring job boards looking for it, the Monsters of the world are reaching a critical sink-or-swim juncture.

My instincts tell me we may be pleasantly surprised as we learn more of their plans in the coming months. More on this as it develops.

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

Kyle Lagunas

As the Talent Acquisition Analyst at Brandon Hall Group, Kyle heads up research in key practices in sourcing, assessing, hiring, and onboarding - as well recruitment marketing, candidate experience, and social recruiting. Through primary research and deep analysis, he keeps today's business leaders in touch with important conversations and emerging trends in the rapidly changing world of talent. Kyle has spent the last several years offering a fresh take on the role of technology as part of an integrated talent strategy, and focuses on providing actionable insights to keep leading organizations a step ahead. Previously the HR Analyst at Software Advice, he is regular contributor on SHRM's We Know Next and TLNT, and his work has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Business Insider, Information Weekly, and HRO Today.

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