The biggest news in the recruitment industry this month has been the acquisition of online review site Glassdoor by the parent company of job aggregator Indeed. Japanese company Recruit Holdings, which already owns Indeed, made the announcement early this month, bringing both companies under one umbrella to the tune of £1.2bn and shaking up the recruitment industry into the bargain.

Launched almost ten years ago, Glassdoor was founded with the intention of opening up the employers market, letting candidates read reviews of certain companies that would ultimately help them to make an informed decision when applying to jobs. So how will it fit in with Indeed, whose own ethos is all about collating and displaying jobs from all around the Internet?

The basic motivation behind the purchase seems to be to increase Indeed’s competitiveness in the jobs market. Google, Facebook and LinkedIn are the recruitment titans currently taking up a lot of business in the marketplace, and with Google rolling out its Google for Jobs API across America (and, more recently, Canada and India) Indeed feels threatened. In fact, Google for Jobs’ layout will essentially cut out the need for Indeed at all, as it allows job seekers to browse vacancies via the Google for Jobs widget, before clicking a link to apply that will take them directly to that vacancy.

This new partnership will likely help Indeed and Glassdoor to remain relevant in the industry. Indeed is looking to diversify its revenue by tackling multiple areas of the candidate journey, which in turn will help it compete with the recruitment giants by offering the candidate more. Rumour has it that eventually, the two platforms will combine into one site, with jobseekers able to browse both jobs and reviews before applying to vacancies.

They’re already taking steps towards this, with Indeed announcing that it’s already started to make changes to its site- one of which being the ‘enhanced profile pages’ that reveal the job descriptions of various vacancies in a side panel as the candidate browses. The ultimate aim? To become more like Glassdoor, so that when the merger finally happens, metrics and data will easily transition from one platform to the other.

So, what does this mean for the recruitment industry? 

Competition is always good for business, and this move is definitely designed to increase competition in the market. The ultimate winner, of course, is always the consumer, and giving them more information to choose the right job will give Facebook, LinkedIn and Google a run for their money.

As a result, these tech giants- and smaller jobboards like ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder or Monster- will have to innovate to keep up, which in turn will make for a more dynamic industry. Ultimately, it’s a race to see who will crack the software that will let these companies scale AI across their software- which will make for the ultimate tailored user experience- and many companies are investing in doing just this. Without the technological smarts or financial backing of sites like Google and Facebook, they are innovating by going after companies who can offer something new in terms of user experience, have an industry pedigree and technology Indeed can use to innovate with.

Really, this means they should be investing in buying out tech companies, or at least companies who are making inroads into AI, but one path they may very well go down is starting to buy out other, smaller, jobboards to buy up business and increase their range.

For recruitment agencies in particular, this could be a goldmine. Indeed’s switch to a more Glassdoor-oriented approach means that they’ll be emphasising the importance of employer branding, content and of course, reviews: an excellent way to improve reputation for marketing-savvy agencies, especially as many of them are starting to embrace their company profiles as a new recruitment channel, as well as the PPC campaign possibilities across such a wide user base.

What to do now? Start working on your employer brand, your company profile, and building up your network of reviews across Glassdoor. 

In such a competitive industry, it doesn’t pay to miss a trick- and this merger may prove to be the biggest shock success of them all.

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