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Glassdoor’s Acquired; Indeed’s the Winner – and the rest of the industry better watch out.

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In news that seemed like an obvious (expected) move to me, yet is causing surprise in the marketplace – Glassdoor was acquired overnight for more than a billion dollars by Recruit – a Japanese holding company that most people haven’t actually heard of – other notable brands they own include Workopolis which was just acquired last month and Indeed which they acquired back in 2012.

Basically, Indeed just bought Glassdoor.

In 2016 I said that the most significant winner in the Monster acquisition was Indeed. They had been struggling to move past the Monster brand and become more revenue driven. That acquisition opened the door for what had been developed as a solid internal strategy and team to take the lead in the global job search marketplace.

Indeed’s growth over the last 18 months has seemed to prove that prediction, nearly doubling its anticipated 2018 EOY numbers over 2016. Their unique approach to have EVERY job posting in the world on their site was a differentiator in what had become an expensive, low hire quality world of job boards. SMB’s and enterprise were using online job boards again, and the Indeed pay for performance model was attractive after years of wasting money on posts that yielded meager hire rates according to multiple reports. In fact, a 2017 ATS vendor analyzed their data and found that for 329.000 hires tracked by their solution, 65% had applied by indeed.

Glassdoor’s growth has been no less impressive, I remembered the first briefing with them in a small hotel room in Chicago shortly after their launch a decade ago. It was a fraction of what the product is today, but the awareness I was seeing something that would forever change how people searched for their job was breathtaking. Since the July 2008 launch, Glassdoor has become the founder and leader in a world of feedback apps for work that put a companies culture front and center. Dozens of products now sit on the market (Women should pay particular attention to FairyGodBoss) that they created, and most people wouldn’t think of taking a job without reading the reviews. As of last month, they have more than 40 million reviews on the site.

Where Glassdoor and Indeed Overlap

Job Boards

Believe it or not, Glassdoor is the 2nd largest job board behind Indeed already. The merger of these two companies will create an actual database of jobs the likes of which we have never seen and further progress the holding companies desire to post EVERY open position available for free.

Winners: Assuming they continue the model they have with Indeed, this will be a massive win for job seekers and companies alike.

Losers: Any ATS vendor that has refused to do the direct integrations with Indeed – its been a misguided and outdated strategy to overlook job boards as a standard of service or require third-party integrations when it’s not a complicated API. Companies will (should) expect a free posting on the worlds largest job board.

Company Reviews

Much like the surprise most have at the Glassdoor ranking in job boards; a lot of people forget that Indeed launched their own company review platform – racking up an impressive 18 million reviews. The combination of the these two will be THE site for career feedback.

Winners: Recruit Holdings; Job Seekers and Companies with great experiences

Losers: The smaller startups that looked to the fragmented competition in the market to find an edge. The exception here will be the vendors with a unique perspective (Interns, Women, etc.) but even they may feel a hit on monetization.


The content produced by Glassdoor and Indeed has minimal overlap and typically approaches the business topics a bit different. I am hopeful they find a way to keep both as I find the analytical data from Glassdoor to be some of the best in the business – ranking right up there with the Linkedin reports. The best practice data and approach that Indeed has traditionally shared can benefit from the meatiness of depth. I think together, the data science and analysis of the scope of what they have together will be something that is unmatched in this marketplace.

Where They Should focus Next:

Recruiting Software. (ATS) While both have played nicely with multiple vendors, it is hard not to look at what they have each rolled out and the strategies in play and not assume they will roll out an ATS/CRM type hybrid shortly. I don’t think there is an existing product on the market that would be a high acquisition target for Recruit Holdings if they are looking to go straight to market with it. Any acquisition they make will require some improvements to support the size and global reach, not to mention the data and analytics focus both companies hold close to their hearts. Most likely we would see a recruitment marketing or CRM play with an in-house designed ATS coming to light soon.

If I were an ATS or Talent Management vendor…I’d be looking at this with a little more seriousness as it relates to my own market share future –  taking an honest look at my technology, seeing where we fit with where the market seems to be headed, and making sure I was ready to compete with what either an Indeed (or possibly a Linkedin) ATS would do to an already shrinking space.

Biggest loser in the deal: CareerBuilder.

Even with a new ownership group in 2017, they have struggled to overcome the disjointed approach, misguided market strategy and lack of focus that took down the one time leader.  Their clients are loyal, there funding partner and backing is still new enough it should be energized.  This will be a rough road ahead but one that they should look at as a challenge not a defeat – taking the time to audit and reevalate their approach vs trying to compete head on will be their best strategy for success.

Comments 3

  1. Interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

  2. James Coke says:

    This is all great until candidates realise that they hold all the aces post GDPR. When that happens the tide will turn against the jobs board and platforms. Watch this space.

    • Most of the products started planning for and achieved compliance for GDPR well before it rolled out. The bigger issue (especially since GDPR is still limited to one segment of world) will be the impact of google and what they are rolling out on all the job boards…

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