The Monster Acquisitions, and the Evolution of Job Boards

monsterlogo2One of the more recognizable aspects of the HCM category to the general public over the last 15 years have been job boards. Whether it has been the Super Bowl commercials or just the general consumer-facing nature of the services, they are some of the best known brands outside of the primary HR buyer audience.

Even if you aren't intimately familiar with with the industry, you probably know that just having a job board isn't a viable strategy anymore. Which is why it was no surprise to us that Monster would make an acquisition at some point, bringing on two newer players in the world of talent acquisition: a sourcing tool (TalentBin) and a social media job distribution tool (Gozaik).

In a press release earlier this week, Sal Iannuzzi, chairman, president, and CEO of Monster Worldwide said, "The acquisition of TalentBin and Gozaik completes one key component of a larger strategy designed to help our business grow."

That emphasis is mine.

It indicates that Monster may still be looking for another acquisition or they may look to shutter unprofitable ventures and reinvest in a revised core of business. Or both. While these weren't huge acquisitions by any means (as ERE's John Zappe rightfully points out, the purchase wasn't enough to file a disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission), they are moving in a different direction.

Other job board competitors have already taken steps to diversify.

Tech job board Dice's Open Web is considered a direct competitor to Monster's newly acquired TalentBin. CareerBuilder has launched initiatives like Personified and Luceo. And of course, LinkedIn didn't start as a job board but it has certainly become one of the largest players for job postings in the US market.

But this action taken by Monster is significant. They are coming off a stronger-than-expected year but their numbers announced during the financial results call with analysts earlier this month shows that overall revenue is still going in the wrong direction. 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.

Maybe this delays the inevitable (a slow decline, a private equity play, or an acquisition), but we are interested in seeing what Monster will look like come May when they plan to announce broader plans and give more insight into their future direction.