CareerBuilder Surprises Industry With Launch of New Consulting Business

Jan 16, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Taking the industry by surprise, CareerBuilder this morning launched a new talent management consulting and employment branding firm it calls Personified .

Headed by Mary Delaney, formerly chief sales officer for, the new company says it works in four key areas:

  • Acquisition, providing an RPO service for continuous and large scale hiring, as well as consulting on internal procedures and processes;
  • Employment branding;
  • Workforce culture, with a focus on creating a diverse workplace;
  • Training in recruitment, leadership, sales, diversity, and project management.

“That’s a pretty big area,” says Peter Weddle , executive director of the International Association of Employment Web Sites and a nationally known recruitment consultant. That CareerBuilder would launch such a company is “not surprising, but it is interesting. There are forces that argue for it and forces against it.”

Weddle told us that at every conference of the IAEWS recruiting executives of major employers deliver a consistent message: “Stop selling us job postings. Start selling us solutions.” “OK,” Weddle says of Personified, “This is a solution.”

CareerBuilder’s avowed reason for launching Personified, according to today’s announcement is that it is an evolution of the work already being done by the job site’s Human Capital Consulting Division, which Delaney started.

“The new company was formed to address increased demands from the market for more robust talent management solutions,” says CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson. Then there’s also the opportunity for CareerBuilder to improve its share of the $18.4 billion global human resources consulting industry, a point made in the announcement.

Recruiting consultant and industry pundit John Sumser put it more bluntly, “The launch of Personified marks a profound inflection point for the newspaper industry. (CareerBuilder is owned by three of the largest newspaper groups in the United States.) Classified advertising is all but dead in the print form and online advertising services are rapidly eliminating the newspapers as players.”

“Growth is a challenging objective in a market where the basic unit price is always declining. In order for CareerBuilder to continue to meet growth objectives, it must crawl out from the advertising ghetto. Personified is their first attempt to do so.”

Of course, the new company has its challenges. Its employment branding service, though not fully detailed either in the press release or on the Web site, puts CareerBuilder in competition with some of its biggest customers such as Hodes and Shaker and it creates the potential for conflict of interest charges.

“Someone might want to remind them that TMP and Hodes both had to segregate their media businesses from their agency businesses,” says Sumser, referring to the job boards both companies were once a part of.

Competitively, however, Joe Shaker, CEO of Shaker Recruitment Advertising and Communications, one of the largest recruitment advertising firms in the world, told us he expected that his company’s good relationship with CareerBuilder would continue. “I don’t see that changing.” Shaker says, adding that he had no advance knowledge of the new company and, like Weddle, first learned of it today.

“They’ve certainly been flying under the radar with this,” he added. “Now that it’s out, I expect I’ll start hearing from them (other job boards).”

Although Weddle says he can think of no other pure play job board that has started a similar consulting business, “it’s going to get them thinking.”

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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