Here’s Who Made My ‘Nice List’ in 2017

It’s that time of year again.

In addition to the endless loop of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, unlimited supply of eggnog, and ongoing battle to keep cats out of the Christmas tree, it’s time to revisit the stories from 2017, and whittle it down to the ones who make my “nice list.” Ho-ho-ho!

Here goes:

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  • Google. Holy hell! Launching one service in a year’s time would be enough to make the list, but three sends it to the top of the list. G’s API, ATS and Indeed-killer made blogging a blast this year. A repeat performance will be tough to pull off, but it have the money and brain power to pull it off.
  • LinkedIn. After selling out to Microsoft for $26.2 billion, many (including myself) thought it’d phone it in, thinking Microsoft only dropped cash to keep Google and others at bay. Not so. Aside from launching new features galore this year, LinkedIn is using its 550 million profiles to play a different game then everyone else. Embracing Microsoft’s AI know-how means it’ll probably pull it off.
  • AI. There wouldn’t have been much to write about this year without it. Even though I’m not exactly sure what it is, and I’m pretty sure none of these companies are actually artificially intelligent, it sure was the buzzworthiest technology in recruiting in 2017. Look for more money and more startups to pop up next year, at least until everyone figures out these are all just decision trees. Bubble, anyone?
  • Facebook. LinkedIn’s $26.2 billion price tag sure got the attention of the world’s largest social network, now almost 2 billion strong. Zuck and Co. launched job postings, a Slack-killer, and even started tinkering with being a resume database. If anyone is going to give LinkedIn’s network and Microsoft resources a run for their money, it’s Facebook.
  • Slack. It’s a messaging service for the workplace. Simple enough, right? Turns out there’s incredible value in leveraging the most popular activity on mobile devices, however. Add the fact that no one seems to be able to introduce a viable competitor, and you now have a company valued at over $5 billion. A valuation, by the way, that’s more than Monster, CareerBuilder, and Dice, times two. Simple enough, indeed.
  • Engagement. Resume blackhole be-gone! Startups and features bubbled to the surface this year that gives our industry hope that job seekers will no longer feel lonely and unloved. Companies like Crowded, Envoy, Lever, ConveyIQ, and Mya are leading the way into this warmer, fuzzier future.
  • Entelo. These guys have been winning, quietly, for over six years. In addition to launching Envoy, it has raised $20 million and hired some of the smartest folks in the Valley and the industry. How in the world no one’s backed up the Brinks truck and acquired these guys by now is a mystery.
  • hiQ. One of the most important legal fights in the history of the Internet is being waged by this itty-bitty startup. HiQ vs. LinkedIn will have lasting and far reaching implications for all kinds of companies and determine the future of crawling the web. The outcome may be our industry’s story of year for 2018.

I’m surely missing a few. This year was one of the busiest I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a few. It was also one of the most captivating years to cover as a blogger. If you want a deep dive, checkout my archives. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get busy on my “naughty list,” which is going to take a lot more of my time.

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.