The 10 Most Important People in HR Tech in 2017

I just love end-of-the-year lists.

With everyone taking a well-earned break and news releases taking a much appreciated hiatus from my inbox, it’s a good time to reflect on the past, as well as look to the future. For this post, I’ll review the most important industry folks from 2017. Here goes:

  1. Bogomil Balkansky, VP at Google. No company made a bigger splash in the recruitment industry as Google, launching a search API, an Indeed-killer, and an applicant tracking system. While the search brainiacs in Mountain View worry about the first two, Balkansky is overseeing Google Hire, the product with the most potential, while also being the one needing the most work with the highest mountain to climb.
  2. Dan Shapero, VP, Talent Solutions & Careers at LinkedIn. The industry’s most influential company is LinkedIn, and the person behind the initiatives that impact recruiting the most is Shapero. The company is playing a different game than everyone else, leveraging predictive analytics and AI to change how hiring will be done in the future. Shapero is the tip of that spear.
  3. Gaurav Dosi, product manager, Jobs on Facebook. The world’s largest social network decided to get into job search in a big way in 2017, and Dosi is the face behind the initiative. In addition to giving Pages on Facebook the ability to post jobs, the company is actively building bridges with vendors like ZipRecruiter and Jobscore to extend reach and awareness.
  4. Stewart Butterfield, CEO at Slack. Turning an enterprise messaging app into a company valued at over $5 billion is no small feat, but Butterfield has done just that. The spunky startup now has competitors with names like Microsoft and Facebook, so we’ll see if momentum continues in 2018. My guess? It sells and Butterfield becomes a very rich man.
  5. Mark Weidick. CEO at hiQ Labs. He’s the slingshot-wielding David to LinkedIn’s Goliath, taking on — and beating — the professional network in a real life court of law. The case will have lasting impact on how bots scrape information from publicly available sites, which means companies like Google and Craigslist, in addition to influential nonprofits, are watching closely.
  6. Jon Bischke, CEO at Entelo. Founded in 2011, his company has quietly become a major force in recruiting, and 2017 may go down as the year that took it to the stratosphere. This past year, Entelo landed $20 million in funding in a Series C that brought it to a total of $40 million, added some major talent to its team, including a data scientist from Google, and dropped Envoy, an artificial intelligence that actually looks intelligent.
  7. Paul D’Arcy, SVP, marketing, at Indeed. The world’s largest job site had quite a year, dealing with Google and Facebook getting into employment, as well as LinkedIn adding Microsoft dollars and resources to its arsenal. At the center of it all is D’Arcy, who gets to shoulder the burden of crafting a message and strategy to keep the Huns at bay. No easy task, especially for a company that for 10 years has defined marketing success as kickass SEO.
  8. Robert Hohman, CEO and cofounder at Glassdoor. Indeed gets a lot of the attention when it comes to who has to fight against the likes of Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn, but Glassdoor is right there too. And in addition to new competition, Glassdoor gets to spend what seems like an eternity in court fighting employers who want to know who’s leaving naughty reviews on the site. Speculation and over $200 million in funding says that Glassdoor wants to go public, but anonymity and legal battles may be getting in the way. Throw in upstarts like Blind and the fact that LinkedIn may be looking to get into the review game and 2018 may be a make-or-break year for Hohman’s company.
  9. Sjoerd Gehring, global VP of talent acquisition and employee experience at Johnson & Johnson. Jibe and its commitment to pimping Google products deserves a lot of the credit, but Gehring gets major props for the simple fact that he represents a big company doing some really progressive things. J&J was one of the first companies to integrate Google’s job search API, which resulted in 45 percent more career site click-throughs and a 41 percent increase in “highly qualified applicants” for business critical roles. It also worked with a variety of vendors to improve candidate engagement, job descriptions, and unconscious bias.
  10. Ian Siegel, cofounder and CEO at ZipRecruiter. Siegel has taken a company that used to be a punchline and turned it into one of the few job board success stories in the last 10 years. You can’t escape the traditional marketing tactics that embrace television and radio to get the word out to SMBs, an audience that doesn’t attend conferences or read this blog. It has also embraced Google and Facebook to distribute jobs, as well as acquired JobBoard.io, a white label job board solution.

Our industry is diverse and ever-changing, and there are many people who make the machine hum along day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month. I expect next year’s list to be very different. The 10 people in my list, however, really made 2017 interesting.

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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 Jobing.com. 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.

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