ICYMI: The Stories That Shook The Recruiting World in 2018

I get it. You’re busy. You can’t be expected to catch all the recruitment news and opinion from 2018, right? That’s why I’m going to break down the 10 stories you may have missed, but shouldn’t have. Knowledge is power, and all that.

  • iCIMS acquires TextRecruit. I wrote “Here’s Why iCIMS Acquisition of TextRecruit Is So Brilliant, Scary for Competitors” shortly after word broke that the old school ATS had gobbled up the sexy messaging startup. With the growth of all-things-messaging in 2018, the move looks even smarter.
  • Scout raises $100 million. There’s raising cash and there’s raising cash. Relatively quiet Scout announced raising $100 million back in March, saying in a release that “Scout is pushing the limits of what’s possible to create a new category of recruiting that’s much more efficient and effective than traditional approaches.”
  • CareerBuilder’s roller coaster. The job board was the gift that kept on giving in 2018. Layoffs, exiting executives, new office space, and saying goodbye to a CEO that had been on the job for 14 years all made headlines last year. For its sake, I hope 2019 is painfully dull.
  • Referral businesses still suck. It may be the best way to recruit but no one can get employee referrals right. Both Indeed and LinkedIn closed down offerings in 2018, joining the dead pool with names like Jobster, H3, and Refer.com. Maybe someone will get it right next year, but I’m not holding my breath. Maybe Teamable will break the curse.
  • Indeed’s parent company acquires Glassdoor. Jumping in before the anonymous employee review site could go public, Recruit Holdings paid $1.2 billion to help fend off Google for Jobs, Facebook, and LinkedIn’s growth. My initial thoughts were aplenty, but most importantly, “I can’t imagine these two brands remaining autonomous forever. I’m sure everyone at Glassdoor has been told nothing is going to change, but if I feel this deal is a move to be the fourth horse in a four-horse race, then both brands cannot stand alone for long.”
  • Monster gets a new CEO. It took long enough, but Monster finally found its man in Scott Gutz, a geek with an MIT degree and a history leading tech companies. Time will tell, and I’ve compared Monster’s road ahead, taking on the likes of Google, Indeed, and LinkedIn, like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Nevertheless, the brand is still breathing, competent execs have entered the building and the new air of transparency is refreshing.
  • Microsoft buys GitHub. The rich got richer last year, as Microsoft (the company that owns LinkedIn) acquired geek central, GitHub, for $7.5 billion. “Computing is becoming embedded in the world, with every part of our daily life and work and every aspect of our society and economy being transformed by digital technology,” blogged Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO. “Developers are the builders of this new era, writing the world’s code. And GitHub is their home.” Indeed. If you’re keeping score, Microsoft now owns the world’s two most important recruiting platforms.
  • ZipRecruiter makes it rain! The rise of ZipRecruiter was a big story in 2018, which was highlighted by its raise of $156 million in October, valuing the company at $1.5 billion. “This financing will be used to double down on our market-leading technology advantage,” said CEO Ian Siegel at the time. “ZipRecruiter is ushering in the age of smart recruiting.” Expect big things from Zip in 2019.
  • Upwork goes public. The IPO was a dud, but the gig economy platform hitting the public markets was an important story that should get more important as time passes. Assuming the economy goes south at some point in the next year or two, the newly unemployed could flock to contract work. Additionally, if Microsoft decides to add Upwork to its portfolio of companies, which already includes LinkedIn and GitHub, well, look out!
  • Google’s Candidate Discovery tool goes primetime. Hire by Google continued moving forward throughout the whole year, but the unveiling of the Candidate Discovery tool was maybe the most important. The new feature helps employers uncover candidates already residing in the deep, dark corners of its resume database. Assuming it takes off, Candidate Discovery should help Google springboard the tech into searching the internet-at-large, helping recruiters access a ridiculously large pool of workers outside the walls of their own ATS.

This was a tough one. There were a lot of great stories in 2018, and I’m looking forward to another busy year of industry news. Bring on 2019.

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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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