Indeed Conspiracy Theories
Grab your aluminum foil-covered cap and check-out our recent convo with Dennis Tupper, who thinks Indeed has delusions of staffing business grandeur. This is a Talroo exclusive.
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Joel: Feeling fine and cherry wine. What's up peeps? This is Joel Cheesman of the Chad and Cheese Podcast, joined today by Chad Sowash. Chad, how are you?
Chad : Hello.
Joel: And joining us today on the show for conspiracy theories is industry icon and veteran as well as Chad and Cheese super fan. Dennis Tupper. Dennis, welcome to the show.
Dennis: Thank you.
Joel: Well Dennis, let's get right into this thing. You've got some conspiracy theories about Indeed that you'd like to share. So I'm going to let you have the floor and Chad and I will unleash on you when you're done.
Dennis: Yeah, sure. So if you're paying attention in the industry for things long enough, you kind of noticed some trends and got a feeling that Indeed might be trending towards becoming more of a staffing firm than they are a job posting platform.
Joel: Which is when I interject the fact that I predicted that months ago. But, keep going please.
Dennis: So, I've just been paying attention to this for years now because when they came up with, I think it was Indeed Prime, I remember having our Indeed rep in the office for a meeting and then just literally turning the screen around and say, "What's that?" And it was an extremely uncomfortable for them and inquisitive for us at the time. It was just, "Oh yeah, it's just an experiment. It's only a couple markets," et cetera. And today, Indeed Prime is 50,000 plus candidates they boast, and in 80 different markets that went from eight to eighty. So is that a is that an experiment or is that a staffing product?
Joel: There are two companies that did the exact same fucking thing. Monster and CareerBuilder, and where the hell did they end up?
SFX: That is one big pile of shit.
Dennis: They didn't have Daddy Warbucks recruit behind them though, right?
Joel: Yeah, exactly right.
Dennis: They got deep pockets. Look at Google, they have deep pockets. They can kind of throw money around and test anything and fail, and it doesn't matter to the bottom line. If you look at what their recent release was in terms of earnings and stuff like that. I think Indeed Glassdoor, like 46% revenue increase.
Chad : Let's ask why, because I think once we ask why we can get into some of the more nitty gritty, but why is Indeed doing this?
Dennis: I don't if it's evil genius, long-term planning or something they stumbled into but, the way they built their business model is off of first job boards and then staffing and now they're really kicking off job boards and then staffing is getting treated differently than were in the past year and so I could talk about it at length and now staffing is being treated a little bit differently and then they're bringing on all these different products in terms of we can get into it with acquisition.
Dennis: It's like Syft, for gig and ClickIQ and Hire for Perm , which they're advertising that they're hiring, hiring specialists and recruiters. So, is that staffing?
Chad : Indeed is the stereotypical hit it and quit it playboy, aren't they?
Dennis: So, I don't know if it's some long-term plan but, you look at from inception, back in the early two thousands to present day, that would make a lot of sense if that's a long-term plan and it's being executed and very well. Or someone just got crazy-ass lucky in that luck keeps continuing. But, something tells me at a place that big with a backing like that, that it's probably more so a long-term plan.
Chad : I'm going to throw in a why, and you tell me if you think I'm right or not. I think a big why in this whole staffing strategy is Google for Jobs. And I think that Indeed realizes that the cash cow of clicks for job postings is waning and they need to roll the dice on some other businesses. They're already owned by a staffing company. So it's not a real long stretch to imagine that getting into the staffing business where, gee, that's kind of a profitable business anyway, is probably a good move in light of what Google's doing. Agree or not?
Dennis: Agree. You've got to differentiate yourself, especially from a giant, and you can get just completely eaten up if you don't differentiate yourself against Google for gosh sakes. Right?
Chad : And staffing is something I don't think Google cares a shit about.
Chad : There's no way that you're going to see Google reps recruiting.
Dennis: It's too much work. And if you look at what indeed does, they have the supply, they have millions and millions of relevant resumes. You can argue that the higher-end ones, they might not be as mature as a database for, they don't have that, they don't boast millions of resumes, but their legacy from like 2001. You got the demands. The demand's there. They have the contact info of all these companies, the hiring managers, procurement leads, owners, their names or phone numbers, all that stuff. And then they got the data. They can look at demand trends by company, by geo, by skill set. And then they have the infrastructure of ... they have a so many salespeople banging away at the phones. And their call centers in Tempe and Austin and wherever, where, those people have to have thick skin.
Dennis: Think about recruiters, you got to be banging the phones, working hard, sourcing. You gotta have thick skin, you got quotas, you got process, you got metrics. That's a staffing sales environment. They have everything in place where, I don't know if you saw the documentary or movie on Snowden, but he was just like, all this stuff was there. It just takes one person to flip that switch.
Joel: So companies have tried to do this before and as I'd said, Monster and CareerBuilder, they didn't have a recruit holdings backing. But they've tried this before. They've tried to edge into staffing. And in some cases, they went in with a sledgehammer and at least tried to break it up. Do you think that the big reason why Indeed's going to be a successful, or maybe they won't be, but do you think it all revolves around really the holdings company?
Dennis: I think that's a big part of it in terms of the ability to take risks and fail and still financially keep going. At the same time, I wasn't in the trenches back when Monster did it as I have been for the past like seven or so years, so I don't know as much about their attempts to do so, but I mean the backing is just unparalleled. And the types of products that are out there to help support it, weren't there now that are there now in term ClickIQ and Syft and stuff.
Joel: Here's the big question though. Why the fuck are staffing companies still fueling Indeed? Because they're paying them now. They used to have free organic traffic, all that other, everybody was happy. It was all rainbows and fucking unicorns. Then, they ripped all that shit away and said, you're going to pay for everything you get. But now taking a look at the growth of Indeed Prime and the prospect of going full staffing, why our staffing companies, why are RPOs, why are they fueling this specific competitor? That's exactly what Monster did. That's exactly what CareerBuilder did when they got on the heroin trip. Why are they doing it?
Dennis: I think it just comes a time when, what are we fueling, but what's our ROI and are you willing to sacrifice some revenue for them for revenue, what you get back? Which, okay, if-
Joel: That's so short-term dude, that is so short-term and so bullshit. You don't, if you're going to war with somebody, you don't feed them with ammunition. You don't pay for their big-ass bombs. And that's what staffing's doing.
Dennis: ... Yeah. If it's not big enough at the time, then it's okay to do it. If it continues to grow, then you've got to make a decision to not be a revenue stream for your competition. Short-term, long-term, once they interfere with you or become more of a threat then yeah, you got to make that [crosstalk 00:08:51].
SFX: Fuck this man, game over man. It's game over.
Joel: So let's stay on the Syft and the ClickIQ. Let's break those out a little bit. So Syft, obviously more focused in one specific area, where ClickIQ I think is an entirely different animal. That's a UK platform. Both of them are actually. So, what's the next step for something like Syft? Do they grow it in the UK or do they just go ahead and try to absorb that and bring it to the big money maker here in the U.S. and try to make it work here?
Dennis: Yeah, we're just a market where it's going to be more prevalent and I would think it'd be the U.S.-based so, it's a good acquisition to absorb over here and bring it into the biggest market that there is. And it was a good move, especially with gig where everything's going. There's so much there. All you had to do is just ... with them and buy it, implement it, watch it run.
Chad : What does Indeed look like in five years in your opinion?
Dennis: I think they could be more of a staffing company than they are. They'll look at everything they have interviewed as a product I think that they have there for personality and skill assessments. And they bought resume.com which can just pipeline more resumes. So I feel like they're going to make the shift. I think their model is still, and again it's all one big conspiracy thought that we're having here but, at the end of the day, there's a big body of work there and a big trend line and I think that they will be more of a staffing firm than they are a recruitment.
Chad : Do you think more revenues will come in from staffing then clicks in five year?
Chad : Well, okay.
Dennis: To your point with Google for Jobs, you got to differentiate yourself and feel, be different. That's the way they can kind of get away with it yet compete in a different manner.
Joel: Yeah. Eventually Google is going to turn on their click machine as well and companies are going to have to decide where the budget's going to go and inevitably some of it's going to come away from Indeed.
Dennis: Oh gosh, yeah, a hundred percent and I wish there was more transparency with partners on how much ... obviously they're not going to tell you how much traffic you're getting from Google for Jobs through partnerships from direct employers or Dice or Zip or something like that. But once they flip that switch too, it's also going to be questionable on how much of an impact is it having with those partners that once they monetize and go direct to staffing and everybody else, what's going to happen to CareerBuilder, Dice, direct employers? If they're getting that traffic taken away and it's a large percentage of it, what's that downstream effect going have? So when that day comes, I have no idea. But that's going to be a hell of a day.
Joel: Which is a great segue to our pane view conversation that we had earlier last week Chad.
Chad : Indeed. It's interesting because they differentiated themselves from job boards by being a job search engine and now they've come full circle and there they are, really a traditional job board. All of the postings are seen on their site, but the thing that's different is duration-based versus performance. It's still performance. The big difference here though is that half the amount of traffic is actually finding its way to the employer's site and it's costing about twice as much to get half the traffic. Obviously as staffing companies now have to pay for their dinner, they're lunch, their whatever to be able to get those candidates. They're paying twice as much and getting less clicks. What are your thoughts on that evolution and also again, does this mean that staffing is going to have to eject and really look for alternatives much faster than they thought?
Dennis: I think at the end of the day, you take yourself out of your seat and say, "What is best for the candidate experience and to make them keep coming back?" And then, there's going to be a model and it either works or doesn't work and I feel like that for the candidate experience makes it better. So you're going to have much more return traffic to that site. So, it comes at a cost to us, the people who are doing the advertising on it. But the industry changes and some things work in your favor, something don't. Yeah it sucks, but at the end of the day that's just the way that things are working. And so we don't have somebody coming over to our site from that redirect and then looking at our other jobs and whatnot. And all the free views at that point. Or lower your cost-per-view if you attribute it to the initial, wherever they're coming from.
Dennis: But yeah, at the end of the day you need to make the the experience good for the candidate no matter what. So, different companies including our own are investing heavily in terms of making that experience good here. So that way you don't have to rely as heavy on external sources and you've got people coming more organically, but that's pie in the sky stuff. But you aim for it, you work towards it and go towards the best result. But, something called the cost of doing business. And that is better for the candidate, better experience, and that's just the way that it goes to get a deal done.
Chad : So it seems like the overall indeed platform really wants or is pushing for companies to get rid of CRMs, to get rid of that career site experience because it can all be done through Indeed. If you are just hitting easy apply as you get onto an actual job description, well hell, I can send the information directly into an applicant tracking system and then bam, you're done. Now, we can have the argument around easy apply, is that really good for the market or not, but still if you take a look at everything that they're trying to do, you have to ask yourself from an ROI standpoint, are they trying to cut out CRMs? Are they trying to cut out all the cosmetic user experience that a company is building videos and content and all that stuff around their corporate career site just to be able to do a shotgun method, an easy apply method through indeed.
Dennis: It is, but then people draw a line. And I remember what they tried to do was, do you guys recall hearing about the fact that they were trying to say that we're not going to let you advertise our jobs if you have a career site that has a join our talent community on it? Do you recall that?
Dennis: What's Joel's favorite word? Hubris, I think. So that was extremely forward but it goes along with that type of thinking. But at the end of the day I think, is that part of the strategy or is that just what happens when you're making it two pane and just keeping them there? I don't know specifically but it does work in their favor. There's no doubt about that.
Joel: To ask you about your opinion on the future of job boards, and I want to bring Chad's point on the job search side to Google search in general, and SEOs have been complaining for a long time about what's called no-click search. You go to Google today and directions to the airport or your search and meatloaf recipes or you search, almost whatever, right? How old, when was Abraham Lincoln born, et cetera, right? You can get those answers within Google, right? Like they have little snippets from websites that have the answers, so you don't even have to click on the site or the link to find the answers to your questions. Well, that might be great for the user. It might be great for Google. It's very good for Google because they stay on Google, but it's probably really bad for the site that actually created the content, right?
Joel: So, you don't go to the site, you don't see their ads, you don't get their retargeting code for more ads about what they're pushing. You've basically created a webpage, Google's taking your content and creating answers for people, but you don't get any of the benefits. And I think jobs is sort of a unique case because most people don't care if their job postings are all over the place because they're not thoughtful blog posts or information about stuff. But, I also think that it puts job boards in a situation where they can get the job posting that's on your site without ever actually going to your site. Which inevitably means less traffic for the job sites, less revenue from banner ads, et cetera. So where do you see job boards say five, 10 years from now?
Dennis: Man, that's a tough one. Everything's evolving so quickly. So I wish I had a better answer for you, but ...
SFX: That is one big pile of shit.
Dennis: I don't know man. If I knew the answer to that. I think maybe partnerships, content partnerships.
Joel: Is there more consolidation? Are we getting to a point where jobs are just on the ATS, they're on Google, they're on Indeed, they're on a few other places and then the smaller players are out of business or they get bought up?
Dennis: I believe so, yeah. I think the strongest survive because I don't feel like the future is going to hold the environment that it is today, where some of the small people can still kick around. Just the changes are just too fast. And you got to be able to keep up with it. And if you don't have the financial backing or the ability to do dev to keep up with things, then you're probably just going to end up selling out to somebody larger. And it's going to as you said, probably consolidate.
Chad : So ClickIQ, we haven't talked about ClickIQ. What's the big move here? Obviously programmatic is big, we're seeing acquisitions all over the fucking place. But, what do you think Indeed's going to do with programmatic? Do you believe that they're going to use it mainly for their system to try to bolster a better ad service? What do you think is going to happen or do you think they're really going to try to and leverage overall networks?
Chad : A little bit of both, and in the same time, it can help grow the European market. Because they're not a hundred percent strong over there and you've got to do somethings through acquisition to do so. So it's good technology and they can use it here in the States, but also use it as something to grow over there quickly. Growth through acquisition in Europe seems to be kind of the way to go when it comes to coming from here over there versus trying to organically start something over there. So I think it's mainly a play for that.
Joel: Well Dennis man, we thank you for your time today and your insight on conspiracy theories around Indeed. For our listeners who want to know more about you, where would you send them?
Dennis: Send them over to LinkedIn, I hang out over there. I've got about 7,200 connections from my days of recruiting and I honestly, I love networking with people and just help them connect dots.
Joel: Oh, that's sweet. So is it linkedin.com/in/dennistupper?
Dennis: Just search Dennis Tupper.
Joel: Just search Dennis Tupper for God's sakes. Chad, we out?
Chad : This has been the Chad and Cheese podcast. Subscribe on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts so you don't miss a single show. And be sure to check out our sponsors because they make it all possible. For more, visit chadcheese.com. Oh yeah, you're welcome.