Up until a few months back, LinkedIn enjoyed the monopoly of a rich database of global professionals coupled with social media platform capabilities. Very soon, this monopoly will likely be challenged by other players like Oracle who are taking their social media business expansion plans extremely seriously.
With the social media hiring trend picking rapid momentum, more and more companies are entering the race to stay competitive and stay relevant. Many experts comment that companies that fail to leverage the social media opportunity will bear significant opportunity costs in terms of potential talent pool reach and time take to close positions. As the competition intensifies in this space, from a fairly fragmented industry with low entry barriers, we are witnessing the next level of market structuring in the social media service space― consolidation. Two recent developments are indicators that the social media hiring space is really heating up. On 27 August, 2012, IBM announced the acquisition of Kenexa, a social media networking company with a dual purpose― boost its hiring efforts as well as enter the social media provider space. Following that, another large headline was made this week when Oracle announced acquiring SelectMinds, a social media networking company. In a series of deals, this was Oracle’s biggest deal of the year.
It is important to note that this acquisition follows another large acquisition by Oracle― application tracking and recruitment application, Taleo. This development largely beckons the beginning of intense competition in the service provider market. With a large repository of applicant information, coupled with a social media platform, we can expect products that can make the concept of “attracting anyone, any time, from any where around the globe” possible. Presently, LinkedIn is the only social media hiring database and service provider that claims to make possible for organizations to attract both active and passive candidates from any place, at any time, irrespective of a professional’s employment status. LinkedIn enjoys the luxury of a database of 175 million professionals from over 50 countries and they have made significant inroads into building out social media capabilities into the user interface. This has allowed the company to create a new revenue stream through the LinkedIn Recruiter services. This model, in a number of ways is unique and Oracle’s acquisition signals that competition in this space is likely to heat up soon. Taleo, with more than 20 million live subscribers and presence in over 50 countries will liven up the social media hiring market significantly.
With the hiring service provider market picking up steam, we can expect a string of similar acquisitions rolling out in this space. As a recent Mckinsey report states, the number of companies employing social media for hiring will increase 47% within the next four years. Social media hiring can, therefore, no longer be considered an experiment and companies who jump into the ship later can potentially end up spending significantly high lost opportunity costs.