Big news broke today in the recruiting technology category. San Francisco based SmartRecruiters, a leading talent acquisition suite for the global enterprise, announced its acquisition of JobPal, an emerging conversational artificial intelligence (AI) tech provider based in Berlin, Germany. This deal comes just weeks after AllyO, another chatbot provider, was acquired by HireVue.
In today’s market, employers are focused on both improving candidate experience and managing increased candidate volumes during a job market with high unemployment. They’re doing so, in many cases, when recruiting teams have been reduced in size. Conversational AI offers an opportunity to give candidates immediate engagement and feedback while taking high volume administrative tasks off the hands of recruiting teams. This frees recruiters up to play more consultative roles hiring managers and candidates.
This deal puts pressure on recruiting tech providers that focus on customers with 5,000 employees or more, the enterprise market segment. Tech providers in three sub-categories should pay attention to this deal:
- Talent acquisition suite providers like Workday, iCIMS, Greenhouse, or Oracle Taleo Cloud now have a competitor with conversational tech integrated deeply and throughout the entire recruiting workflow.
- Recruitment marketing tech providers for the enterprise segment like Beamery, Talemetry (jobvite), Symphony Talent, and Phenom People have a more formidable competitor at the “top of the candidate funnel” in SmartRecruiters. One that also extends through the entire process.
- Conversational tech providers remaining in the SmartRecruiters ecosystem will need to evaluate their position competitively with SmartRecruiters’ new conversational product, SmartPal.
A Good Deal For Customers
By reaching into its ecosystem and acquiring a company already integrated with its platform, SmartRecruiters is in a unique position to announce this deal and a new product simultaneously. Both JobPal and SmartRecruiters have existing use cases, proven integrations, and defined customer support and escalation processes with no waiting time.
It sounds like the short term roadmap will bring deeper integration of SmartPal into the SmartRecruiters workflow engine and data model. At the same time, the long term roadmap will quickly extend SmartPal further into areas like Internal Mobility and Onboarding.
We’re excited for the future where candidates are better matched to jobs, and recruiters are better matched to people.
Jerome Ternynck, SmartRecruiters Founder and CEO
A Sign of Things to Come
In some of our most recent research in 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis, more than 50% of the talent acquisition leaders we surveyed were considering implementing conversational technology in the next 12 months. These leaders viewed the biggest benefit being gains in efficiency, and improved candidate experience wasn’t far behind. Expect to see talent acquisition suite providers add these capabilities via acquisition to address the demand.
A down market economy is also a time when tech providers with access to capital will “go shopping” for emerging vendors to extend the suite but not pay the multiples on revenue seen in a stronger market. Given the competitive pressures in the market, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of the remaining and more mature conversational players raise more funds and extend their platforms via acquisition.
Don’t get fooled into the “market consolidation” chatter that you’ll hear on the heels of this deal. Vendors consolidate, not markets. Many of the most recent acquisitions aren’t resulting in big market share gains but in extending product offerings and filling product gaps in the face of market demand. There’s been nearly USD $5 billion invested in talent acquisition technology alone over the last 3.75 years. One thing is certain: more startups will be innovating and rushing in to fill the void.