SuccessFactor’s Acquiring Jobs2Web is NOT about Social Recruiting

16 260

The buzz of activity in the HR Technology marketplace over the past few days has been interesting to watch to say the least. The SAP acquisition of SuccessFactors was a great strategic move. It was also a surprise, to some, after the heavy buzz at  HR Technology Conference that it was Taleo, not SuccessFactors going to be named in that announcement. Industry analysts John Sumser, Josh BersinNaomi Bloom, Jim Holincheck give what I found to be the most reflective and insightful overviews on what this really means for consumers and other vendors.  Jim’s post was my favorite because I remember the early 2000’s in hr tech and that “things are different” feeling he talk’s about.

But, it was the announcement that SuccessFactors (which is now SAP) was purchasing Jobs2Web that seems to have surprised more people and has created this uprising among bloggers, social media ‘experts’ and people that are new into the world of technology that this some how validates social media as the one true way to change your company.

It doesn’t.

In the last decade the Applicant Tracking market has evolved rapidly.  The out of reach benefits that you could once only get from players like PeopleSoft, Recruitmax, Deploy (Now known as Kenexa, Taleo, Kronos) in the early days of SaaS are now available by 100’s of vendors at prices that range from free (SmartRecruiters) to basically free (everyone else).

Example: In a 2002 ATS evaluation/selection I did, the company had 1,000 employees, 6 recruiters, 40 hiring managers and 2 admins with a growth rate of 700 hires/yr over the next 4 years.  Our quotes back ranged from $90-225k. In today’s market, I could have the better functionality & more features for around $10k. 

Once the driving force in the evolution of  hiring – the ATS has now become the centralized hub for organizations to connect the dots between the half dozen or so other tools they actually use on a daily basis.  Spotting this trend early – products like Monsters 6th Sense and Talemetry have actually created technologies that can merge all of your different candidate databases together to make them manageable and search-able from a centralized location.

Vendors like Jobs2Web, HireVue, Linkedin and Avature recognized this years ago and have quietly built technologies (and quite honestly a cult like following) that have finally hit front and center in the last 12 months. New players outside of recruitment, like Achievers,  have recognized opportunities in their own segments of the marketplace and are now cashing in as well.

SuccessFactors has done a lot over the last 18 months to shift from a technology that was just a leader in Performance to being competitive (while not yet leading) in Recruitment and being viewed as a total talent management solution.  The integration of Jobs2Web into that helped them not only on social, but many of the other recruiting shortcomings they were facing. Jobs2Web integrates new, social mediums into its technology – but the beauty of the product is true depth in strategic recruitment and sourcing it offers clients.  The addition of it all to SAP is a true game changer for many in the old guard who once viewed recruitment technology as the red headed step child of HCM.  It is also placing a focus on SAP competitors WorkDay and Oracle on talent acquisition (and for Oracle, cloud) that will truly redefine the HCM landscape in 2012.

To say this move is a win for social media is a little bit of a slap in the face of Jobs2Web’s EXPANSIVE product offerings, the brilliant strategic decision made by SuccessFactors and demeans the success of all the companies that understand it is so MUCH MORE than that. The Jobs2Web acquisition is only a little about social media and a lot about the commoditization of a marketplace.  Its the recognition that complimentary tools and solutions are the real future (IE PROFITS) of core HCM technology.

This purchase was only really about social if your view of the HR Technology world is based on pushing the social media agenda and not HCM technology market landscape.


  1. Lisa Scales says

    Agreed and as we tweeted yesterday – “validation of the space” but not social recruiting per se – I see this acquisition purely as a validation of a function – as organisations are reclaiming their direct hiring strategies back from 3rd party recruiters these platforms are becoming more influential in an organisations strategic HCM landscape. The recruitment and acquisition of people was and has always been seen as the poor relation to other functions but Success Factors have put a stake in the ground and brought it into the view of the mainstream validating its importance.

    I think the bi-product of this acquisition will be to see what other vendors do to react but also as John Sumser detailed in his blog the culture change for not two but three companies (SAP/SF and Jobs2Web will be a sideshow in itself.)

    1. Sarah White says

      I appreciate the global perspective on this Lisa – The timing of the whole thing is rather interesting, honestly. The culture shift that will need to take place will stretch beyond these three firms as J2W was a key part of strategy at a number of organization that used competitive technology to SF/SAP in their day to day process.

      It will be interesting to see the shift in clients — Is the J2W so vital for its clients that they will change their other technologies to keep using it or will another product pop up to take its place and work vendor agnostic?


      1. Susan Van Klink says

        Sarah, as the executive over the Jobs2web acquisition at SuccessFactors, I would like to clarify that Jobs2web clients or prospects evaluating J2W as a solution will not have to change their ATS in order to use (or keep using) the Recruiting Marketing platform. We will continue to offer J2W to the market as a solution that can front any ATS product that a company has. We will not require that a company use our Recruiting Management solution in order to get the benefits of the Recruiting Marketing solution (although we certainly see benefits in offering a total Recruiting Execution platform to the market). We believe that company’s need this capability as ATS solutions do not address the critical component of Attraction – ensuring that the best candidates are drawn like a magnet to your company and actually make it through to the apply process. Please see this week’s article by John Zappe which clearly states our intentions for Jobs2Web to continue to provide great service to all customers regardless of which ATS they use (

        1. Sarah White says


          Thanks for the comments & congratulations on the decision and purchase, I’ve followed both companies evolutions the past few years and think its a beneficial move from all fronts.

          I have read John’s article and fully understand your intentions to keep it “as is” for lack of a better phrase. However, you and I both know that there are competitors out there that will start looking around to acquire/develop a competitive product(s) to compete more directly with the deeper integration capabilities that SF will now have. While it may not be your intentions – it may be a decision some companies have to face with their own internal politics if that happens. If your team keeps that from happening and can retain J2W as the agnostic powerhouse – I’m 100% behind it!


  2. Jessica Miller-Merrell says


    I respectfully disagree. It does validate it demonstrating that it is no longer just about social recruiting but social learning, social talent, and social engagement within the workplace and during the employee’s life cycle as well as out.


    1. Sarah White says


      I’m not sure what the disagreement is, I am not taking anything away from social – but I am saying that the J2W technology was so much more than that and this purchase was so much more than that.

      I think we often jump to say “see, look, its valid” to prove points as if we had to prove to someone it was valid. Social overall is validated. The adoption rate for social across society, not just HR technology is one of the fastest we have ever seen. It is advancing in all aspects of life and eventually we will stop calling it “Social Media X” and just call it X.

      My choice to not focus on the social if because of my background and experience working with vendors on technology in our industry. I know they understand social – its in almost every roadmap I’ve looked at for the past 18 months.

      What isn’t & is the real win here is the recognition this as a bigger win for all non-traditional, engagement focused solutions that do more than automate processes.

      Fighting the same fight with you,

  3. Lance Haun says


    If it were only about social, my guess is that SFSF would have taken a different, less costly route. There are plenty of social recruiting applications based in the Bay, why would they have gone to Minnetonka if it were only about just bringing on tech and talent in social?

    Seeing bush league, made up numbers about how many people are finding jobs via Facebook and Twitter aren’t helping the cause of social recruiting. I see that and shake my head. A lot. There’s value without inflating.

    1. Sarah White says


      I can not agree with you more! SFSF had its pick of less expensive technologies with brand name clients that were located in their back yard. Doug’s team was more visionary than social. And stats… ugh. Every time I see someone quoting outlandish facts like 80% of companies are hiring via social media I want to scream! When you over inflate one thing like that it undermines the credibility across the board by executive decision makers.


  4. Doug Berg says

    Sara – you are a rock star, thanks for this article, and forcing everyone up the ladder of thinking here a bit. You are my hero!

    1. Sarah White says

      Doug – As you already knew, I’ve been an advocate of the bigger vision I knew you saw since the beginning. I couldn’t be more proud of all your team has achieved the last few years. Can’t wait to see what is next in the pipeline!


  5. […] SuccessFactors acquisition of Jobs2Web is NOT the validation for Social Recruiting by Sarah White (@ImSoSarah) […]

  6. […] himself with the smartest people he could find.  (A plan that worked out well for Doug Berg at Jobs2Web last week.)  If you sit down and listen to the end goal of this product, that it was much bigger than […]

  7. […] still pushing that “see, see, social is the best” idea and for Salesforce after the HUGE win by SAP/SuccessFactors with a really robust marketing platform in […]

  8. […] why it was happening “all of a sudden”.  The funding and acquisitions of tools like Jobs2Web, Rypple, and Smart Recruiter has made them do a double take in terms of Talent Acquisition the last […]

  9. […] but the understanding remained that Taleo wouldn’t be just Taleo for long.   With the SAP acquisition of SuccessFactors, the Oracle acquisition of Taleo seemed imminent more from a brand and marketing standpoint than […]

  10. […] recruitment data aggregators, like Jobs2Web (now a part of SuccessFactors),  while not truly “predictive” of individual candidate […]

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More