iCIMS Acquires Jibe and Continues its Leadership in All Things Talent Acquisition

If you don’t know the history and the background of iCIMS and CEO, Colin Day. It’s an interesting story. iCIMS is a SaaS talent acquisition provider that has achieved tremendous growth and profitability in a highly competitive industry. Most of its early success stems from its commitment to customer service and Colin’s strong leadership (even through two recessions). While other providers have tried to reinvent the recruitment model favoring what is “new”, iCIMS has focused on what it does best- helping companies attract, recruit and onboard talent. It’s a basic strategy and one that has worked.

But iCIMS’ success is not just the result of its customer support, it has also taken significant risks.  In 2012, I met with Colin and CMO, Susan Vitale, in Boston. They were about to announce the decision to ditch iCIMS’ talent management products in favor of a talent acquisition suite. It seemed like a crazy idea when every other vendor was “biggering” and “biggering” into all things HCM. iCIMS was scaling back to focus solely on talent acquisition. Colin recognized that talent acquisition deserved its own suite of solutions and its own conversation. And, he was right.   

While many other providers struggled with acquisitions and customer churn, iCIMS continued a path of steady growth eventually moving up market to support some global enterprise clients. It acquired Jobmagic and TextRecruit and built out a marketplace to provider connectors with third-party providers. The recent acquisition of Jibe further supports its vision for an end-to-end platform.

Below are my thoughts on what this acquisition means for the market and what customers and prospects should consider:

          Recruitment Marketing Platforms: Recruitment marketing continues to be a top investment for enterprise organizations and the value of having one provider for both CRM and ATS is clear. Similar to K1’s acquisition of Talemetry and Jobvite, one provider offers more consistency of data and experience. It isn’t long before we will see other recruitment marketing providers getting acquired.

          Customer Support: Many of the recruitment marketing providers have neglected customer support. They have angry clients and angry former clients. It’s not pretty but it’s true. This is a market with significant market churn as customers look for better partners. I can name a handful of companies that I work with that will not even take a briefing from some of the providers in this space. Jibe has remained under the radar but has maintained its customer support. Johnson & Johnson is an example of a long-time customer that improved its job discovery of critical roles to a 41% increase in high-quality job applicants per search.

          Enterprise Growth: Recruitment marketing is an enterprise market- at least for now. Large companies want solutions that can help them enhance their branding and engage with talent before they apply. As iCIMS looks to move up market, having a recruitment marketing provider with demonstrated support for enterprise companies is critical.

          Branding: Acquiring a new company can create growing pains in terms of product and development and branding. This acquisition is not iCIMS first rodeo. It has learned some lessons with the TextRecruit acquisition and plans to make this a smoother process. We can expect a consistent experience and brand for customers.  

It is a great time to be in talent acquisition. Companies want better solutions and providers are making smarter decisions about where and how they should grow. We should expect to see more acquisitions in the recruitment marketing space over the next year and I am looking forward to seeing how this announcement unfolds.