You’ve likely already heard the news that job aggregator Simply Hired is shutting down on June 26th. A letter was sent to their customers and publishing partners, informing them of the shutdown.
The Simply Hired shutdown will impact those whose job sites are hosted by Simply Hired, and anyone using Simply Hired’s job widgets, API, and data feeds. Simply Hired staff also “face an uncertain future”, and many assume they will be laid off. It has since been reported through “a trusted source” that Recruit (Indeed’s parent company) has acquired Simply Hired.
Simply Hired Shutdown Timeline and News Round-Up
- May 1 – Simply Hired is founded
- October – Simply Hired raises $1.2 million in Series A fundraise
2004 – 2014
- Simply Hired raises a total of $33.1 million in fundraising rounds (Series B – E)
- June – Simply Hired partners with MySpace to power their MySpace Careers website.
- Jan 24 – Simply Hired launches Job-a-matic, a revenue-sharing job board solution for online publishers, which replaces many DIY/proprietary job boards.
- May 4 – Rumours swirl about Google being in talks to buy Simply Hired. They don’t.
- July 21 – TechCrunch analyzes Simply Hired’s traffic success and speculates on whether their advertising schemes are inflating the traffic stats. Indeed’s traffic is much higher.
- October 28 – Simply Hired expands its operations into Canada, UK, Australia, and India.
- March – The Washington Post partners with Simply Hired to power their job board.
- June – Simply Hired creates an integration with Facebook to show where friends on the social network work.
- February 2 – Simply Hired is rumoured to have fired 20% of its staff.
- April 1 – Dating site eHarmony, which uses an algorithm to match dating profiles and claims to be responsible for 4% of marriages in the US, announces Elevated Careers, in partnership with Simply Hired. Elevated Careers sells itself as using the same approach to matching candidates with jobs. The initial reaction to the new platform is underwhelming. Simply Hired is to supply job posts to Elevated Careers.
- May 26 – Simply Hired employees were informed they would be losing their jobs. Simply Hired employs between 101-250 staff.
- May 27 – Emails are sent out to Simply Hired customers and partners. Todd Raphael at ERE.net reports Simply Hired is being shut down
- June 1 – Recruit is rumoured to be the buyer of Simply Hired. Recruit is the owner of Indeed, and many other HR and recruiting companies.
- June 26 – Simply Hired website and partner websites and tools will be shut down.
- Jeff Dickey-Chasins of JobBoardDoctor.com cites Simply Hired’s competition in the form of Indeed, internal management shake-ups, and the rise of other competitors during their 12-year history
- Joel Cheesman writes on LinkedIn about potential ways Simply Hired could have secured a larger share of the market with exclusive job content deals.
- Matt Charney at RecruitingDaily speculates that the job aggregator model is too dependent on the whims of Google, making aggregators (including Indeed) vulnerable.
- Chris Russell over at RecruitingHeadlines lists a lack of investment in supporting user-generated content like online resume profiles and employer branding pages, as well as not nurturing its Job-a-matic/Simply-Partner programs and technology over time.
It’s difficult to know from the sidelines all of what factored into the choice to sell the company and shut it down. There are likely many forces that brought Simply Hired to this point, and none of us can presume with certainty to understand them all.
From my perspective, the question to ask is this: was Simply Hired an effective hiring and job search platform? Did people find jobs and get hired through it? Did organizations make successful hires through Simply Hired? And if so, did it happen enough?
Ugly and outdated-looking websites can still be successful businesses and maintain decent SEO, so I’d venture to say it doesn’t solely come down to Indeed beating out Simply Hired in Google search results. Simply Hired appears to have lagged behind in some key areas of technology, like mobile-friendliness and overall user experience.
Job boards are a great revenue stream for online publishers, businesses, associations, news sites, etc. They add value and user “stickiness” for an online business. But one size rarely fits all, and I suspect many of the mid-sized to larger partners would have benefited from having more control and choice in how they ran their jobs sites.
As mentioned above, I’ve been thinking about is what the overall experience for job seekers is like on their partner sites. Was Simply Hired’s main site an aggregator driving traffic to their partner sites’ jobs, or were the partner sites driving traffic to Simply Hired’s main aggregator site?
It was a mixture of the two, surely, but as others have pointed out – high numbers of visitors or applications do not necessarily translate to high-quality applicants, or successful hires. Niche and specialized job boards have good track records of attracting candidates that are more focused and well-matched to those niches and specializations. But sifting through an overwhelming pile of unqualified “spray and pray”-style applicants to find the gems is challenging, and might decrease the value being offered to recruiters.
The relative successes or failures of Simply Hired may not boil down to being second-fiddle to Indeed, but instead whether or not it was a good hiring and job search platform. It may have been one at some point, but the consensus seems to be that they failed to deliver on that promise over time.
Careerleaf is not an aggregator, and we seem to be unique in the market of job board software solutions, given that we’ve always been mobile-friendly. We offer an online business solution that threads together comprehensive job board management with digital marketing resources.
We’re in constant consultation with recruiting and job board professionals to keep our product focused on its hiring, job search and application tools.
If you’re a Simply Hired partner site and need a helping hand to keep up your job board revenue and service to job seekers and recruiters, we’ve got a plan to help you keep going and grow.
June 26 is just days away, and we’d like to help.
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