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A Monster Now Lurks in Talent Management

September 27, 2006
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Monster has moved further into talent management software, but it’s unclear whether other vendors in the field have reason to be scared.

In mid-September, the job-board giant announced it had improved its applicant tracking and career-site hosting software. Monster also is offering onboarding, learning management, performance management and salary management products.

The new Monster Talent Management Suite is the result of a partnership with Richardson, Texas-based software-maker HRsmart and is geared toward small and medium-size businesses.

But a number of other vendors, including Softscape, Vurv and Cornerstone OnDemand, already are pitching talent management wares to those companies. Monster may find it difficult to get customers’ attention, says Lisa Rowan, an analyst at research firm IDC.

"It’s really not Monster’s core sweet spot," Rowan says. "Customers may not think of them."

Monster, though, plans to snag their attention through a combination of high quality, low price and the convenience of a single vendor for multiple talent management needs. Thanks to its primary job-board business, Monster already has some 275,000 customers that may be interested in the new products, says Neal Bruce, vice president of alliances for Monster. "We’ve got the customers," Bruce says. "What they’re saying is ‘Don’t make us buy five different things from five different vendors.’ "

Talent management software refers to applications for tasks such as recruiting, performance management, learning management, compensation management and succession planning. Given the strategic value of these functions, talent management is among the hottest areas of HR software today.

Meanwhile, Monster’s basic business of selling job listings is under pressure from job aggregation sites like Indeed .com and more focused job boards, says Jim Holincheck, an analyst at research firm Gartner. "There’s a lot of other folks trying to chip away at that franchise," he says. Monster’s new talent management products are a way to provide new value to clients and stand out from other job-board competitors, Holincheck says.

Monster also has partnerships with a number of makers of high-end recruiting software to provide a streamlined job application process at large employers. Earlier this year, Monster teamed up with HR consulting firm Development Dimensions International to offer candidate assessment products that are integrated with Monster job postings.

Bruce says the new Monster-branded products from HRsmart offer features similar to those in applications sold to large organizations, but at a fraction of the cost. He says a 500-person company can spend $3,600 to $12,000 annually on the Monster software, depending on the number of modules selected.

Softscape, for one, is not afraid of Monster’s new push. Christopher Faust, Softscape’s executive vice president of global strategy, doubts Monster’s clout as a job board will automatically win it talent management customers, at least when it comes to organizations with 500 or more employees. "Those customers are savvy enough to shop around," he says.

Monster may not have struck fear in the competition yet, but it plans to be persistent in the field of talent acquisition. The company is eyeing other areas, such as tools for effective interviewing, Bruce says.

"There’s more to come," he says.

Ed Frauenheim

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