Today, Google announced the launch of Hire, a new recruiting product that is built into G Suite, their enterprise productivity offering.
Unlike most recruiting product announcements, this one truly means something. Why?
First of all, Google is one of the largest software companies in the world (well, and one of the largest companies, period). They have a huge customer base and a large, recognizable brand. And they’ve made significant progress in the SMB market—they have over three million paying customers on G Suite in the U.S.
Nothing is a sure thing, but here are a few reasons I think this will be pretty great and one way it could fail:
1. The product looks pretty good out of the gates
I’m still waiting on a demo but this looks like an actual product. It’s way better than the typical small business ATS (an e-mail inbox) but it keeps the simplicity and familiarity of Google products.
Update (July 24, 2017): I got a demo of Hire today and it’s pretty complete. Not only that, it’s fully integrated with Gmail and Calendar, so it’s capturing a lot of that communication and scheduling natively. Hard to believe this product wasn’t public a couple weeks ago given its maturity.
I’ll be curious to see how it integrates with the Google for Jobs product launched just a couple of months ago.
2. Google already has access to their best possible customers
The SMB is criminally underserved by enterprise technology companies. They either try to screw them over with expensive, overly-complicated software suites or dumb it down too much with basic, hardly-worth-the-trouble systems.
A simplified, but powerfully integrated system that doesn’t require you to pay two different software bills is an advantage few companies have — having three million current paying customers is something almost nobody has outside of ADP.
3. Google wants to own the SMB enterprise
Google (and its parent company, Alphabet) get most of their revenues from ads. They must diversify and they see G Suite as one way to add steady, recurring revenue. They’ve found a niche serving small and medium-sized businesses with G Suite. Hire and applications like that (they are already working on collaboration with Jamboard, Meet and Hangouts and they even have instructions on how to set up time cards with Google Forms) can be a key factor in taking over a segment that has huge market potential. In fact, you add something like an HRIS and accounting software (perhaps like ZipBooks) and there wouldn’t be a lot you couldn’t run on Google’s cloud.
How it could fail: Low investment or interest from Google
Even with the tremendous potential of Hire and other enterprise products from Google, it still makes up an incredibly small proportion of their overall revenue. If they don’t get enough traction, they could eventually sunset it or reduce the offering significantly. When Google has done this in the past, they’ve given plenty of notice and have typically offered the data for easy-ish migration. No guarantee that happens here but that’s the same for almost anyone.
We’ll get to see how the market reacts to Hire in the coming months but if I owned a recruiting software firm that was aimed at a non-niche SMB buyer, I would be looking at how to differentiate our offering and retain our base of customers. There’s no reason to be scared, at least not yet, but I would be prepared for Google to push this. One thing to consider is if AdWords is still a major lead generation strategy, you might want to look at other options, given how easily Google could dominate both paid and organic search.