PeopleClick Plans to Play to Its Strength

By Staff Report

Jan. 31, 2007

Big-name applicant tracking system providers such as Vurv Technology and Taleo are moving quickly to broaden their services and evolve into holistic talent management companies.

PeopleClick, meanwhile, is staking its future on a different strategy: Rather than being all things to all people, the Raleigh, North Carolina-based company is opting to deepen its expertise in talent acquisition. All options are on the table to advance the objective, says Brenda Hodge, PeopleClick’s vice president of marketplace solutions—including the prospect of going public, acquiring other companies and changing its leadership team.

“Talent acquisition is the cornerstone of workforce management,” Hodge says. “If companies don’t hire the right person, nothing else will fall into place, regardless of how much they spend on performance management, development and succession planning.”

PeopleClick, which has 340 employees, is committing 28 percent of its annual revenue to research and development to create talent acquisition tools, Hodge says. She declined to disclose the company’s revenue.

Newly appointed CEO Ron Kupferman is heading the company’s strategy. He took over after Stephen Sasser resigned in late December.

PeopleClick also is promoting Mike DeFrancesco to CFO. DeFrancesco, who has significant experience with both public and pre-IPO companies, has been at PeopleClick for three years and will continue to oversee the accounting and finance functions that were under his control when he was vice president of finance. Meanwhile, Geoffrey Jesberg has been hired as senior vice president of PeopleClick’s affirmative action division.

In addition, the company is making several departmental changes. Technology and customer services are being consolidated under Tom Bright, who takes on the dual role of executive vice president and COO. Integrating technology and customer services is a significant move, Hodge says, because it allows the company to develop a deep understanding of clients’ needs and respond with appropriate innovations.

“We are committed to our strategic mission and are putting in place the building blocks,” Hodge says.

Although there is no timeline set for an initial public offering, Hodge says the company would consider going public under the right conditions. She declined offer more details.

Sterling and Assess Systems, though it hasn’t moved to acquire its partners.

PeopleClick’s decision to strengthen its niche position could be fruitful, says Kevin Wheeler, a recruiting industry analyst at Global Learning Resources in Fremont, California.

“General Motors is not the only game in town; there are also very successful boutique car companies that exist,” he says. “The same dynamic can apply to applicant tracking providers.”

Given the size of the market, however, PeopleClick probably won’t see as many customers as it would if it became a diversified provider.

“The convenience of one-stop shopping is alluring to many customers,” Wheeler says.

Not surprisingly, Taleo and Vurv are in a race to evolve into broad talent management companies. In recent years, both companies have adopted new brands and launched strategies to gain awareness as diversified talent management providers.

Gina Ruiz

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