Friend, Not Foe: Put niche talent aggregation platforms to good use

ThinkstockPhotos-176499362The number of online talent aggregation platforms has been steadily increasing. Enterprising entrepreneurs have realized the shortcomings of LinkedIn and massive job boards and have decided to build their own recruiting platform just for their industry or talent type (myself included).

The promise of talent aggregation platforms is simple:

“We’ve got all the talent in your specific industry you could ever need right here! Use us and you won’t need outside recruiters or staffing firms.”

But beyond just simple aggregation, many of these companies decided to operate as the actual staffing firms themselves and become talent marketplaces. Upwork and Freelancer are two of the major ones, with many more niche marketplaces popping up to service any possible business need. Every day, millions of people around the world advertise their individual services through these marketplaces, and every day, businesses are seeking and engaging talent directly through them.

So should the outside staffing industry be worried? Will it become irrelevant? What’s the current relationship between these platforms and staffing firms?

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The Dynamics

The answer is complex and ever changing. The outsourced marketplaces that force businesses to hire through their platform do a great job of marginalizing the need for staffing professionals, and to some degree, have taken business away from staffing professionals. But because the roles sourced through them are usually remote and often shorter term, I would argue the effect itself is marginal. Companies still need to fill direct full-time positions and highly skilled longer-term contract positions that these marketplaces don’t service.

For the talent aggregation platforms that function not as middle-men paid marketplaces but more as efficient recruiting tools for direct, full-time or contract hires, the effect on staffing professionals is more pronounced. As these platforms increase in effectiveness and become more ubiquitous for their industry, more companies will be able to use them to supplement, or even replace, outside staffing assistance.

In the short term though, most companies that rely on staffing firms will still rely on them to save time. Even if they become aware of an online aggregator in their industry, many would still choose to pay staffing professionals to assist them.

The Network Effect

We’ve seen with our platform that many recruiters are using us as an efficient way to quickly find recruit-able talent for their client’s open positions. So, in this adolescence of the niche talent aggregation platforms, they’ve become an effective tool for staffing industry recruiters themselves. The way we see it, it’s a win-win for the recruiters, businesses, and talent alike. They all benefit from the network effect of these platforms.

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Mark Fromson

Mark Fromson
Mark Fromson is co-Founder and CEO of, the curated talent marketplace for top local freelance professionals.

Mark Fromson

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