Big data has become the focus of many industries, including recruitment. In a bold quest to harness more data, Randstad Holdings made the move to acquire Monster Worldwide for a whopping $429 million. This deal comes on the heels of Recruit Holdings Inc., the parent company of Indeed, purchasing SimplyHired for an unknown amount.

The buying of job aggregator websites is nothing new. In the past, Yahoo had purchased HotJobs and other large job boards picked up smaller ones to eliminate the competition. Just recently, Microsoft made headlines by its huge purchase of LinkedIn for $26 billion. Such purchases are nothing new – but they do seem to be picking up steam.

Why invest in job boards?

When asked why they decided to purchase Monster, Jacques van den Broek, CEO of Randstad said that the goal is to align the complimentary platform that Monster offers with their sourcing and talent engagement resources. Much of the focus has been on mobile apps that reach more candidates, but there is another huge component to this purchase – the ability to tap into candidate data.

Monster has been around since 1999, so there is little debate that it has archives of user data spanning at least that far back. According to Alex (owned by Amazon), the analytical measurement solution for websites, is one of the highest trafficked job boards, with a largely female college-graduate audience. Consider the value that this data holds – especially when it comes to finding skilled candidates to fill STEM roles and other industries where women are breaking glass ceilings.

Data is the real value

Tim Sackett, a respected thought leader in the human resource space blogged that while he, “was not going to speculate on why Randstad would buy Monster, there’s no doubt Monster had a ton of data and clients that a staffing firm would find desirable.”

Over the last few years, job boards like Monster and others have been building strong brands and then using this to increase prices for subscriptions and advertisements. Recruiters who want to get in front of the right candidate were left with few options other than to become customers.

The mining of recruitment data is nothing new. Byrne Mulrooney, CEO of Futurestep, a Korn Ferry company specializing in recruitment process outsourcing, told SHRM earlier this year that, “Companies are already going beyond simply reviewing basic operational measurements like time-to-fill, cost-per-hire and source-of-hire, and are instead hiring full-time analysts to mine for more in-depth talent metrics.” Data is being used to evaluate candidates on a wider scale to predict future success.

Nicole Fallon Taylor, Managing Editor for Business News Daily says that, “High-quality analytics programs have been applied to customer data to help businesses make strategic decisions. “ She adds that, ‘’Candidate information will increasingly get the ‘big data treatment’ so recruiters can quickly and easily locate the best people for the job.”

While it’s been slow going for many human resource technology companies to integrate new technology systems, the Monster and SimplyHired acquisitions may spur other large recruitment and HR companies to follow suit in order to manipulate recruitment data.

It’s a bit premature to determine the impact this may have on other large job boards, but it is likely they too will be looking at ways to make the most of their candidate data to align with recruitment organizations and provide more value.