AIRS Acquired By The RightThing

AIRS, the recruitment technology and training company that introduced “peeling back” “flipping” and “x-raying” to the recruiting lexicon, has been acquired by RPO servicer The RightThing.

The deal was finalized last week and will be announced this morning.

Speaking with ERE in advance of the announcement the CEOs of the two companies were ebullient over the deal.

“We’re giddy about this,” Terry Terhark, CEO of TheRightThing declared early in the conversation, followed by AIRS CEO Chris Forman pronouncing the deal “A great thing for both companies.”

A pioneer in online sourcing, AIRS will continue as an independent brand; its headquarters staying in the 200-year-old barn in Wilder, VT. Terhark and Forman, whose new title will be president of AIRS, said there will no layoffs and, in fact, both are looking to increase the 62 person staff as The RightThing begins to market the AIRS product line.

Apologizing for using the “overused” market-speak “synergy,” Terhark says that in the case of AIRS and The RightThing, it’s exactly the right word to apply. “AIRS is a technology company. We are a service company. That makes a great combination.”

“It unlocks more growth for us,” Forman added. “This is a very strategic opportunity for both of us.”

The press release announcing the deal, goes even further, quoting Terhark, “…the synergy and cultural match of these two companies could potentially be the biggest thing this industry has seen with best-in-class technology, products, efficiency and power.”

Both companies have become leaders in their field. AIRS made Inc.com’s list of the fastest growing companies last year, reporting a 150 percent revenue growth to $9.1 million in 2006. Numbers for The RightThing are not available, though Terhark said it is the larger of the two companies, supporting a staff of 450 in Findlay, Ohio where it is building a 32,000 square foot addition just two years after moving into its new headquarters.

Both companies already had a strategic alliance, The RightThing recommending AIRS training and software to its clients. Terhark told us that AIRS’ SourcePoint is in use at The RightThing.

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What brought the companies together was a dinner at the end of the day at a conference months ago. “We both started talking about what we were doing,” explains Terhark. During the meal, both men not only saw how complementary both companies were in products and business focus, but also in culture. “We have a shared vision,” Forman says. “We saw how much we shared in direction… shared commonality.”

Among the things both companies share is a culture that values workers, the two CEOs emphasized. AIRS was named one of the best places to work by Vermont Business Magazine, while The RightThing was named one of the “25 Best Small and Medium Companies to Work for in America,” by the Great Place to Work Institute.

“TheRightThing and AIRS are both very successful and its because of the people,” Forman said. “When you hire the right people, good things happen.”

A month from now, when the dust settles, what changes will the industry see? “Business as usual, plus,” says Terhark. The RightThing will make the AIRS product suite available to its RPO clients while AIRS’ blue-chip client list will give The RightThing entrée to additional clients. “We’re now a one-stop shop,” Terhark says.

We couldn’t resist asking about the irony of two companies at opposite ends of the vendor pole joining together. AIRS sells software and training intended to improve the quality of hiring by in-house recruiters, while The RightThing works to convince employers to outsource it.

“No contradiction,” Forman told us. “The world is not black and white. It’s all about finding the right people.”

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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7 Comments on “AIRS Acquired By The RightThing

  1. There will continue to be more cost-effective alternatives to AIRS training (cyberrecruitingsecrets.com, recruiting-online.com, risetrends.com, etc., as well as higher-end training/consulting vendors like jobmachine.net). Fortunately, the market keeps growing, so it’s not clear that there’s a problem. You call it “irony” that companies of this type are merging. Others would call it hypocrisy. Time will tell.

  2. Although I wouldn’t call it hypocrisy, because what is said IS true – people do need people, training helps both channels (direct sales and channel sales = recruiters and agencies). The concern is that AIRS is a training organization that is now part of an RPO. Is the organization really “vendor neutral”? The Right Thing is now a real end-to-end solution, pardon the overused market term, which is fine for some larger organizations…

    I don’t know, JobMachine joining forces with Maureen Sharib’s company would be powerful and synergistic, plus beneficial to recruiters who want to learn everything under the sun in sourcing…. AIRS joining with an RPO just seems like a sales ploy more than anything. Doesn’t set right with me either.

  3. I can?t help but wonder if this doesn?t present a serious conflict of interest. If I?m associated with a staffing firm, and I decide I want to use a tool like SourcePoint, currently offered by AIRS, that means I have to purchase that tool from a parent company who?s main line of business is recruitment process outsourcing. Wouldn?t that potentially mean that to use that tool, associated with a RPO opens me up to having my recruiting talent potentially accessible for future recruitment purposes for that company? Not to say that is the intention, but I am uncomfortable with partnering with an organization that is not aligned with my core business and potentially a competitor under the right market conditions.

    I?m wondering if anyone else has concerns about their employee data being made available to an RPO under those circumstances.

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