Why Glassdoor Is Bullish on Europe

Sausalito, Calif.-based career site Glassdoor, which offers information on companies, jobs, and salaries worldwide, launched its first foreign-language site in France last week. The Motley Fool spoke to Glassdoor CEO Robert Hohman about why France was chosen for the pre-IPO start-up's first foray into a local-language site and what's coming next.

Glassdoor's appeal to job seekers is the free information shared by company employees about particular workplaces, including pay, company culture, benefits, and specific jobs. Employers can also sign up for free accounts to respond to reviews, track feedback, and share information. Glassdoor also sells services to corporate HR departments, recruiters, and college career offices to streamline the connection between job hunters and companies with jobs to fill.

Already popular with French workers

Glassdoor's U.K. site, launched in March 2013, was the company's first true European offering, and the company also recently launched English-language sites in Canada, Australia, and India. The decision to launch the new French-language site was based on how many French job seekers and workers were already using the English-language version. Currently, the site features information on such high-profile French and multinational employers as Airbus , L'Oreal , Capgemini, and Societe Generale .

"We already had 15,000 reviews on 3,000 companies [in France] in English," Hohman said. "That's a great market from a size standpoint." Numbers weren't available from the French-language launch at the time of the interview, but Hohman said "even after one day, anecdotally, growth is going as we expected."

As the user base for the French site grows, Hohman said, Glassdoor will look to expand its recruiting and HR services to French employers, in line with the services Glassdoor offers to such U.S.-based companies as Box, Twitter , and Facebook . "But the first thing," he said, "is to make sure that it matters to French job seekers. We won't focus on monetization until the consumer side, the job-seeker side, has a chance to get fully baked."

The appeal of transparency transcends culture

How long that will take depends upon how quickly and widely French workers adopt Glassdoor's tools. Americans have a global reputation as work-obsessed, and Glassdoor's format caters to that tendency to focus heavily on work and career planning. How appealing are those same tools in a country with a reputation for a more relaxed approach to work-life balance?

"We've been watching, globally, how people use this now for a while, in English. We have members in 190 countries. We strongly believed that the need to have good intelligence around salary and good information around culture is really universal. And we saw that," Hohman said.

Planned growth in Europe

The French-language site is just getting started, while Glassdoor's U.K. site is already experiencing better-than-expected growth. Glassdoor opened its first London office in March 2014 and plans to start marketing recruiting services to U.K.-based companies soon.

More local-language European country sites are on the drawing board, Hohman said: "Europe is where a lot of our focus is right now. We have a lot of members in Europe, and a large percentage of the world's recruiting dollars are spent in Europe." Hohman cited research showing that recruiting in European markets comprises up to 35% of the worldwide market, while the U.S., Glassdoor's home market, accounts for 50%.

Those numbers also mean that rising economies in populous countries like China and India aren't Glassdoor's target markets for native-language sites -- at least, not yet. "Those are interesting countries to us, too," Hohman said. "I think you'll see us somewhere in those countries in the next couple of years for sure. But the reality is that when you look at the absolute numbers, such as recruiting spend per capita, it's a small fraction of the recruiting spend per capita in the U.S. and Europe."

Eye on IPO plans

The recruiting-spend statistics also mean that if Glassdoor makes itself indispensable to European job seekers and grows a customer base for its enterprise recruiting services among EU businesses, it will have good coverage in the two most lucrative global recruiting markets. That could make it very attractive to investors come IPO time. There's no word yet on the timing of an offering, but it's a major goal for the company.

"We are maneuvering to put ourselves in a position to be public when we choose, and that's going well," Hohman said. "We're still experiencing about a 150% compound annual growth rate in revenue. It doesn't take long for revenue at those growth rates to get quite large."

That revenue growth, the company's expansion into the 2nd largest recruiting market, and its presence in the 1st, make Glassdoor a company worth watching, not only for workers and recruiters but for potential investors as well.

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Casey Kelly-Barton has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook and Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook and Twitter. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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