How Does Indeed Make Money?

Indeed is a comprehensive search engine for job seekers. It allows job seekers to search for employment in their chosen industry and location. The site essentially consolidates listings from various websites, employment agencies, and classified advertisements.  Companies can also post roles searching for specific candidates to fill their vacancies.

The Indeed business model focuses on providing services to employers such as advertising and sponsored posts. The employer pays to have their advert placed in a prominent position on the website, paid advertising provides the employer with increased visibility and wider reach. Employers are also granted access to a diverse directory of resumes and candidate profiles.

Indeed was co-founded by Paul Forster and Rony Kahan in 2004. Indeed’s approach to business has experienced significant success and in 2008, it became the most popular job site in the United States. In 2012, Indeed was purchased by Japanese corporation Recruit Holdings for $1billion. 

How Does Indeed Work? 

Indeed provides job-seekers with the opportunity to search for jobs in the location and job category of their choice. For example:

  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Journalism
  • Finance
  • Retail

There are thousands of paid advertisements on the site as well aggregated job listings from online newspapers, recruitment agencies and websites. Indeed is accessible in more than 60 countries and is the most prominent job listing site and search engine in the United States. The site receives more than 300 million visits per month.

One of the fundamental reasons why Indeed has gained such huge popularity is that the platform operates using a minimal, simplistic format. Its user-friendly interface allows users to quickly and easily search for jobs in their chosen area and field. Indeed is ultimately the Google of job listings search engines.

Indeed History 

Indeed launched in 2004 with co-founders Paul Forster and Rony Kahan commencing business operations in Austin, Texas, and Stamford, Connecticut. The business idea came about as a result of the need to solve a problem that existed in the finance recruitment industry. After working in finance, Forster realized that it was extremely difficult to find suitable candidates to fill high-level finance vacancies.  Therefore, Forster began the process of creating a finance careers site with his friend Rony Kahan. became the most prominent finance careers search engine and was eventually acquired by eFinancialCareers, a British, high-profile financial careers company. was essentially the precursor to the highly successful

Forster and Kahan set out to create a website that utilized a similar business model to the Google Search Engine. Aggregating various listings from all over the Internet as well as paid adverts allowing users to search for what they want in one place. In this case, the users are the job seekers and the results are the job listings for specific industries.

This business model has worked effectively to make  Indeed the most visited job-seeker platform in the United States and the rest of the world. Indeed gained rapid financial success in the first five years and it was eventually bought out by Japanese corporation Recruit Co. in 2012.

Currently, Indeed employs more than 10,000 people and the business is housed in 20 offices around the world, and with more than 300 million visits per month, it still remains one of the most popular job-seeker websites in the world.

How Does Indeed Make Money?

Let’s take a deeper look into how Indeed actually makes money:

Indeed is actually a free platform, job-seekers can sign up and search for jobs without paying anything at all. Employees can also sign up and post jobs without paying anything however, how does Indeed actually profit from the platform? Well, there are various paid features that optimize visibility and provide more opportunities for job seekers to showcase their qualifications and skills.

Here are some of the paid features that Indeed utilize to monetize their platform.

Sponsored Posts

There are thousands of job posts on Indeed making it difficult for posts to be found by potential candidates. This problem is solved by adding premium features such as sponsored posts; these posts will be given priority and greater visibility than the free listings.

The sponsored posts work in the same way as Google ads. Utilizing the pay per click  or PPC advertising model, companies searching for candidates set their budget and using specific keywords and keyword phrases they bid for a certain number of clicks. There is no set price for each keyword because some keywords are more expensive than others and it changes based on certain factors such as location and the popularity of a specific industry or place.

Employers can set their budget for $10 a day for example, when someone clicks on their paid post, a portion of that $10 is used.

Indeed Resume

Job seekers can upload comprehensive resumes to the site resumes improve the chances of getting headhunted and hired. For potential employers or agencies to gain access to these resumes, they have the option of paying a monthly subscription charge. This facilitates the candidate search and increases the chances of finding a suitable candidate to fill the job vacancies.

There are two subscription plans to choose from and each plan has different features. The standard package which is $100 per month, provides the employer with the following benefits: 

  • 30 contacts a month
  • Unlimited resume searches
  • E-mail reminders sent to dormant candidates

This package is best suited to businesses that need to hire a few candidates per month.

The second package available costs $250 per month. This package is best suited to recruiters that need to hire more candidates per month. This is the professional package and it includes the following benefits:

  • 100 contacts a month
  • Unlimited resume searches
  • Ability to contact more than one candidate at a time
  • Access to special Indeed hiring insights

There are more than 150million resumes on the site and more than 6 million are added to the site on a monthly basis.

Targeted Adverts 

 Indeed also  make revenue with targeted adverts. These targeted adverts differ from the sponsored posts as they appear in a number of places on the site. They are very specific and targeted and allow for greater visibility. For example, adverts will appear on the desktop homepage or the mobile homepage, they might also appear in the recommended jobs section of the site or on other prominent pages.

The adverts are targeted because recruiters can choose how and when they want their advert to appear. The adverts can be placed in front of specific candidates based on what they have searched for in the past or their location and qualifications. 

Advertising costs are only divulged to employers who wish to pay for targeted advertising. The prices differ according to location, size of the advert     where they want their advert to appear.

Seen by Indeed

Seen by Indeed is very specific to the tech industry. Here, potential candidates are given more flexibility and it provides advanced features that allow candidates to showcase their resumes, hobbies, skills, and career goals. 

They can also highlight very specific salary goals, location, and the type of company they want to work for. This facilitates the job-search process allowing candidates to easily search for relevant job roles.

More than half of the candidate searches are automatically shown to potential employers because candidates provide all the relevant information facilitating the candidate and employer search process.

In order for employers to gain access to the Seen platform, they must pay a monthly subscription charge. The available packages provide employers with different features similar to the monthly subscription fees for Indeed Resumes. Recruiters can access certain tools such as Fastmatch candidate search technology and Indeed Resume.

Indeed Hiring Events

Indeed hiring events are like mini-virtual employment drives where employers can market a scheduled hiring event which allows them to screen various candidates simultaneously. Recruiters can advertise their events to potential candidates, the potential candidates are screened and shortlisted. The chosen few are invited to take part in the virtual interview process.

These hiring events are set up with a fee attached, thus providing Indeed with another stream of income. There are a number of high profile companies on the platform such as Ikea and UPS who have taken part in Indeed Hiring events. So far, more than 25,000 hiring events have taken place in more than 3,000 cities.

Indeed Featured Employer

Recruiters can pay to become an Indeed Featured employer which provides the company with more visibility and credibility as an employer on the site. Indeed does not divulge exactly how much featured employers pay for the service however, once an employer inquires with an interest in becoming a featured employer on the site, they would be presented with the appropriate packages to suit their needs.


According to a 2018 revenue disclosure, Indeed made more than $2.75 billion in revenue  in 2018. Their multiple revenue streams rely heavily on premium features for employers searching for potential candidates to fill their job roles. The company is owned by Japanese conglomerate Recruit Co. and it was purchased for an estimated $1billion in 2012.

The Indeed revenue streams include sponsored posts where employers pay to post their adverts using a pay per click model similar to that of Google ads. Sponsored posts provide the job listings with more visibility thus increasing the likelihood of finding a suitable candidate for the advertised job. Employers can utilize the free job listings features however, these posts often get lost in a sea of job postings making it difficult to reach suitable candidates. Other paid features include, targeted adverts, where larger, more prominent adverts are placed in specific places on the site. Targeted adverts attract a one-time fee dependent on the location, type of job, where the advert is placed and the size of the advert.

Indeed Resumes is another feature that allows employers to access thousands of resumes of potential candidates. There are two main packages, the Standard package and the professional package. The standard package is $100 per month and employers are provided with up to 30 contacts per month and they can perform unlimited resume searches in that particular month.  The professional package allows employers to contact up to 100 candidates per month and they get access to premium hiring insights.

Another revenue stream for Indeed is Seen by Indeed which is an industry specific sub-platform which focuses on the technology industry as opposed to various industries in one place. Here, employers also pay a monthly fee and they gain access to Indeed Resumes and other features that are specific to the Seen platform. 

Indeed Hiring Events provide employers with the opportunity to promote hiring events to attract more high quality candidates to compete for a specific role. Recruiters pay a fee to host an event and the potential candidates are screened prior to being invited to the actual recruitment drive event. The events allow the employer to interview multiple candidates at the same time thus boosting the chances of finding a suitable candidate for the advertised job. 

The Indeed business model leans heavily towards charging employers and recruitment agencies to access premium features. The fact that the basic features are free attracts more employers to the site however, in order for them to experience the full benefits of the platform they need to sign up and pay for premium features to facilitate the recruitment process. Job seekers can upload their resumes and information free of charge and the employers need to pay to access the vast pool of potential candidates. By making it free for candidates to search, apply and post their resumes, they have managed to attract millions of job seekers and millions of employers searching for candidates.

Indeed is the leading pay-for-performance job advertising network and it currently attracts more than 200 million unique visitors per month. With more than 6 million new resumes uploaded on a monthly basis. Indeed’s business model facilitates the recruitment process by providing free options but then enhances the recruitment experience by offering premium features to recruitment agencies and employers.


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