April 12, 2021

The 5 Keys to High-Performance Recruitment Advertising

Alicia Little head shot
Alicia Little
April 12, 2021

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Level-Set: What’s Recruitment Advertising?

Let’s face it: There’s a ton of vernacular and jargon that is used in this realm, and it can be confusing. But when I think of recruitment advertising, I think about it from a marketer’s perspective (shocking, I know).

Recruitment advertising is a strategy that employs various tactics and channels, and is a pivotal facet of a broader, carefully planned recruitment marketing strategy. Implicitly, it is one of the many “push tactics” for creating interest among job seekers in both the open jobs you have and why they should want to work at your organization (a.k.a. your employer brand and employee value proposition or WIIFM). Unfortunately, we don’t all have the brand recognition of the Amazons, Ubers, and Coca-Colas of the world, and in order to find great talent, we need to go out there and tell people about the amazing job opportunities that exist!

We defined recruitment advertising  in a previous post, so in keeping with that: Recruitment advertising is the marketing process of capturing candidates’ interest in your company via advertisements, for the purpose of developing a talent pipeline.

Since 2014, we’ve helped recruiting and talent acquisition professionals figure out how best to reach their target job seeking audience with recruitment advertising. And while we’re experts at figuring out optimal cost-per-applicant or apply rates, or any other number of nerdy, “in the weeds” parts of recruitment advertising, we’ve learned that there’s more to it than JUST the advertising.

Below I’ll share 5 keys or building blocks for a high-performance recruitment advertising strategy. If you can execute these 5 things well, you’ll be in fine form to have a full funnel of qualified candidates to hire, and to help achieve your organization’s topline goals.

What building blocks provide the foundation for successful recruitment advertising?

These five keys  are based on our experience, our data, and what we’ve learned from working closely with thousands of employers over the years. Think about it this way: Even if you are just beginning to develop a recruitment advertising strategy and finding new ways to post your jobs, this is like getting a compilation of advice from the best of the best of our most advanced recruitment advertising clients. 

TA Strategy

OK, this one may be a bit obvious. However, it bears mentioning that in order to achieve solid results from recruitment advertising, you need to have a defined goal, strategy, objective and tactic (or G’SOT as our friends at Forbes like to say), and these are largely determined by your talent acquisition strategy. Your talent acquisition strategy also feeds into the decisions and actions you take with the other 4 keys below. A few examples of what we think about when it comes to relating your TA Strategy to the success of your recruitment advertising are:

  • Have you factored diversity, equity, and inclusion goals into your recruitment strategy and tactics?
  • Do you consider how changes in the economy or the labor market impact your ability to find talent (we call this recruitonomics)?
  • How does your TA strategy support the broader goals of your business or organization?
  • Is your recruitment advertising budget realistic for the hiring goals you have to support this year?

Data & Measurement

Being data-driven is no longer a buzzword; it’s how modern talent acquisition and recruitment teams track and measure performance, make decisions, and demonstrate value. So what does it mean for recruitment advertising? 

This is all about ensuring you have the data you need at your fingertips to make the right decisions for your talent acquisition goals and budget, to use data to fuel better performance in your hiring funnels, and to demonstrate the ROI of your recruiting investments.

Apply Process Performance

You may have some of the engaging, compelling, job seeker-centric job ads ever but at the end of the day, if the candidate who clicks on your job ad doesn’t hit that big ol’ submit button on the application, then it is a waste. We preach a number of (data-driven, of course) best practices around the apply process because applying to a job is a candidate’s demonstration of intent. If you can’t convert that at that point in the journey, then you will have a leaky funnel, which can cost you both budget and great, qualified candidates.

Recruitment Marketing Tactics

What other ways are you promoting your organization as a great place to work? How are you educating your ideal candidates about the opportunities that exist for them and how they align with their motivations? Many recruitment marketing tactics all come back to one central theme: understanding your audience.

For a given open role at your company: who is the ideal candidate? What are they motivated by? How, where, and when do they apply to jobs? Where will they go to learn more about your company and job opportunities and what impression will they get when they land there?

Recruitment marketing is an ever-growing, ever-evolving field and there is plenty of room to test and try new tactics, tools, and approaches to see what works best for your job seeker audience. Of course, recruitment advertising is one of these strategies and tactics but having others in your toolbox delivers a more fully integrated approach to targeting and attracting the right candidates and, as a result, can boost the performance of your job ads.

Programmatic Technology

We’re obviously big fans of programmatic (it’s what we do). Programmatic has reached a true frontier in the minds and strategies of the best and most effective talent acquisition teams.  Candidly, if you are posting jobs online and need to do it in a scalable, cost-efficient, outcome-effective way, programmatic is the only way to go.


  • You can manage job postings across multiple sources – all data, all campaigns, all jobs, in one place
  • You can better allocate and manage budget because software and data decide where, when, and how much you need to spend to get your desired result. More bang for your buck!
  • You can turn on and turn off ads through rules-based automation. One example of this would be having a rule in place that says, “OK, when I have 10 applicants for this role, turn off the job ad and stop spending money on it.” 

I could go on about numerous benefits to programmatic but I’ll spare you. If you’d like to dig into it more, check out this whitepaper: Programmatic Recruitment Technology 101 – or this quick video from our CEO.

Taking the Next Step on Your Recruitment Advertising Journey

Now – you may be wondering – do we do these things well? How can I baseline the current state of my recruitment advertising, and how do I know what the next steps are that I should take?

This is why we refer to it as a journey – we’re all at different points in our understanding, adoption, and aptitude for recruitment advertising. In order to help you take stock of “what’s next” for gaining better results and performance from your recruitment ads, we developed the Recruitment Advertising Diagnostic (the RAD!). Take 10 minutes to walk through the questions (they’re all based on a scale of 1-5) and our tool will instantly provide you with a scorecard that highlights where your key opportunities are for improvement and also specific resources to help with those next steps.  And, of course, we’re here to help too!

Take the Appcast Recruitment Advertising Diagnostic (the RAD) HERE!

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