Alicia Little
Alicia Little, Marketing Manager

How Programmatic Recruitment Advertising is Improving Cost-Per-Hire

October 10, 2018 at 03:04 PM — Post

More than fifty years ago, when an employer wanted to fill an open role, they called up their local newspaper and took out an ad in the Classifieds or they posted a ‘Help Wanted’ sign in the window. Then, they patiently waited for eager candidates to show up at their door,  ready to get to work. At the time, there was no other way to reach active – or passive – potential candidates.

A lot has changed in the last 50 years.

With the advent of the internet, companies looking for candidates could move away from the pay-per-word classifieds to the pay-per-posting model of the earliest job sites. But with the internet comes innovation, and soon pay-per-post was replaced with pay-per-click.

An overview of the history of recruitment advertising

In this model, publishers could charge companies for every individual click on their sponsored job posting – regardless of whether that click turned into a completed application.

Pay-per-click worked for a while, and for many organizations, is still the preferred recruitment advertising model. But what happens when all of the money you spend acquiring clicks doesn’t result in any applications?

Cost-Per-Click: A Growing Dilemma

Pay-per-click job advertising is less than perfect. If an easy-to-fill role is left posted, advertisers can end up wasting their budget on costly clicks for jobs that don’t need any more applicants; conversely, their hard-to-fill roles are left un-clicked, un-filled, and unable to be advertised because their budget has been eaten up.

The result? Inefficient recruitment advertising spend, growing concerns of a rising cost-per-hire, and fingers tightly crossed that hard-to-fill jobs will receive enough clicks to generate an applicant (or better yet, a hireable candidate).

We can do better.

Goodbye “Post and Pray,” Hello Programmatic Recruitment Advertising

WIth programmatic recruitment advertising, you can more accurately target your ideal candidates in the right place, at the right time, and, most importantly, for the right price.

But what, exactly, is programmatic?


Programmatic advertising is the buying, placement, and optimization of ads performed by software, rather than people.

Originally used in traditional consumer advertising models, programmatic has made its way into the world of recruitment advertising. By leaning into this new form of advertising, recruiters are better able to refine where their ad is shown, and to whom, on the internet – leading to more and better engagement with job ads and, ultimately, more qualified applicants.

Lowering Cost-Per-Hire, One Application at a Time

One of the biggest benefits advertisers see from implementing programmatic recruitment advertising  is a
reduced cost-per-hire. But how does it work?

After setting up the proper tracking on your applications (after all, programmatic is rooted in data and algorithms, and the key to making the model work is better analytics on what ads are driving applications), advertisers can set their sponsorship rules.

Sponsorship rules ensure that advertisers can be selective about: who they want to target, what regions they want to target, setting a maximum budget, and – most importantly – implementing rules that automatically turn off a job ad when its reached enough applicants.

For hiring organizations, the real-time data provided through programmatic recruitment advertising platforms about application volume and conversions (a.k.a., the percentage of people that actually apply after viewing and clicking on your job ad), enables smarter decision-making about where and how to allocate recruitment advertising budgets.

Having real-time data insights to understand where you could be spending less money, need to be spending more money, or how you can impact your conversion rate (a.k.a., application rate) with small tweaks to your job ads can prove very valuable when it comes to your budget and the results you get from it. Increasing your conversion rates by even a few small percentage points can mean significant cost savings and a lower cost-per-hire when scaled across many open jobs.

Pay-Per-Applicant, Not Per-Click

Ultimately, an investment in programmatic recruitment advertising, and the cost-per-application model, provides talent acquisition teams with a
better job advertising ROI and better aligns your ad spend to the result your looking for – quality, hireable candidates.

Programmatic removes the gamble from duration based ads, and eliminates the risks of low conversions or application drop-off associated with the cost-per-click pricing model.

Used intelligently, cost-per-applicant advertising can drastically reduce an organization’s overall cost-per-hire.

Pay-per-applicant recruitment advertising has revolutionized talent acquisition. Discover how adopting a CPA model in your organization can lower your cost-per-hire and deliver more quality applicants in our whitepaper, “Pay-Per-Applicant, Not Per-Click.”

Get the Whitepaper!