May 24, 2021

Why a Programmatic Job Ad Exchange Is Like Grocery Shopping

Alicia Little
Alicia Little
May 24, 2021

If you’re not familiar with programmatic technology or job ad exchanges, sometimes it can take a bit to wrap your head around it (I know from personal experience!). Over the past few years that I’ve been at Appcast, I’ve noticed that oftentimes, many terms in this realm are conflated or that many people use different terms to describe the same thing. Needless to say, it can be confusing.

As humans, we often look for examples of things we know to better understand things we don’t know. Simply put – who doesn’t love a good analogy? At Appcast, we often liken the concept of a programmatic job ad exchange to a mutual fund and that works well to help people understand the concept. However, given that I am no expert in mutual funds, I found myself looking for an analogy that I (and others) could really relate to and dig into.

As such, during the height of pandemic stress-induced snacking, the following analogy came to life. Note that I’ve called out the recruiting parallel in bold, bracketed font.


Picture yourself a busy, working mom of four kids (TA or Recruiting pro).

With kids on the go all the time and your partner working in healthcare (aka not a 9-5), there are always many mouths to feed (many hiring funnels to fill) and somehow the number of mouths is always fluctuating.

You are organized, and you’re a savvy shopper when it comes to your grocery needs. You spend hours methodically scouring flyers and coupons and you crush it at managing the monthly grocery budget (monthly spend) to a tee. 

However, it’s time consuming to figure out where the best place is to buy food (manual effort of determining the best place to post jobs) to feed your family on any given day. Do you order from Amazon? Do you go to Whole Foods? Is it Walmart or Sam’s Club? (candidate sources)

And here’s the thing: Your oldest child is headed to summer camp next week so that’s a lot less food needed (he is a teenager, after all) and the last weekend of the month, your cousin Val is coming to visit with her two kids who are lactose intolerant (changes in internal hiring needs in volume and job types/functions), and Val is a vegan. Well, and then there’s your youngest kid’s ongoing complaints about what actually is the best brand of ketchup (quality of candidates).

And that’s not all.

What happens when there’s a labor strike in Colombia that drives up the price of coffee beans? You know you sure as heck aren’t going without coffee so you’ve got to find a way to react to those changes. And, with the pandemic still lingering, you’re finding it difficult to get ahold of yeast and flour (shifting market conditions affect price and supply of candidates) as you were one of many who took up home baking during lockdown.

The Challenge 

How the heck do you even begin to feed your family when the needs of your household constantly change but also the sources of your food do too? And how do you ensure you’re getting the best price from the best places without absolutely losing your mind?

The Solution

You need an app for that and a personal shopper so that you get the best price on your grocery needs at any given time and so every mouth you have to feed on any given day is fed and satisfied and you get the most from your monthly budget. Oh, and the groceries (candidates) are delivered straight to your door (ATS).

A programmatic job ad exchange does exactly this for recruiting and talent acquisition. It removes the guesswork, ensures you get the candidates you need without overpaying, and allows you to quickly adapt your approach when your hiring needs change or the market shifts. We have a programmatic job ad exchange or you can also use our team of experts to manage all of your job advertising needs for you. Let us know if you’d like to learn more – we’re always happy to chat!

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