Recruitment Advertising 101

An Introduction for Beginners

Talent acquisition teams are responsible for finding, acquiring, assessing and hiring candidates to fill open positions that will help meet necessary company goals. Yes, the recruiting operation’s main objective is to find and hire employees, but, through effective talent practices, can also make a significant impact on overall business performance. Talent acquisition teams hold the responsibility of building the foundation of their respective companies by deciding on - and influencing - the new minds they bring to the table, shaping the future of the organization and laying the groundwork for evolution of the company.

An Overview of the Recruiting Funnel

Recruiting Funnel

A Comparison: Online Customer Journey & Candidate Journey

Marketing pioneers in the online consumer space paved the way with data-driven practices, and recruiters are now doing the same. Today, talent acquisition teams use data, implement marketing strategies and set KPIs, and benchmark goals to help drive and convert talent throughout every stage of the recruiting funnel.

Just as leads are essential to filling the sales pipeline for businesses, interested candidates are just as essential for recruiters to fill their talent pipelines.

The Customer Journey

The customer journey encompasses the entire path a consumer goes on when interacting with a brand. This journey includes everything from the original interaction with the brand, further discovery of the brand, actions taken to demonstrate interest in a product or offering, and finally, converting and becoming a customer.

The Candidate Journey

The candidate journey describes the entire path of a potential employee’s interaction with your organization. The candidate journey includes everything from the original interaction with your employment brand, further discovery of your organization, and any actions or conversations taken regarding employment at your company, potentially to the point of hire.


Building and Growing Your Candidate Pipeline

Various tactics are needed to build out a steady pipeline of interested candidates that you can potentially hire.

Tactics to garner interest in your organization’s employment opportunities include:

  • Employee referral programs
  • Social media
  • Company career sites
  • Content marketing or blogging
  • Employment branding strategies
  • Recruitment advertising & lead generation
  • Email marketing
  • Direct mail or print advertisements
  • Outbound calling & direct outreach
Candidate Pipeline

History & Terms Defined

What is recruitment advertising and why is it important?

Recruitment advertising is the marketing process of capturing job seeker interest in your company via advertisements, for the purpose of developing a talent pipeline.

In today’s competitive talent market, recruitment advertising has become a necessary outlet for employers and hiring companies to leverage to find the candidates they need. Recruitment advertising helps organizations reach candidates throughout the web, improve their employment brand, and generate a consistent pipeline of inbound talent that can ultimately be hired.

Through various recruitment advertising strategies, recruiters and talent acquisition professionals can capture job seeker information and build out a comprehensive ATS or CRM of potential targets to convert into candidates. Now, recruitment advertising is commonly used as a medium not only to reach active job seekers, but also to encourage passive candidates to progress through the candidate journey.

Though recruitment advertising is just one part of a recruitment operation, it’s important for all types of employers and hiring companies, both small and large, across any industry.

Recruitment Advertising Tactics

All tactics and strategies listed on the previous page are impactful throughout different stages of the recruiting funnel and the candidate journey.

A full-funnel perspective cannot be overlooked; it presents the opportunity for recruitment professionals to analyze and refine their ROI.


The History of Recruitment Advertising

Over the past 30 years, recruitment advertising has grown not only in importance, but in sophistication. In order to fully understand today’s recruitment advertising landscape, it’s important to take a look at the macro shifts that have taken place in the industry and the evolution of the process and practices utilized by hiring companies over time.

History of Recruitment Advertising

Recruitment Advertising Today

Traditional recruitment advertising has undergone massive change in the last decade due to emerging online lead generation techniques. New recruiting technologies and advanced offerings are helping recruiters reach not only active, but passive candidates, as well.

This shift toward reaching passive candidates, especially in today’s competitive talent landscape, has triggered a fundamental change in the way that talent acquisition teams and hiring companies advertise their open jobs.

Job seeker expectations

The emergence of the internet has created increased transparency and greater access to employer knowledge. This abundance of information on the internet means that job seekers now expect greater access to knowledge about what it would be like to work at your company.

Through a variety of resources available, job seekers can easily find out information about your company through social media, search engines, and other online channels. The modern job seeker can learn a great deal about your organization – and expects to – without even speaking to a recruiter, making your company’s digital presence more important ever before.

Modern Job Candidate

The Modern Job Candidate

Today's job candidates are knowledgeable, work at a fast pace, and change jobs at an even quickerpace.

According to the BLS, in 2018, the average length of time that wage and salary employees stayed at a job was 4.2 years.


Recruitment Advertising Today

Today’s candidates are not only more particular in their employment choices but are more inclined to explore freelance opportunities, as well. The emergence of the “gig” or “on-demand” economy is also fundamentally changing the world of work today. The definitions of what a job represents to people are shifting and evolving. The requirements of what job seekers expect are driving people into the gig economy, which now comprises roughly 34% of the entire workforce. Whether it be a driving job or a writing or education job, short-term or freelance work is becoming more and more appealing and prominent in the working world today.

Leading gig economy organizations have adapted their recruitment advertising strategies to meet this tectonic shift. These organizations aren’t reacting to a current hiring need, but rather are proactively planning — using data to foresee future on-demand hiring landscapes. They run models and A/B tests, advertise strategically, personalize their content, test location expansion, and execute a recruitment advertising with the intention of reaching people that would potentially be interested in freelance work.

What they’ve created is a well-oiled recruiting machine. It’s lead generation at its finest, that’s taken direct pointers from the marketer’s playbook. In an industry where there is a direct correlation between hiring and revenue, these organizations have used recruitment marketing as an integral process to keep their pipeline filled.

Recruitment Advertising Today

Pace of Emerging Technologies

Technologies and tools to help organizations advertise their open jobs continuously emerge as the industry becomes more complex and competitive. New players – like Google for Jobs, or Facebook Jobs - as well as long-standing candidate providers in the industry, continue to evolve.

The pace of emerging tools in the space make it more challenging than ever before for recruitment advertisers to evaluate and understand where they should be allocating their dollars.

Let’s review the technology you will need in place to get started with recruitment advertising.

Emerging Recruitment Technology

Talent Acquisition Landscape Overview: Tools & Technology

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) and Candidate Relationship Management Systems (CRMs)

Application Tracking System (ATS)

An ATS is a critical tool for recruiters, staffing firms, and agencies that have high volumes of candidates. Many mid-sized and enterprise employers will need (and already have) an ATS to manage the day-to-day of their sourcing, screening, and recruiting processes. Ensuring that applicants are properly sourced and sorted is invaluable.

Candidate Relationship Management (CRM)

A CRM builds pipelines and helps solves the recruiting needs of tomorrow. However, you may not even be managing people who are candidates yet. You may only have a name and an email of a candidate in your CRM. As you track their click history, with a CRM, you can gradually build profiles to see where they fit in your talent pool. Since they are not yet candidates, you don’t have to worry about compliance or lengthy apply flows. CRM’s also do not require resumes. You can build the profile based on where a candidate wants to go, rather than on where they’ve been.

For organizations that are looking to invest in applicant tracking or candidate relationship management – or, switch vendors – the graphic below provides a quick snapshot of just some of the offerings available to you in the market.

ATS ATS Logos
CRM CRM Logos

Recruitment Advertising Sources

The modern recruitment advertising marketplace is complex and constantly changing and evolving. In today’s digital world, the array of advertising channels, models, and solutions is vast. Making decisions about what candidate sources to use is a major hurdle that employers and other recruitment advertisers must evaluate and overcome. It’s important to examine the space and fully understand how it all works before allocating your budget towards a specific source(s).


Traditional Advertising Sources

Many leading hiring organizations utilize traditional advertising methods to build interest in their open positions. Some traditional advertising options include:

Print Advertising Print

Newspaper classifieds, magazines, flyers, and other traditional mediums can be useful in attracting applicants for a high-priority, one-off job opening, or for advertising general information about your company or your employment brand.

Radio and Television Advertising Radio & TV

Radio and television ad spots, while requiring significantly more investment, have large reach and the potential to drive more impressions than other traditional advertising methods. Organizations that have the budget to support radio and TV advertising use these outlets to reach candidates, and often promote messaging surrounding their employment brand, company culture, or benefits.

Out-of-Home Advertising Outdoor/Out-of-Home

Similarly to radio & TV, outdoor advertising can help build interest in your employment brand and encourage more candidates to apply to your organization. Some outdoor advertising methods include billboards, bus shelters, taxi ads, or other ad space in publication transportation centers.

These traditional recruitment advertising practices still have a place in the market for any hiring organization, depending on specific instances and needs. A major challenge or limitation in today’s marketplace, however, is that many traditional advertising methods cannot guarantee to deliver candidate volume. On top of that, many traditional ad models are hard to measure and track ROI; outcomes won’t necessarily be closely aligned with dollars spent. Since the introduction of the internet, however, digital and online advertising has become preferred the method for hiring organizations that are looking to get the best return on investment from their spend. For the purposes of the rest of this guide, we’ll be focusing on online recruitment advertising.

Recruitment Advertising Practices

Digital/Online Advertising Sources

Today, hiring organizations often utilize digital advertising methods to supplement or replace the traditional models of the past that were used to help acquire candidates. We'll dive deeper into best practices for utilizing these digital sources in Part 2. Some digital tools include:

Job Distribution Tools Job Distribution Tools

Software that allows recruitment advertisers to post their jobs to multiples job boards.

Job Boards Job Boards

A website for a hiring company to post their open roles. This is an often sought-out destination for job seekers that are actively looking for employment.

Aggregators Aggregators

A website that collects and aggregates related items - in this case, job postings from throughout the web - and displays them via direct links on their job site.

Niche Job Sites Niche Job Sites

A job board that specializes in posting jobs in a certain industry, job type, or for a specific type of job seeker.

Social Networks Social Networks

Many social networks have some sort of job posting capability. Job seekers can interact with job ads from within their social platform.

Talent Pools Talent Pools

An online compilation of potential candidates sourced from a platform, for an employer, recruitment agency, or hiring organization to utilize and look to at a later date.

Ad Exchanges Ad Exchanges

A publisher network comprised of different types of job sites, consumer sites, and social sites, where recruitment advertisers can buy ad space and advertise their own positions.

Types of Digital Recruitment Advertising Media

Advertisers can purchase different types of recruitment media - all structured in different price points, time periods - and guaranteeing different returns. Below is a list of commonly used media purchases that advertisers can utilize for their recruiting strategy.

Duration-Based Posting Duration-Based Posting

Advertisers pay for an ad at a fixed rate, that runs for a fixed amount of time. Most duration-based ads can be purchased monthly.

Job Slots Job Slots

Advertisers pay for a set amount of spaces purchased from a publisher, for a set price.

Lead Registration Lead Registration

Advertisers pay for someone to sign up for job alerts, or to register within the job site network, and gains access to that lead. Oftentimes, all that’s required for a lead registration is an email address capture.

Cost-Per-Click Cost-Per-Click*

Advertisers pay every time a candidate clicks on their job ad in the search results or list view.

Cost-Per-Apply-Click Cost-Per-Apply-Click*

Advertisers pay every time a candidate clicks the ‘apply’ button on the job site and is redirected to start the application, which may be on the job site or via their ATS.

Cost-Per-Application Cost-Per-Application*

Advertisers pay every time a candidate completes a full job application.

Cost-Per-Quality-Application Cost-Per-Quality-Applicant*

Advertisers pay every time a qualified candidate – one that satisfies pre-screening criteria – fills out a complete application.

* Indicates pay-for-performance (PFP) recruitment media

Now that you know the basics, let's dive in!

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