Part 1:

Getting Started — Recruitment Advertising Planning

Now that you know the fundamentals, history, and methods of recruitment advertising, you’re ready to get started with your own strategy. In the next few sections, we’ll talk about planning and implementing your recruitment advertising strategy, and evaluating the results of your efforts.

Recruiting Goals & Objectives

Setting benchmarks: take a look at previous year performance

An essential part of your planning phase requires examining your recruiting needs, recruitment advertising budget, and the performance of your sources from the previous year.

Understand what percentage of last year’s hires came from:

  • Internal promotions
  • Referrals
  • External hires

The percentage of external hires you made the previous year will be a jumping point for understanding how much recruiting budget will need to be allocated towards recruitment advertising.

Advertise Open Positions

If you have never advertised an open job and don’t have previous data to look to, putting your open positions on your careers website or in your applicant tracking system (ATS) and linking your careers site somewhere on your corporate website is a solid start.

For many employers, advertising your open jobs by utilizing the assets and free tools already available to you will help you get off the ground and running. This will be a starting point before you must establish greater buy-in from leaders and engage any stakeholders on your team.


What is a Candidate?

To build out your recruitment advertising strategy, start with the basics.

Depending on the type of your organization, there are many definitions of what a candidate is, and even more surrounding the definition of a ‘qualified candidate.’

To properly execute a recruitment advertising strategy, a company’s definition of a ‘candidate’ and ‘qualified candidate’ must be agreed upon and defined across all parts of your team. All talent acquisition teams need to meet and discuss how candidates should be evaluated across all functions at your organization. The success of building your recruitment advertising strategy depends on this alignment.

Set up time to meet with all relevant stakeholders to discuss and define your target candidates across each function or job type.

Candidate Persona Checklist

This will likely vary across job & function.
Candidate Persona Checklist
What are the required skills of a desired candidate?
Candidate Persona Checklist
What is the required experience of a desired candidate?
Candidate Persona Checklist
What are the desired soft skills or personality traits of the potential candidate?

Setting Benchmarks: Understand your Needs

Once you’ve identified the types of candidates you are looking to hire, understand how your investment in ad dollars will lend itself to delivering the candidates need.

Backwards math from the previous year is part of aligning your budget with need and timing.

Set Apply Goals

Set apply goals.

How many candidates do you need?

Defining the apply goal for each open job is a foundational metric you will need as you begin to optimize your recruitment advertising performance. Setting it effectively will enable you to identify when to stop spending on the jobs that already have enough applicants, therefore creating two opportunities: the availability of extra budget to advertise your other jobs, and a better candidate experience from eliminating applicants you don’t have time to disposition.

Break down the volume of applications you will need to screen when assessing how many hires you need to make. From your historical data, identify how many candidates you need to make a hire, per job or group of jobs.

Let’s look at an example.

Job Advertising Needs

Setting Apply Goals—A Framework

What percentage of the applicants you screened for X job resulted in a hire?

Number of Applicants Needed

X Number of Applications = 1 Hire

Given the total number of hires you need to make for this job, how many applicants do you need?

Number of Applicants Needed

X Number of Applications = X Hires


With some simple math, this approach is scalable. Use your 1:1 benchmark when planning and accounting for all the open requisitions you need to fill. Let’s apply this to an example at a Healthcare organization.

What percentage of the nursing applicants you screened resulted in a hire?

Number of Applicants Needed

12 Nursing Applicants = 1 Hire

Given the total number of nursing hires you need to make for this job, how many applicants do you need?

Number of Applicants Needed

48 Nursing Applicants = 4 Nursing Hires

Timing of Applicants Needed

Account for timing.

When do you need to fill these positions?

The timing of when you need your open requisitions filled will impact the types of sources you choose for recruitment advertising. For example, if you need to fill a specialized position within two weeks, a 30-day posting may not make the most sense for your needs.

Use a source that will allow you to drive the applicant volume you will need, within the designated time frame allotted.


Breaking Down your Budget and Establishing Buy-in

Work with all the relevant stakeholders to outline how much of your budget can be allocated towards recruitment advertising. It’s common that career sites, employment branding programs, and recruitment advertising may fall under one budget line item.

It’s important to note that the corporate career site is a destination for candidates, but not defined as an advertising source. When working with stakeholders, ensure that your budget allocation reflects this differentiation.

Job Ad Budget

While recruitment advertising can be used to create interest and provide information about your organization, the main priority of the corporate career site is just that.

The budget planning phase of setting up a recruitment advertising strategy requires looking at last year’s performance, as well. The more benchmark data from the previous year performance you can provide, the more likely you’ll get increased budget. Look at the vendors you used previously, the dollars that were allocated, and the candidates you gained. If possible, use a benchmark that is closest to your organization’s definition of “quality” as possible (cost-per-applicant, cost-per-quality applicant, etc.).

Be as detailed as possible in your segmentation. Align your budget with need at the job group level and the individual job level.

Deciding where you should be sending your budget is the next step. Find the channels you need to advertise on based on vendor performance. If you don’t have the benchmark data, begin by building it with the basics.

  • Find sources that work
  • Manage them efficiently
  • Optimize for better performance
  • Establish benchmarks
Recruitment Advertising Checklist

Certain recruitment advertising sources will perform better for certain types of jobs within specific industries. Do your research! Look to work with publishers that will speak to your target candidates.

Remember the golden rules to stick to when choosing and working with your recruitment advertising sources.

Step 1 Keep the majority of your budget uncommitted.

Avoid signing long-term contacts that lock you into commitments with vendors.

Step 2 Don’t allocate all your budget to a specific source.

A diversified marketing mix is essential to building a steady pipeline of candidates.

Step 3 Keep a close eye on performance data.

Use vendor performance data as a benchmark and hold them to the expectations they’ve set.

Step 4 Stop working with sources that don’t perform.

Make sure you stop putting budget toward candidate sources that fail to deliver on your goals.

Recruitment Advertising Sources

Ready for the second part?

Continue Reading