Tim Horrocks


August 1, 2022


What are the Best Media for Recruitment?

Changes in the market mean that recruiters now have to work harder to find talent. The response to this has been new approaches to talent strategy and the emergence of smarter recruitment technologies. AI-enhanced programmatic ads, Google Ads, job boards, social seeding and mobile marketing–the new talent landscape is rich in media solutions to recruitment challenges. 

So, which will work the best for you?

How to target talent more effectively with programmatic ads

Programmatic ads use AI-technology to serve ads to candidates most likely to engage with them. In a recruitment context that means, rather than casting a big net on job boards, programmatic ads intelligently target only candidates who are well-matched to the job you are advertising. With cost-per-click and cost-per-hire pricing models available, they’re also priced intelligently to suit budgets of various sizes. 

Though minimum spends can be high with programmatic ads, because they show your ad to those likely to engage with them, they can actually reduce your cost per hire in the long run. In short, they’re more efficient–and when 40% of marketing budgets are supposedly wasted, that can make a big difference. 

As well as helping you fill vacancies more quickly in the short term, programmatic ads can help you deliver touchpoints that will play into your long term recruitment strategy. The smart software knows when a candidate has already engaged with an ad and will adjust messaging accordingly. This dynamic approach can deliver appropriate messaging to candidates at every stage of the talent funnel–including valuable passive job seekers–who might not apply right away, but will be more likely to further down the line.

Programmatic ads work by developing candidate personas–idealised representations of the person spec and your company values. The software will bid on an ad placement based on how closely the page visitor resembles this persona. That’s why, when the software bids high, there’s a great chance that the targeted person is someone you’ll want at your organisation.

The bidding model used by programmatic ads suits lower-paid volume hire roles. That’s because talent is easier to find for those types of roles, which keeps bids low. The initial cost of the campaign might be higher, but the amount of talent it will allow you to recruit–and pipeline for the future–reduces cost per hire long-term. 

Read more about targeting talent with programmatic ads 

Use keyword research to target candidates with Google Ads

Enter a search query into Google and the top results will be Google Ads. These are ads that companies have paid for that might also appear across the Google Display Network. Being at the top of the first page of Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is an amazing opportunity to gain visibility–so how should recruiters make the best of it? 

Creating a Google Ad begins with a key search term that describes the role you are advertising. Google will charge you every time someone clicks your ad, so it’s important that you supply relevant keywords so that you attract clicks worth paying for. At 8%, clickthrough rates are high for Google Ads, and research has shown that 46% of clicks go to the top three results–so irrelevant keywords could be costly.

Google ranks your ad according to your Google Quality Score. This is determined by the relevance of your keywords to the thing you are advertising. For recruiters that means choosing keywords that relate directly to the job you are advertising. So if you are advertising a baggage handler job, Google will award your ad a high quality score for the keyword ‘baggage handler’ and a low quality score for the keyword ‘factory worker’. 

Finding the right keywords takes research. You can use products like Moz and SEMRush to do this as well as Google Adwords’ built-in Keyword Planner tool. Employee focus groups can help unearth keywords that might only occur to those doing the job. Different types of research will help your campaign strike a balance between broad keywords and more obscure or specific terms that will most likely be used by people with experience in the industry you are targeting.

Creating a great Google recruitment ad takes a similarly balanced approach. Google Ads might be keyword-driven but that doesn’t mean you should cram your ad with keywords. Your priority should be to give the best impression of your employer brand with copy that delivers the key message of what the candidate will gain from working with you and has a clear call to action. Google Ads’ reporting tools means you can monitor the performance of your ad, tweak them, and maximise ROI on your ad spend.

Read more about using keyword research to target talent with Google Adwords

Is there still a place for job boards in talent attraction?

The emergence of new technology like programmatic ads and mobile advertising and the rise of social media has brought the effectiveness of job boards into question. However, a recent survey found that 64% of respondents still used job boards as part of their search for work and companies still expect to see their jobs advertised on job boards when working with third party recruiters. So, are job boards relevant in the increasingly hi-tech, social world of recruitment? 

The current shortage of active job seekers is bad news for job boards. Whereas once recruiters could post on job boards and wait for applications to roll in, now they often have to be more proactive in their search for talent using social media and mobile technology to attract passive job seekers to their brand. Because, if they don’t, other recruiters will.

Not all sectors are affected by the talent shortage, though. Healthcare, hospitality, IT and advertising still report high numbers of active job seekers. That doesn’t mean recruiters in those sectors shouldn’t take advantage of the latest recruitment tech, but when you consider the low cost of job boards and that they still attract millions of monthly visitors, they’re worth having as part of a recruitment strategy.

There are things you can do to make job board posts perform better: 

  • Seek out industry-specific boards that will deliver higher quality traffic
  • Keyword research can make your ad more visible in search engine results
  • Put personality into your job copy to give a sense of your employer brand
  • Ensure your ATS offers a quality candidate experience

Unfortunately for recruiters, it’s not as simple as using job boards to attract active job seekers and other methods to bring in the passives. Healthcare, for example, despite the high number of active job seekers, is one of the most difficult sectors to recruit. Overcoming that challenge means building relationships with candidates across multiple touchpoints delivered via channels including social media, programmatic and Google ads and, indeed, job boards. 

Read more on how job boards fit into the current recruitment landscape here

How does mobile advertising for recruitment work?

Now that 84% of British people own a smartphone and spend an average of 2hr 34min on their phones each day, mobile advertising can be a powerful tool for recruiters. In fact, mobile technology has become so sophisticated that it’s possible to complete the entire application process on a phone–and evidence suggests that people are doing just that. 

There’s plenty of appetite for applying for jobs on mobile among UK jobseekers. The problem faced by recruiters is turning that enthusiasm into completed applications from quality candidates. The figures on abandoned mobile applications suggest that’s not always happening. 

The answer is to make your application process as mobile friendly as possible. Some measures, like one-click applications can circumnavigate the problem but potentially replace it with another–too many low-quality applications and a time consuming filtering process. 

It’s always a good idea to review your processes from a candidate point of view. Are all the sections of your application necessary? Is your application form equitable? Remember that some candidates won’t have had the kind of education that covers how to fill in winning application forms. 

98% of the UK’s 53 million social media users accessing social media by mobile phone means that developing engaging mobile-friendly content introducing job seekers–active and passive–to your employer brand is a really good idea. Content seeding like this helps build candidate touchpoints that make positive engagement more likely across your entire recruitment strategy. 

Then there’s SMS and QR code advertising. Although they’re old news to some, QR codes have become part of daily life since the pandemic and they’re a great way to send candidates straight through to your careers site. SMS too shouldn’t be overlooked–especially as it’s so popular with more experienced people.

Read more about using mobile advertising in recruitment here

How to use content seeding in your recruitment strategy 

Social media has changed the recruitment landscape. Now, 73% of millennials find jobs using social media alone. What’s more, the dearth of active job seekers makes job board recruitment more difficult. Challenges like these call for new recruitment strategies–and content seeding can be an important part of that. 

Content seeding is putting content in online places where it can draw engagement. It can be used by recruiters to establish your organisation as a trusted presence within the sector, whose content always delivers something of value. The sharing and herding cultures that exist on social media mean that content has the potential to reach a huge number of people. 

Some of the benefits of content seeding are: 

  • Increasing site traffic. Huge number of social media users offers huge potential here. 
  • Building your employer brand. Great content makes you desirable. 
  • Build an online community. Keep delivering with your content and you’ll build an audience. 
  • Engaging passive jobseekers. Content can deliver touchpoints that lead to engagement.  
  • Drive your mobile strategy. Most internet traffic is on mobile–engage it with content.

Effective content seeding depends on quality content that addresses subject matter important to your target audience. Focus groups are a great way to find out what matters to your existing staff. You can use the information gained from focus groups to build a candidate persona–an idealised candidate whose interests, ambitions and values form the basis of a content plan optimised for engagement. 

Once you’ve created content, the options for seeding are numerous. Your choices here will depend on the audience you want to engage. Social media is an obvious starting point–if your content is picked up by an influencer or is posted in a group, you can potentially gain exposure to large, highly relevant audiences. As you build your audience and reputation, you’ll become as valuable to influencers as they are to you, which could create backlink sharing opportunities. And, of course, there’s always newsletters–often highly-engaged, mailing lists present very fertile ground for seeding. 

Read more about using content seeding in your recruitment strategy here

For more information on the best media for your recruitment strategy, please get in touch.



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