This blog is part of a series and if you want to read them in order, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. 


Most companies consider their career site to be the front door of their application process, and their marketing and IT investments support that thinking. Looking closely at the numbers, however, reveals a much different story. With as many as 85% of candidates entering through the side door, smart companies are reconsidering how and where their recruitment marketing budget gets spent. 

With steep competition for critical skills, and many employers hiring for the same roles, apply rates are down, and so is applicant quality. The companies that have highly skilled, talented employees are working hard to retain them. And during a time of global crisis and risk aversion, even fewer passive seekers may be open to considering new opportunities. In today’s talent market, ensuring you hook candidates into your apply flow depends on the effectiveness of your job advertising and that means using your recruitment marketing budget strategically. 

Traditional direct media purchasing is high-cost, high effort

Handing your job advertising over to the big players like Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and ZipRecruiter used to make sense, since they are popular destinations for job seekers, provide wide coverage of the market, and rely on top-of-the-line technologies. However, to be effective, direct media buying takes time and effort, particularly because you have to work through multiple account executives and processes for each channel. And, in many cases, it’s difficult to know how well your ads are working or if they’re actually helping you hit recruiting goals. 

With traditional direct media buying, companies are typically paying the highest prices, and ad spend isn’t necessarily optimized across all your postings. Some posts get more applications than needed, while others won’t get enough. Most critically, you’re only getting in front of active job seekers, which means you’re missing out on the most desirable talent – the ones who aren’t looking but are willing to be persuaded. 

Many companies are already using programmatic advertising to target talent on thousands of other websites beyond just job boards and aggregators. By taking a more active approach and advertising on sites that your ideal candidates use every day, you can get your job ad directly into their line of vision, rather than relying on them to visit a job board. 


With programmatic job advertising, your ads cost less and you have a more targeted audience

Making the shift to programmatic job advertising, which puts job ads wherever your audience actually is, means you spend less money on media buys, attract a more targeted audience, and reach both active and passive job seekers. Media is purchased in bulk to get the best price and then computer algorithms automatically optimize your job ad placements to get the best results from your media spend. 

Programmatic saves a ton of headaches because it’s easier to manage than direct buys and it scales. This streamlined approach is critical for companies looking to hire quickly as they contribute to the global COVID-19 response.  

Just take Piedmont Healthcare as an example. They used InFlight’s ProgrammaticPLUS solution to get in front of the candidates they want to attract and enabled a fast and easy apply process. This saved their busy recruiters tons of time as they no longer had to manage job boards manually. Ultimately, this allowed Piedmont Healthcare to handle the higher workload caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and they were able to fill in-demand roles with top talent in a short period of time.

“Our executive team is floored because they thought we might be able to get one or two, and we got eight in less than 60 days. We have always been in the opposite seat, where we’re feeling the pressure. It was just so great to be able to get those candidates.”


-Carly Fearrington, Talent Acquisition Manager

Converting candidates depends on what happens after they click “Apply Now”

Rethinking your approach to where and how you’re spending marketing dollars can translate to a huge boost in click-through rates from your job ads. To ensure that this heightened interest from side-door candidates results in submitted applications, you also need to consider what the applicant experience looks like from various entry points. 

How does the experience flow from the perspective of a candidate who clicked through from a job ad? As James La Brash points out, “These candidates are not necessarily looking for your company. They’re looking for a job — and their interest is likely based on the job title or description, as opposed to a specific company. And so, the only element of your career site that they will ever see is the job descript Calibri (Body) ion page and apply flow.” In terms of hiring, it’s a critical error to overlook this reality. 

Where are you missing opportunities to make a strong first impression? Let’s take a look at where the applicant experience typically goes wrong – and where companies like yours can make manageable changes for big impact. 

Key takeaways

In a demanding job market made all the more complicated by the global response to COVID-19, you need to maximize the results of your recruiting budget and efforts. Successful employers are harnessing technology to improve not only how they source and recruit, but also how they understand and respond to applicant behaviors. A strategy focused on outspending the hiring competition on beautiful career sites or recruitment marketing isn’t enough.

By enhancing your job advertising approach, along with key elements of the applicant experience, you will boost the efficiency of all your upstream recruiting spend and efforts —  and get more completed job applications that bring talent into your company.

What’s next?

Thanks for joining us in this 4-part blog series! If this is the first blog you’ve read, we suggest you take a look at the other installments (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) so you can get a holistic understanding of recruitment and hiring during Covid-19.

If you’re looking for some more information, check out the expanded version of this blog series in the Hiring During Covid-19 e-book

Or, if you’re ready to talk about your specific needs, connect with us here.

Copy link