Job Postings: Lease or Buy?

We’ve all been through it. 

The car is getting up there in miles, the body style is starting to look a little dated, and the dealer just announced some new models that have the cool bells and whistles that yours doesn’t.  It’s time to get a new ride. 

Once you’ve picked out the new car, you  need to make the next big decision: lease or buy.  Financing your  online job advertising is no different.

Buying job postings used to be simple.  You’d call the local paper, give them some copy, and then they’d put an ad in the classifieds section and wait for resumes to arrive. Now,  job advertising has moved online.  Companies look for the right career site, put in a credit card, spend upwards of $500 for an online ad, and hope that the right candidates find their job.  Single-pay job postings can sometimes be a gamble;  if you’re going with a tried-and-true career site that has been in business for a while, has impressive traffic and a good reputation, you’ll get response.  But if not, your job ad just sits out there collecting dust and you just wasted $500.  Kinda like finding out your car’s trade in value is less than what you owe on the loan.  Bummer.

And now, there’s a new evolution: performance-based or CPC (cost-per-click) job advertising.  Performance-based advertisers will accept all of your jobs, and you only pay when people click to view your job description.  So, instead of buying the car, hiring companies now have the ability to lease instead.  0% down, and you only pay based on usage.  Like leasing a vehicle, performance-based job advertising is a no-risk way to generate traffic and applicants to your jobs.  With performance-based pricing, the risk is shared; if the job site doesn’t drive clicks to your jobs, you don’t pay. 

In October 2000, Google brought performance-based advertising to the mainstream when it launched its Adwords product .This new marketing concept leveled the advertising playing field, and made it easy for mom-and-pop shops to compete with the big brick and mortars… all with a nice self-service management tool.  Those little ads you see at the top and the side of your Google search may not look like much, but Google earned a whopping $42.5 billion dollars in 2012 in Adwords revenue.

Soon after, entrepreneurs in the online recruitment space started to wonder, “Maybe the performance-based model could work in the job advertising space?”  In 2004–just 4 short years after Google Adwords– launched, and started offering CPC-based job advertisements, and the idea has quickly gained traction.  Today, many companies are still predominately purchasing job ads in the traditional way, but for some companies, performance-based job postings can be very effective.  Nexxt,  [disclosure, I work for Nexxt], launched its performance-based option earlier this year to complement its traditional search and post packages, and the diversity of having both offerings gives employers the flexibility to experiment to find out which cost model works best for them.

Buying CPC-based jobs can also have its challenges.  It becomes your job to make sure your getting under the hood to make sure your engine is running properly and you’re handling the routine maintenance.  Because many of the performance-based job sites or aggregators allow advertisers to bid for placement, your expense can quickly increase as you get caught up in ensuring you’re in the 1st or 2nd position within search results.  Click cost varies wildly depending upon the industry and geographic region, and many aggregators have a minimum spend-per-click.  Management and monitoring of your job ad segments, performance, and total spend requires time diligence; otherwise, you could accidentally overspend on clicks that just don’t perform well.

We’re still at the beginning of the curve.  Companies are just now starting to dip their toes in the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) water when it comes to buying job postings.  Here are three things to think about as you decide whether you should consider allocating some of your budget to CPC or performance-based job ads:

1. Do the Math.
Many traditional job boards offer bulk posting or all-you-can post options that are quite affordable and will give you a better ROI than any CPC deal.  Buying Job Slots in bulk can save you even more.  Figure out what the cost-per posting is, and use that as your baseline to determine your ROI.  For example, say you’re paying $295 a posting, and you get 150 clicks to your job.  These clicks generated 25 applies.  If you’re able to get 4 interviews and make a hire, then you’ve just paid $1.96 a click, $73.75 per interview, or $295 a hire.  Use this math to make an apples-to-apples comparison with your traditional job posting purchases verses your performance-based purchases.

2. Play in the Traffic.
Find out where the site’s traffic comes from.  How is the site driving traffic to your jobs?  How many unique visitors do they get on a monthly basis?  How many new members join each month?  Do they have a resume database, or simply farm your jobs out to other sites?  Career sites that have a strong resume database tend to drive a better conversion from click to apply, because there’s a trust level that the job seeker has with the job site, and the job site is motivated to ensure your job is seen by the right people. 

3. Be Analytical.
As you diversify your buying strategy and start spending on performance-based job postings, remember that strong analytics measurement tools are must-have.  At-your-fingertips reporting that allows you to compare your flat-price job postings and your CPC spends across multiple traffic sources will help you make better buying decisions. 

So, should you buy or lease?  Traditional job postings packages still have their place in the market, and are still a very good source for generating visibility, clicks, and applies.  But with the plethora of new and exciting options out there… it’s time to take a test drive to find out what works best for you!

About the Author:

Joe Stubblebine is Vice President, Recruitment Media Sales at Nexxt.  Nexxt is a recruitment media company that caters to the next generation of hiring. For companies and agencies, Nexxt is a full-service recruitment marketing platform, providing a targeted method of sourcing the best people from a broader talent pool.

Joe has a long and varied career in the online recruitment and sourcing space. He loves working with clients to help them make killer hiring decisions. Get him talking on any topic and Joe will turn it towards talent acquisition technology. Prospects should pick his brain—he helps sell Nexxt but will also give you a primer on who is doing great things in tech. Joe’s entrepreneurial spirit and positive attitude allow him to approach each day as an opportunity. He is a proud dad, passionate boater, U2 super fan and fashion guru. Joe studied accounting at Clarion University and always makes sure that his watch doesn’t clash with his shoes.

Nexxt is a recruitment media company that uses today’s most effective marketing tactics to reach the full spectrum of talent – from active to passive, and everything in between. Learn more about hiring with Nexxt.

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