Opinion: A fairer model for online recruitment in Australia

Australian businesses are paying too much to find the candidates they need so it’s time to reassess recruitment budget allocation. Advantages and disadvantages of the proven performance-based (or cost-per-click (CPC)) models are highlighted below, as well as considerations on implementation.

Australian businesses are paying too much to find the candidates they need so it’s time to reassess recruitment budget allocation. Advantages and disadvantages of the proven performance-based (or cost-per-click (CPC)) models are highlighted below, as well as considerations on implementation.

In the past two decades, the recruitment market has been through a period of rapid evolution. 20years ago, when a company needed to advertise a job, the HR manager simply called the local paper, provided copy, bought an ad and then waited for CVs to arrive.  It was a simple decision and the ad ran until the role was filled.
Within the past 15 years, job advertising has moved almost exclusively online.  Companies now look for the right career site or conventional job board, spend approximately $300 for an online ad, also known as pay-and-publish (PAP), and hope the right candidates find the job.  The price remains the same no matter how the job ad performs or whether the ad attracts the right candidate profiles for the employer.

What’s more, Australian businesses pay some of the highest prices in the world to post jobs online, regardless of the number of clicks, applicants, or resulting hires. Even worse, Australian employers pay the same price for a job posting to fill a technically skilled role such as an engineer as a lower skilled role such as a truck driver.

This PAP job posting approach can be a gamble at a time when every dollar is vital for a business to thrive.  Choosing a conventional job board, which has been in business for a while, has solid traffic numbers and a good reputation, should get a response.  However, that job ad could just as likely sit there, attracting only a few or even no candidates - and the company will have just wasted $300.

The good news is that the recruitment industry has evolved once again. This new advancement is being driven by search.
Today, new job sites, like Indeed.com.au, are using highly targeted search and offering performance-based or CPC (cost-per-click) job advertising, and they are revolutionising how job advertising is undertaken compared to the conventional job board.

Performance-based job advertising is a way to minimise your risk while generating traffic and applicants to your jobs.  With performance-based pricing, the risk is shared. That means that if the job site doesn’t drive clicks to your jobs, you don’t pay.  It is a fairer way of doing business and it represents a fundamental change in the way candidates find jobs and employers find candidates.

Companies using CPC-based jobs ads can make sure their jobs are performing well by making the most of the model’s many advantages including: allowing advertisers to bid for placement to ensure first or second position within search results; using varying click costs to advantage depending on industry and geographic region with many aggregators having a minimum and maximum spend-per-click; quickly adjusting the campaign from analysing the real-time results.  

Conventional, pay-and-publish, job postings packages are still a good source for generating visibility, clicks, and applications.  However, with the plethora of new and evolving options out there, it is time for Australian businesses to embrace the fairer performance-based recruitment model.
Three things to think about when allocating budget to performance-based job ads:

1. Do the Research
Many traditional job boards offer bulk posting or all-you-can post options that are quite affordable but the cost is not dependent on performance.  Figure out what the budget is for the open roles and use that as the baseline to determine the required return on investment or performance.  For example - a company agrees $1,400 for a campaign to hire eight engineers which attracts 3,500 clicks to the posting with these clicks generating 350 applications.  Through these applications eight hires are made.  The organisation has just paid $.40 a click or $175 a hire.  Use this equation to make a comparison with your traditional job posting purchases versus 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 receive on a monthly basis?  How many new members join each month?  There is 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 a must-have.  Real-time reporting which allows an organisation to compare the flat-price job postings and the CPC spends across multiple traffic sources will help track where applicants are coming from and help the company make better and more informed buying decisions.
About the author
Chris McDonald is Country Manager for Indeed in Australia. As a leading job site, more people find jobs on Indeed than anywhere else. In his role, McDonald is responsible for helping Australian employers target and connect with the most relevant candidates for their jobs. With a wealth of global recruitment, display and search advertising experience, he has led digital advertising teams in the UK, USA, Australia and Asia.

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