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Is “Programmatic” a Bad Idea for Staffing Agencies?

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Before trying something new in your staffing agency, especially when it affects recruitment and your candidate pipeline, most companies conduct research and try to learn as much as they can on their own. It could be through reading content, watching videos, or talking to people who you trust.

One of those areas that is becoming talked about more often in candidate recruitment is programmatic job advertising. In observing that area since the start of 2018, a lot has been said about programmatic job advertising. Some information is correct. Some information is wrong.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions when hearing about a bad experience, but let’s dig deeper into programmatic job advertising and analyze if it’s a bad idea for the staffing industry.

Making Data-Driven Decisions

Making the best data-driven decisions is imperative with recruitment budgets. There are a number of ways to do that, and programmatic software is an automated example to leverage technology, to eliminate wasted spend, and to improve ROI. Recruitment teams could manually perform the tasks of posting jobs, taking them down, monitoring budgets, adjusting bidding, tracking application totals, etc. But using a software platform that automates all of those areas, it gives recruiters more time to talk to the people who want to work for you.

In the staffing industry, with a budget of $2,000/month or higher, just about every single company has some type of wasted spend in that budget. Programmatic software can help every single company to manage their current Indeed and/or ZipRecruiter budgets more efficiently. The budget doesn’t need to be on new job boards. Companies can still advertise on Indeed and/or ZipRecruiter, but leveraging the automation and technology of the programmatic software reduces/eliminates the wasted spend. The only thing that changes is a split-second in the middle where the programmatic software applies your strategy before going to the job boards.

Some Examples of Wasted Spend:

  • Too many applications on jobs (I had this conversation earlier this month with a client who had 4 jobs with 80-110 applications on those openings)
  • Too few applications on jobs (very common right now, unfortunately)
  • Advertising on the wrong job boards
  • Putting the wrong amount of budget on the wrong jobs (high-priority jobs should receive the most, then medium, then low)
  • Using the wrong job titles

How Programmatic Helped Eliminate Wasted Spend

Let’s look deeper at two examples on how using programmatic software improved the ROI for staffing agencies.

Case Study #1: An industrial staffing company in Northeast Ohio was spending $3,500/month on Indeed. They kept telling the owner to spend more money to get more applications. Instead, we worked with them to reallocate the budget because the data showed it wasn’t allocated correctly. Too much money was being spent on the wrong jobs:

  • Before Haley Marketing: Averaging 568 applications/month at $3,500 with internal management
  • With Haley Marketing Managing: Averaging 915 applications/month at $3,021($3,732 total cost)

Read the full case study here on how programmatic software and active management lowered job board spend by 13 percent while application totals increased by 61 percent for an industrial staffing company in Northeast Ohio.

Case Study #2: A healthcare staffing company in California was going to increase its Indeed spend from $3,000 to $5,000 due to a lack of candidates. When they worked with Haley Marketing, we implemented different tactics. We found new job boards, focused on source tracking. and created a priority system for job sponsorship:

  • Before Haley Marketing: Averaging 379 applications/month at $3,000 with internal management
  • With Haley Marketing Managing: Averaging 876 applications/month at $2,807($3,510 total cost)

Read the full case study here on how programmatic software and active management lowered job board spend by 6 percent while application totals increased by 131 percent for a  healthcare staffing agency in California. 

When Doesn’t It Work?

The most frustration that we hear about programmatic job advertising is when staffing agencies purchase directly from a programmatic job board. (The best analogy I have is that a programmatic job board is a mutual fund vs. purchasing directly from Indeed/ZipRecruiter is buying a direct stock). The differentiator for a programmatic job board is its algorithm. It analyzes your job title, the geographic location of the job, and the job description. The algorithm looks at its network of job boards (thousands of local, regional, niche job boards) to determine how to get your job in front of the right person at the right time. By not buying directly from a job board, we have heard of some issues of transparency, where candidates get re-routed to multiple job boards and it’s a very poor experience.

That negative experience with a programmatic job board doesn’t mean that programmatic doesn’t work at all. We have seen programmatic job boards work well for some companies and not work well for some companies. Application costs from a programmatic job board are higher than a quick apply on Indeed/ZipRecruiter.

It’s vital to know what you’re buying and having someone you trust help you with that process to ensure you aren’t wasting recruitment budget.

One More Example of How Programmatic Works

Here’s an example of analysis that we ran this past week for a trucking company. They sponsored the same exact job openings, just different compensation during the past 2-3 months:

  • $1,000 sign-on bonus and a higher wage: 106 applications
  • $1,000 sign-on bonus and a lower wage: 57 applications
  • No sign-on bonus and a lower wage: 18 applications 

Now the company has the data to make compensation decisions. Application dropoff is significant and application cost increased by 2X to 3X. The programmatic software centralized all of their recruitment budget and simplified the data collection for the analysis. We were able to help them reinstate bonuses and/or higher hourly wages.

**UPDATE** In the first five days of increasing compensation, either through hourly wage or putting the bonus back on the job, the company had 36 applications at a 60 percent lower CPA than the previous 10 days.

Consider the Right Programmatic Solution for Your Company

A programmatic job board won’t work for every company, but for companies spending at least $2,000/month on job boards, evaluating the benefits of using programmatic software to manage the Indeed/ZipRecruiter spend should definitely be considered.

At Haley Marketing, we’re here to help you find the right programmatic solution for your staffing agency. Contact our team today to learn more!

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