Why ‘programmatic’ is changing hiring

It’s been quite a year for talent acquisition. Most companies are going through change, reconsidering their processes and rethinking technology.

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Madeline Laurano

There’s one big issue that’s been transparent in TA, says Madeline Laurano, an analyst at Aptitude Research: Traditional job advertising–like display ads in newspapers, general job boards like Indeed or Glassdoor, niche job boards, online communities like Reddit, or social media–is falling short.

“Traditional advertising is incredibly expensive, it’s incredibly inefficient, and it creates inefficiencies in talent acquisition,” she said Wednesday at the virtual Spring HR Technology Conference & Exposition. (The conference continues through Friday. Register here.) “The good news is that companies have better options.”

One of those options? Programmatic job advertising, which essentially is the use of technology instead of people for buying, placing and optimizing job ads. And it’s catching on.

“Companies are turning to programmatic in a big way this year to be able to streamline all of their advertising to be able to reduce spend and to be able to think about a performance-driven platform to be able to do all of the advertising,” Laurano said.

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Data from Aptitude Research, which surveyed 426 TA and HR directors, finds that 90% of companies that use programmatic are either continuing to invest the same or increasing their investment this year. The majority (57%) of companies are increasing programmatic investment this year.

Related: Read more Spring HR Tech coverage here.

“Once companies start to use programmatic, they don’t go back,” she said.

Laurano said the main benefits of programmatic advertising are the ability to target and engage the right candidates, streamline job advertising, improve diversity, maximize ROI and provide flexibility. It also frees up time for HR professionals and recruiters for other vital tasks.

She pointed to Domino’s as an example of a company that recently shifted to programmatic models, with big returns. After the pizza chain started using the tech, it saw a 472% increase in applicant volume, a 533% decrease in cost per applicant, a 19% reduction in its monthly recruitment investment and a 15% increase in overall employees on the payroll.

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Aptitude’s survey found that most companies are still in various stages of programmatic advertising:

  • 30% of the TA and HR directors surveyed said they have a manual process for job advertising
  • 22% said they are just starting to use automation in job advertising
  • 32% said they have a hybrid model, with both manual and automation
  • 11% said they are moving to a fully programmatic model, and
  • 5% said they have a fully optimized programmatic model in place.

It’s important for companies to recognize which stage they are in and then evaluate where they want to be.

For employers that are considering the tech, Laurano recommends companies step back and “ask some questions, look at what you’re currently spending, what’s been effective, what’s been wasted, what your objectives are.”

Then they should start researching and exploring what automation and programmatic can look like for their organization.

“That can involve talking to other companies, doing research on your own organization–what hasn’t worked, what hasn’t been effective, what the appetite is for change, how risk-averse your organization is, what you might have to do to build a business case.

“Companies will see a result with this,” she said.

Click HERE for the full presentation from Laurano.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.