How your job board advertising strategy should change in a post-Covid world

There’s no denying it: Covid-19 is drastically impacting the jobs market. Early indicators for July suggest that employment could be down by as much as 730,000, the largest quarterly decrease since the 2009 recession. Redundancies have already reached 134,000 – a seven-year high – and are likely to multiply when the furlough scheme comes to an end in October. At the same time, job creation remains sluggish, with WaveTrackR data indicating a successive 3-week decline in August. 

This has born a situation in which there are not enough jobs for the huge number of candidates in the pool. So how does this change your job board advertising strategy? With far fewer jobs on the market and no certainty when that will change, does the old system of being locked into a 12-month contract with a fixed number of credits work anymore? Will pay-per-click models work better in a post-Covid world? We investigate how the new landscape of job board advertising might look.

A reduction in job board contracts

WaveTrackR data from the third week in August has shown that job posting is only 16% above the dire figures we were seeing during the months of lockdown. As a recruiter you likely have less jobs to advertise right now and no-one can be sure when the situation might improve. As a result, you probably don’t need as many job board contracts as you did previously, enabling you to also reduce your annual spend, an important consideration in any time but especially so during a recession. 

A shift in strategy from quantity to quality is needed right now. Use your tech or a consultant to accurately work out which job boards bring you the most hires based on quantifiable data and stick with one or two of them. With such an influx of candidate traffic, you shouldn’t need to spread your advertising – as long as you are posting on the right board for the job you should receive a decent number of quality applications. With the stories of recruiters receiving literally thousands of applications for a single job, limiting exposure is actually wise (who’d have thought we’d be saying that six months ago?!).

A rethink in performance strategy

Traditional job board advertising models tie recruiters into 12-month contracts but when we can’t see where we might be a month into the future, that model might simply not be feasible right now. Typically you would base what you buy on results from the previous year but the results clearly won’t be the same over the next 12 months so that is not a workable option. Now may be the time for performance-based advertising to shine.   

A catalyst for performance-based advertising?

A call to move to performance-based advertising has been brewing for a while so perhaps Covid has simply pressed the fast forward button on it but it is certainly gathering momentum now. A pay-as-you-go model makes sense in many ways for these uncertain times. It means not being tied into 12 month contracts and being able to slow down and ramp up advertising as and when it is needed.

What is essential to remember about this system is the need to track results. Like a marketing campaign, you have to stay on top of it to monitor whether it’s working for you and to ensure your costs don’t spiral. Tracking performance and adjusting cost-per-click or budgets until you reach the right influx of candidates is vital. How to do that? Job boards will sometimes help with this but you need the right tech to analyse results yourself. 

Performance-Based advertising models

Within the performance advertising sphere, there are different models, the most widespread (used by aggregators like Indeed and social media) being pay-per-click (PPC) but some job boards are offering pay-per-application (PPA). Pay-per-placement (PPP) is an option offered by some job boards in the US and a limited number of innovative tech platforms that offer an online recruitment service but that could be something we see more of here. 

With PPC, you pay every time your job advert is clicked on. As a ‘sponsored’ ad it will be displayed prominently and won’t plummet down the rankings with time as with pay per job advertising. The downside is that you will pay for every single click, whether the jobseeker even reads the advert or not. With PPA you will only pay for each for application garnered from that job advert and with PPP – a rarely available option as it is a risk for the job boards and involves a high level of trust – you only pay once you have made a successful hire. Obviously the amount you pay increases with each level of risk for the job board.   

Work out what is right for your business

Right now is the time for exploring options and not simply sticking with what you’ve been doing for the past few years. Change is happening, the world has been turned upside down, and we all must evolve with it to make it through this recession and thrive on the other side. It may be that PPC won’t work for you or maybe not as your sole advertising strategy. Perhaps creating an ecosystem with job boards that you can rely on to produce results and injections of performance advertising when you need it is the solution. Whatever you decide, make sure it is right for your business at this time and monitor results so that you know what to do going forwards into this very different landscape.

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