Job Board Journalist: Employers & Job Boards – 2 Ships Passing in the Night

Peter Weddle

The following post is based on a presentation at TAtechEurope by Terry Baker, President of PandoLogic. It details the preliminary findings of the 2018 TAtech-PandoLogic Global Recruitment Advertising Survey. And for all you procrastinators out there, you can still participate in the survey! Submit your responses by Friday, March 30th and you’ll receive a full copy of the Final Report.

One of the key aspects that makes this Survey unique is that it acquires responses from both Solution Providers (job boards, social media sites, digital media companies and other publishers) AND Employers. This 360 degree perspective supports a comparative analysis of the two groups’ views of each other’s recruitment advertising strategies, practices and performance.

That comparison, in turn, provides a barometer on the health of the online recruitment advertising market. The more closely the groups’ views are aligned, the larger and more robust the market will be. And there’s the rub. Preliminary results from the survey indicate that there is a significant disconnect between Providers and Employers in many aspects of recruitment advertising.

The Survey covered four specific areas:
• Ad Performance
• Advertising Products
• Product Pricing
• Programmatic ad buying.

Ad Performance

When Employers were asked, What is the primary performance metric you use to evaluate the job ads you post?, seven-out-of-ten of the respondents said Number of Applicants. Quality of Applicants was a distant second with a nod from just 20 percent of the respondents. This figure is, by most accounts, unusually high, but whether it’s simply the reflection of a tight labor market or that the anonymity of the survey frees Employers to be more honest about what really drives their purchasing decisions is unclear.

Providers, on the other hand, seemed to have bought into the recent focus on Candidate Quality at many HR blogs and recruiting conferences. When they were asked, What is the primary metric employers use to evaluate the performance of the ads they post on your site?, exactly half of the respondents said Number of Applicants while the other half said Quality of Applicants. To put it another way, Solution Providers were more than twice as bullish on Quality as the Employers that were their customers.

Just as disturbing, an astonishing 15 percent of the Provider respondents actually said they weren’t sure what metric Employers use. Which begs the question, if they don’t know what their customers want from their products, how can they build a successful business?

The survey then turned to questions about the ad application process, and responses in this area also drew very different results from Providers and Employers, but with a twist.

When Employers were asked, Do you monitor the drop off rate of applicants to your ads on your corporate site (i.e., the number of job seekers who begin but do not complete an application)?, 50 percent of the respondents said Yes and 50 percent said No.

However, when Providers were asked, For job postings on your site, do you measure the drop off rate of applicants (i.e., the number of job seekers who begin but do not complete an application)?, a whopping two-thirds of the respondents said No. In addition, when asked, What is the average conversion rate from job view to completed application per job posting?, better than four-in-ten (45 percent) replied Not Sure. Now, to be fair, it’s possible of course that off-site applications could make monitoring job seeker behavior difficult. Nevertheless, it would seem prudent for Providers to find work-arounds, if only to protect themselves from ATS data which show they deliver far fewer applicants than they actually do.

Historically, job boards have complained about two principal reasons why they are not seen as better sources of new hires: lousy recruiter ads and the complexity of Employer and ATS application forms. In citing the latter, they argue that they deliver the beef – they provide a flow of interested employment prospects – but they don’t get credit for it because those prospects can’t stand the application process and drop off.

The best way to correct that situation is for job boards to push up that Yes response from Employers that do monitor applicant drop off rates so more of them will see that interested prospects are being lost during their application process. And the single best strategy for effecting that change is to model such activity on their own sites.

Food for thought,

P.S. I’ll be covering the other three areas of the Survey in subsequent Job Board Journalist posts. In the interim, take the Survey yourself and encourage your customers to do so, as well. The insights you and they gain will more than make up for the 20 minutes it takes to answer the questions.

TAprose and Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle are brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Mark Your Calendars! TAtech’s 2018 events include:

• February 12-13, 2018 Scottsdale, Arizona USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on AI/Machine Learning in Talent Acquisition – the only conference totally focused on the capabilities and impact of AI/ML/NLP in recruitment. See you next year!

• March 13-14, 2018 Dublin, Ireland: TAtechEurope 2018 – the premier event for recruitment advertising and technology thought & business leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. See you next year!

• April 18-19, 2018 Las Vegas, Nevada USA: The TAtech Spring Congress & Meetup – a unique conference designed to maximize opportunities for B2B networking, trending topic discussions and the exploration of partnerships and business opportunities.

• June 5-6, 2018 Minneapolis, Minnesota USA: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying – the only conference totally focused on the technology and applications of programmatic ad buying by both publishers and advertisers.

• September 26-27, 2018 Bourbon Street New Orleans, Louisiana USA: The TAtech Fall Congress & World Job Board Forum – the Global Economic Forum of recruiting, this event brings together thought & business leaders from job boards and all other talent acquisition technology solutions companies.

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