Programmatic vs. Traditional Job Advertising

As HR departments work to maximize their recruiting and staffing resources during this challenging time, few options have started to take hold in the industry like programmatic job advertising. The idea of automating so much of the job advertising process is appealing for many organizations, but getting buy-in for that kind of investment can be challenging. However, if your organization is looking to improve your job advertising, weighing the benefits of programmatic vs. traditional job advertising can help.

What Is Programmatic Job Advertising, Exactly?

Before comparing programmatic vs. traditional job advertising, it’s important to understand what programmatic means. Programmatic tools use artificial intelligence and predictive metrics to make real-time decisions about how and where your jobs are advertised and collect data about effectiveness, engagement, and other crucial benchmarks. It’s not a new technology per se—programmatic tools for recruiting have been around for ten years or more at this point. Early tools were able to blast job advertisements everywhere. The difference is that the new-era tools are able to do this in a more nuanced, intuitive way, allowing for intelligent adaptation in order to maximize the ROI.

Traditional job advertising involves a lot of human touchpoints, whether it’s negotiating rates, finding sites to place ads, making decisions about where to post, or finalizing decisions. Therefore, when looking at programmatic vs. traditional tools, the former helps by removing touchpoints and making the process more efficient.

What About The “Human” Part Of Human Resources?

A hesitation for many organizations when it comes to programmatic vs. traditional job advertising is the idea of handing over the reins to the robots and removing the kind of judgment and expertise held by staff members and experienced recruiters. In reality, this glosses over one of the stickiest aspects of traditional job advertising: the ruts of getting the same results from the same places, using the same staff.

Traditional job advertising relies on consistency. Given that only about 20% of HR departments have a dedicated job advertising person, this means that busy staff resources are tasked with balancing job advertising with a host of other recruitment and hiring obligations. And quite frankly, that means the process is subject to human error—we take more time than we need to sometimes or we make mistakes. 

Programmatic job advertising streamlines that process; the humans set the campaign goals and the AI software takes over from there. The human expertise element is still there—reviewing data and metrics and making decisions about changes to the advertising all still apply. It’s about having your most precious human resources operate more efficiently.

Programmatic vs. Traditional: Which Maximizes Ad Spend?

In the traditional job advertising model, one company contacts another to negotiate rates, which are often locked in for a set contract period. The burden of buying and selling ads is entirely on recruiters, who are often juggling many different duties. Programmatic advertising cuts out much of the negotiation process, using a real-time bidding model based on demand rather than a person’s estimates. Recruiting teams are doing less hands-on work, while still being able to make data-driven decisions about how the advertising spend is actively faring.

According to HR guru Tim Sackett, many companies are simply spending too much time trying to game out the best sites for their bucks and getting into long-term contracts that may not be the most efficient. “At the end of the day ‘advertising’ is about the best results for the lowest cost,” he said in a recent blog post.

Programmatic vs. Traditional: Which Provides The Most Transparency?

In the traditional job advertising world, so much of the process involves making an educated guess and crossing your fingers that these channels will turn up the candidates you need. Organizations can outsource traditional job advertising agencies and aggregators instead of using an in-house AI tool, but that often leads to less say in where ads are being placed and less insight into how different channels are performing. 

Programmatic job advertising makes the process more transparent, offering dashboard reporting that shows results and provides insights into how various channels can be leveraged for more candidates, more views, etc. Recruiters are better able to target ads and see in real-time how well that targeting is doing.

When it comes to programmatic vs. traditional job advertising, the ability to make micro-adjustments and evaluate constant data are among the major reasons that programmatic tools are starting to make headway in the HR world. HR has been quick to embrace the role of data in making smarter, more efficient hiring decisions, and hiring tools like these are the next generation. Traditional methods will get you traditional results, but those who are looking to diversify and streamline their recruiting will likely find that programmatic helps them meet more high-reaching goals.

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