One Thing You’re Doing Wrong in Managing Your Job Board Budget

One Thing You’re Doing Wrong in Managing Your Job Board Budget

Too many unfilled jobs. Not enough candidates. Increasing costs on the job boards.

Putting more money at the problem MUST be the answer.


We are seeing too many companies combating this problem with this solution. Their jobs-to-budget ratio isn’t correct. Increasing the budget side of that equation is actually making the problem worse! How do we know that? The data does not lie!

In the first three months of managing job spend for our clients, our recruitment marketing team is seeing a 17% decrease in cost per click. When that duration extends to six months, it is a 33% decrease in cost per click.

So, what are companies doing wrong?

More Money, Same Problems!

Let’s work on a math problem:

  • Your company is spending $2,000 on 10 material handler or warehouse jobs in one city. Right now, you are paying $10/application. That’s 200 applications for the month.
  • You increase the budget to $3,000 for the same 10 material handler jobs. Why? Your theory revolves around putting more money into a job, so it’s properly funded… but what happened?
  • You only received 250 applications in the next month, and it now costs $12/application.

Why did that happen? Why did you increase your budget by 50% and applications only went up by 25 percent? It’s supply and demand!

In your local market, there are a finite number of jobseekers looking for material handler jobs. Increasing the budget by 50% does not guarantee you will reach 50% more jobseekers. In fact, the data above showed a perfect example of overpaying for candidates.

More budget with the same amount of jobs doesn’t mean more applications. In fact, the opposite is usually true, despite what you hear from the job boards.

What can you do?

Same Money, More Jobs!

That’s right. You read it correctly. Keep the budget the same and sponsor MORE jobs. Why? Here’s an analogy to walk through:

Picture a fishing boat and fishing poles in a pond. If we have 1 or 2 fishing poles in the water, we are only going to catch 1 or 2 fish at a time. If we have 5 or 10 lines in the water, we increase our chances at catching more fish.

How does that apply to candidate recruitment?

Jump back up to our example above. We are searching for material handlers in your market. We only have a couple of lines in the water. We need to get more lines and possibly get more lines in multiple ponds.

Let’s start with job title expansions. Instead of just title your job “material hander” it’s important to try variations of the job title that your candidates are searching.

  • Material Handler – Warehouse (why the – warehouse? The top search term by candidates who clicked on material handler jobs was just one word. You got it – warehouse.)
  • Warehouse Associate (the third-most common search term for material handler jobs)

Now, we have three titles to try – material handler (our original title), material handler – warehouse, and warehouse associate. Instead of having just one line in the water, we are now up to three lines in the water.

Let’s give our team of recruiters more chances at getting candidates and consider geographic expansions.

Your job has a base city listed – that’s the job on the posting on your career portal. To implement geographic expansions, you have one of two options:

  • Manually post jobs in different cities. (yuck!)
  • Use automation to post jobs in different cities. (much better!)

Our base city could be Buffalo, N.Y. If we used different suburbs of the city, we could also post the job in Amherst, Niagara Falls, Orchard Park. That gives us four total cities to reach jobseekers.

Why would we want more locations? It’s easier to reach a jobseeker that types in “material handler Niagara Falls” if your job is actually listed as Niagara Falls, and you aren’t relying on the algorithm to match a job in Buffalo with a candidate search in Niagara Falls.

These two tactics give us more lines in the water. Let’s see how many more:

  • Title expansions – 3 titles and 1 city for 3 jobs
  • Geographic expansions – 1 title and 4 cities for 4 jobs
  • Title AND geographic expansions – 3 titles and 4 cities for 12 jobs

Going back to our original $2,000 budget for 10 jobs, we could increase that to 120 jobs and use the same budget. Why the same budget? Aren’t we splitting the pie into pieces that are too small?

Nope – here’s why!

Does It Really Work?

We have two different case studies that say YES!

The first case study revolves around a startup health care company. With an initial budget of $5,000, they were seeing great results, so they wanted to be aggressive and increase the budget. Their first month with a new budget saw the exact problems we mentioned at the top of this article – more budget, same amount of jobs, higher cost per application. Not good!

We implemented title expansions and geographic expansions, which led to awesome results!

Dates Avg. Job Count Monthly Applications Cost Per Application Monthly Budget
August 88 165 $30.58 $5,000
September 100 146 $45.97 $6,711
October 174 307 $22.75 $6,985
November 244 509 $13.99 $7,120
December 350 1012 $7.27 $7,354

Increase the jobs side AND the budget side of the jobs-to-budget ratio brought the results this healthcare company wanted to see.

Our second case study focuses on an industrial staffing company in Wisconsin. This company started with a $2,000 budget in its first month and didn’t see great results. We recommended NOT increasing the budget and just increasing the JOBS side of the jobs-to-budget ratio.

Dates Avg. Job Count Monthly Applications Cost Per Application Monthly Budget
October 43 93 $21.51 $1,966
November 117 217 $8.86 $1,922
December 224 298 $6.60 $2,000

A combination of more jobs and the same budget proved to be the correct formula for this company to see its applications increase by more than 200 percent!

What Can Your Company Do?

Here’s a gameplan for evaluating your jobs-to-budget ratio and which metrics to analyze:

  • Cost Per Click: Let’s start here because if you increase budget and the cost per click just increases, that means you are overpaying for the same candidates. We don’t want that!
  • Cost Per Application: If you increase budget, is your cost per application increasing (bad!), staying the same (OK!), or decreasing (the best!)?

It’s important to have metrics and to measure them when trying different tactics. If it’s implementing more job titles or implementing geographic expansions, we must know what data to analyze to determine if our adjustments are working.

The recruitment marketing team at Haley Marketing is ready to help you find that balance and formula. Contact our team today or head over to www.recruitmentmarketers.com to learn how we can help!

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