By ZoomInsights staff

A surprising number of companies seem to be in the dark about their recruitment advertising budgets. According to Jason Whitman, vice president of client services at Indeed, “Employers spend billions of dollars every year on online recruitment advertising, but many of them don’t know what they are getting in return for their investments because they don’t have the right data.”

Many employers rely on input from applicants to determine where their applicants and hires come from. “Job seekers are presented with a drop-down menu during the online application process that asks them to indicate how they found out about the job,” Whitman told ZoomInsights. “These drop-down menus often have hundreds of choices to select from and, in many cases, there are options listed that are no longer valid, or worse – the correct choice isn’t even listed.” The result is invalid data that keeps you from properly evaluating which sources are delivering candidates and hires.

Whitman has created simple, easy-to-follow advice for companies that want to stay on top of their recruitment investments. He calls these the “Four A’s of recruitment advertising.”


This step is as simple as it sounds. All you have to do is make it someone’s job to track your recruitment advertising.


“The best way to acquire accurate source data is behind the scenes, without the job seeker choosing from menus,” said Whitman. Many of the popular applicant tracking systems (ATS) support automated candidate source tracking in their “off-the-shelf” configurations, which makes implementation easy. These systems add a piece of information to the end of the job URL that records the source from which candidates apply, without burdening job seekers with drop-down menus.


In order to understand your ROI, you need to know what your cost-per-hire and cost-per-applicant are. Knowing what those numbers should be, however, can be a bit more complicated. “This depends on a lot of factors – such as how niche and/or hard-to-find the position is, the location, qualifications, etc.,” said Whitman. “Measuring the cost and regularly analyzing the results will help you determine how to best distribute your recruiting budget.” The cost per applicant (CPA) can be measured by total outside media cost divided by the total number of applicants, and the cost per hire (CPH) can be calculated by total outside media cost divided by the total number of hires.


Once you have all the numbers you need, it’s time to make the logical adjustments. Start allocating your funds according to which of your investments are giving you the best returns.

The challenges of automation

For some companies, some of these steps might prove more challenging than others – especially the “automate” portion of the process. For others, it might just be a matter of getting to know what tools are at their disposal. “Employers often aren’t aware of the tracking capabilities that their ATS or career site vendor provides, so be sure to ask them,” Whitman said.

“If your company doesn’t have an ATS, these same automation steps can be applied to your career site – and sometimes it’s actually easier!” Whitman said. Ask your IT team or the company that built your career site how you can implement automated tracking.

By following these simple steps, your company can get a better handle on its recruitment investments, ultimately resulting in more efficient hiring – and better employees equal better business.

You can also improve the efficiency of passive recruiting with ZoomInfo Pro’s detailed profiles of 65 million businesspeople and 6 million businesses. Learn more.

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