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Programmatic Recruitment: Automated Applicant Sourcing Across the Web

Data-Driven Intelligence, Programmatic| Views: 1700

Reach the right candidate with the right ad at the right time

Technology is advancing. The advertising industry is no exception to this fact as it constantly evolves into a whole range of specialized services and technologies from a wide array of vendors.

LUMAscape - A snapshot of the digital advertising industry [source: http://bit.ly/1mu0Lzb]
LUMAscape – A snapshot of the digital advertising industry [source: http://bit.ly/1mu0Lzb]

This specialization brings efficiencies across many areas of the advertising process, including:

  • Advertisers reach more relevant audiences
  • Audiences see more relevant ads
  • Advertisers increase budget efficiency

In this current landscape, one technology, in particular, stands out in terms of efficiency and results: programmatic advertising.

In the field of HR advertising, this approach is known as programmatic recruitment and offers employers the ability to reach qualified applicants at scale.

While there’s a lot to explore in this area, this particular post will focus on:

  • How programmatic advertising generates optimized results through automation
  • How programmatic recruitment helps to source applicants across the web
  • The different ad formats used to reach active and passive job seekers

Programmatic Advertising: An Automated Way to Generate Results

Automation is at the heart of programmatic advertising.

Programmatic advertising helps automate the decision-making process of media buying by targeting specific audiences and demographics.

In essence this means that:

  • Algorithms perform all the bidding, automatically, using data aggregated from different sources (analytics, CRM, offline, third-parties, etc.)
  • Algorithms leverage data analytics to drive ad-buying decisions, which are strategically aligned with the advertiser’s goals
  • In the recruitment space, programmatic allows employers to target and reach the right candidates across different channels
  • The whole process takes place via real-time auctions with supply sources, where ad impressions are auctioned almost instantaneously (in the milliseconds’ range)

Just as automation is at the heart of programmatic, data is at the heart of automation. The Adobe Digital Marketing Blog outlines four data-driven, key features, and benefits of programmatic. Data allow advertisers to:

  1. Identify, build, increase, activate, and reach high-value audiences
  2. Optimize ad performance to meet objectives
  3. Deliver a customized, relevant creative experience to the audience, dynamically
  4. Automate ad buying across a wide array of inventory sources and channels

Of course, the benefits of data largely depend on their quality. A well implemented programmatic platform requires useful data in the first place to not only produce actionable insights but also effective results.

Programmatic Recruitment: Applicant Sourcing Across the Web

As a subset of the advertising industry, job ads have evolved too.

Employers strive to find suitable talent for their available positions, moving them quickly through the application funnel, from sourcing to hiring. The goal is to get them working as quickly as possible. Programmatic recruitment allows employers to automate job ad placement in real-time to target and reach the most relevant, active job seekers, thus improving overall applicant quality and optimizing the company’s application funnel.

This sourcing of candidates happens across several digital channels, or touchpoints, where job seekers spend their time and attention.

The infographic below depicts the day of a job seeker, illustrating the different touchpoints where interaction happens:

Perengo - Day of a Job Seeker [source: own infographic]
Perengo – Day of a Job Seeker [source: own infographic]

The day of a modern job seeker (e.g. retail worker with 9-5 schedule) might feature about 15 different context-driven touchpoints across digital channels.

For example, commuting is conducive to checking mobile apps, whereas meals and leisure times are ideal for browsing the web, watching a video, or consuming content in general.

For active job seekers, browsing for jobs is expected to happen several times during the day, and this activity, together with the several other interactions in the different channels and devices, represent opportunities for programmatic ads to reach the candidate at the right times, driving action in order to turn the job seeker into a potential applicant.

Programmatic Ad Formats: How To Reach Job Seekers

Programmatic recruitment helps employers to reach job seekers across different types of devices and channels.

Across Different Media

There are three main types of media or devices where programmatic advertising is used:


The ubiquity of smartphones makes it the main touchpoint with job seekers, as mobile devices provide the highest number of interactions to their users. At least 38% of daily media interactions of users happen on smartphones. And since they are “always around”, smartphones can be used simultaneously with other devices, increasing the opportunities to convey highly targeted messages.


With the prevalence of mobile phones in the daily interactions of job seekers with their different devices (the multi-screen behavior), desktop computers and tablets have been somewhat relegated to leisure time usage. However, their screens are still suitable for the highly focused optimization approach of programmatic, providing ample opportunities to reach potential candidates.


The TV platform remains a stronghold of ad spend, with a forecast worldwide market size of $233 billion by 2019. TV is a relative newcomer to the programmatic ad space but is growing steadily and expected to be a market of at least $17.3 billion by 2019. What this means is that programmatic TV is becoming an excellent opportunity to reach audiences across households as television and digital video converge, offering yet other touchpoints for job seekers in their idle times.

Across Different Channels

The following are a few examples of ads as displayed on the different available channels:

Online Job Posting

The traditional online job posting is mainly used on job boards across the Web.

Sponsored job posting [source: http://bit.ly/1RaOFqR]
Sponsored job posting [source: http://bit.ly/1RaOFqR]

Online Display Ads

Online display ads are available in several formats and can be highly targeted.

Display job ads can reach passive and active job seekers [source: http://bit.ly/2oV76ep]
Display job ads can reach passive and active job seekers [source: http://bit.ly/2oV76ep]

Email Job Alerts

Job boards offer the ability to notify their job seekers via email when new positions are available.

Email job alerts reach active job seekers with targeted keywords [source: http://bit.ly/2pFvcZQ]
Email job alerts reach active job seekers with targeted keywords [source: http://bit.ly/2pFvcZQ]

Text Job Ads

SMS ads leverage the “always around” nature of mobile to push ads everywhere users are.

Text messages can complement the communication with an applicant [source: http://bit.ly/2pyWcKA]
Text messages can complement the communication with an applicant [source: http://bit.ly/2pyWcKA]

Messenger Job Ads

Brands are starting to use messaging apps to promote their job openings in real time.

Messaging platforms allow for direct communication with applicants [source: http://tcrn.ch/2liMjPu]
Messaging platforms allow for direct communication with applicants [source: http://tcrn.ch/2liMjPu]

Programmatic Audio

As podcasts, digital radio, and streaming services grow, audio ads turn programmatic.

Programmatic audio ads are particularly well suited to target commuting job seekers [source: http://bit.ly/2e4nMIm]
Programmatic audio ads are particularly well suited to target commuting job seekers [source: http://bit.ly/2e4nMIm]

Programmatic Video

Streaming video services and other formats let programmatic video ads reach audiences in real time.

Programmatic video allows for rich advertising formats [source: http://bit.ly/1KxC0IP]
Programmatic video allows for rich advertising formats [source: http://bit.ly/1KxC0IP]

Bottomline: Programmatic Recruitment Reaches Qualified Applicants at Scale

Programmatic advertising is both an efficient and effective way to target and activate high-value audiences. Programmatic recruitment transfers this efficiency to the job ads space, bringing in benefits such as:

  • Higher Volume: the automation features inherent to programmatic allow employers to reach a larger, highly targeted audience of active and passive job seekers across a comprehensive set of devices and channels
  • Better Price: programmatic lets companies improve their recruitment budgets by optimizing ad spend, achieving a better ROI
  • Improved Quality: programmatic recruitment platforms provide data analytics capabilities that help the decision making processes of employers, optimizing traffic mix and improving overall applicant quality

Selecting the right programmatic recruitment platform is crucial for employers to gain the ability to reach the best candidates at all the right places and times.

About Spencer Parra

Spencer Parra is the VP of Product Management for advertising and data products at Radancy. In that capacity, Spencer and his team of product managers, program managers, data scientists, and data analysts work to develop products in a data driven mindset. As the leader of Advertising products, he works to bring a holistic full funnel approach to Radancy’s advertising technology stack with Programmatic Jobs at its foundation. Through data products, he tells the story of media performance via Radancy’s Metrics Gateway and helps ensure data is democratized through Radancy’s unified platform. Spencer came to Radancy from the Perengo acquisition in mid 2019 where he served as Lead Product Manager and a member of the founding team. With Perengo, he worked towards the vision of leveraging the same rigor and concepts from ecommerce advertising technology to the recruitment advertising space. Prior to Perengo, Spencer launched and supported in-app advertising products at Criteo as a solutions engineer. Spencer holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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