How to use PPC advertising to attract top talent in any industry


Economic uncertainty and evolving employee preferences have transformed hiring dynamics. This makes recruiting top talent challenging for businesses and even agency partners supporting these efforts. 

While skilled recruiters excel in traditional hiring methods, digital marketers can also contribute to ensuring the recruitment process’s efficiency and effectiveness.

PPC advertising can be hugely impactful for attracting and recruiting talent across any industry. In this article, we’ll discuss PPC strategies and tactics you can try to support your talent acquisition efforts. 

Make sure you’re there before you need to be

Potential candidates often casually browse rather than actively search for a new job.

Traditional job postings are effective at attracting those actively seeking opportunities. However, they often don’t communicate why joining your team would be a compelling career move.

You can capture that passive audience using paid ads by including broader, awareness-based coverage focusing on branding your company as a potential employer. 

This strategy could encompass a variety of ad types targeted toward your preferred geography, relevant audiences (industries, interests) and keywords. It should showcase information about the company and what it’s like to work there. 

Consider what you care about as an employee when developing this kind of paid ad coverage. Is it the benefits? Growth opportunity? Work arrangement?

Whatever it may be, ensure you include it front and center in your targeting, ad copy, and graphics. 

Stay front and center

Gaining awareness is essential, but it will be for naught if people don’t remember you when it counts. 

Once you’ve broadened your coverage to meet the passive market, you also want to remain top of mind when a potential candidate moves into the “actively seeking” mindset. This is possible with retargeting. 

You’ll want to capture users as they gain initial awareness by browsing the website or engaging with your ads, then create audiences based on these actions. 

When the audience list is large enough, you can target them across various ad types and platforms. Your messaging should feature more specifics on open positions, the company values/culture, and why someone would want to join the team. 

Maintaining a consistent and customized retargeting strategy keeps you relevant and highlights desired qualities as potential applicants transition from passive browsing to active job seeking. 


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Work smarter, not harder 

When it comes to recruiting, PPC advertising enables us to “work smarter” in a couple of ways.

Use the targeting options you know to qualify candidates

Keywords, audiences, career demographics and geographical targeting are useful to ensure that you’re showing the “We’re Hiring” message to a prequalified group of potential candidates.

This will ideally increase the quality of candidates and decrease the quantity of less desirable applications that the recruiting team has to sort through. 

For example, consider targeting by:

  • Job and company industry, seniority, and company size on LinkedIn.
  • Job title, employer, or interest on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Keywords and in-market audiences on Google Ads.

Adjust your strategy as needed

Dig deeper into what is and is not working and adjust strategy using robust analytics and reporting for your paid ad campaigns. 

Through a combination of platform and analytics tool data, you can paint a fairly clear picture of your potential applicant’s journey. 

With this information, the recruiting teams can improve the hiring process by removing friction points and quickly giving candidates what they’re looking for. 

This can help increase the efficiency of the recruiting process as a whole, not just improve the experience for your potential employees. 

Test tactics and platforms to see what works for you

The ability to test different strategies and tactics in an agile way is at the core of what makes PPC advertising so impactful. 

There is a seemingly endless list of ad platforms to choose from these days, each with its own pros and cons, so it’s crucial to strategically test different ones to find what works best for you. 

Here are some platforms to consider and their main advantages and disadvantages. (Remember to conduct your own research to find the best starting point for your needs.)

Google Ads

  • Pros
    • Keyword targeting and audience targeting, particularly in-market audiences, can be great for honing in on active job seekers. 
  • Cons:
    • The audience targeting here can be too broad sometimes, meaning you may experience lower efficiency. 

Microsoft Ads

  • Pros
    • Has all the same benefits as Google Ads, plus the ability to get even more specific with a handful of LinkedIn-based targeting options like company, industry, and job function. 
    • These additional layers can help you more efficiently allocate recruiting resources. 
  • Cons
    • There is a smaller audience on Microsoft Ads than on other channels, which may make this channel less attractive than others. 

Paid social

LinkedIn Ads 

  • Pros
    • Has the most robust career-related targeting options out of all ad platforms, including job title, job function, company, company industry, company size, seniority, past employers, etc. 
    • There are also ad formats available specifically geared towards promoting job postings and the ability to boost already posted job listings to the LinkedIn Jobs section. 
  • Cons
    • Volume is typically a bit lower on this platform due to the high level of specificity in targeting, and costs can skew higher than other platforms. 

Facebook or Instagram Ads 

  • Pros
    • This is where people spend the majority of their time online, making the potential available audience very large. 
    • Targeting options include highly relevant categories like job title and employer that are based, in part, on self-reported profile information. 
  • Cons
    • It can be difficult to get highly specific on this platform due to the nature of how the audiences work.
    • You may capture users who are less desirable than you would on other platforms. 

Display

Programmatic advertising 

  • Pros
    • There is the opportunity for robust targeting across first-party, third-party, keyword and contextual theme audiences via programmatic platforms like The Trade Desk, StackAdapt, etc. 
    • You can hone in even further by selecting individual websites to show ads on via domain or private marketplace placements, where you can select only specific sites to show ads on. 
    • For example, if you’re trying to recruit for a healthcare business, you can target only a list of industry-specific job board websites, providing a hyper-specific audience. 
    • This type of targeting can increase the number and quality of applicants and is often more cost-effective than other platforms.
  • Cons:
    • Programmatic ads are mainly display-based, so you must ensure that you have the resources to create high-quality, impactful graphics. 

Using PPC to attract and recruit top talent

Attracting and recruiting highly qualified talent can be challenging. 

By diversifying your company’s efforts to include PPC advertising, you can expand your reach and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire process. 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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