Advantages Of Online Ads For Recruitment

by Etienne Besson on 13 March 2012

in LinkedIn Tips,Recruitment

How can paid online ads be used for recruitment and what are the advantages?

Last week I presented my quick and informal survey showing that some Swiss recruiters are using paid ads for recruiting.

Today I’d like to describe the advantages of paid ads for recruitment, include a few examples and point to additional articles on the topic.


Paid ads allow you to select very precisely who will see your advertisement. Bill Boorman (@BillBoorman) likes to call this the sniper versus broadcast approach.

In his now classic social recruitment campaign for the opening of the new Hard Rock Cafe Restaurant in Firenze (Italy) they recruited 120 people in 4 weeks via Facebook.

Although the main activity happened on the fan page, it all started via targeted ads. Facebook allowed them to only show ads to people living near Florence, who liked rock music, had some hospitality experience and spoke fluent Italian. This way they only paid for ads shown to the around 1’900 people who fit the profile.

Smart Company in Australia wrote an interesting article praising the advantages of LinkedIn ads. They describe how you can target your ads by gender, job title, industry, location, etc. This is of course very interesting since LinkedIn has a lot of professional information about the people you might want to hire or do business with.

One of their examples is “female HR managers employed in companies with 51–200 employees based in Sydney”. Or you could target people working for your main competitor.


Hard Rock decided to keep their prospects on Facebook. Max Heywood (@mpheywood) describes how Accenture published ads on his Facebook profile. Upon clicking on the ad he was redirected to a website inviting him to connect with a recruiter on LinkedIn.

Unless you are recruiting for a specific position right now, redirecting to other resources can be a great idea. This could be your career page where potential future candidates don’t just see job ads, but can learn more about your company, products, employees and culture.

And even if somebody doesn’t apply for a job right now, this can have a positive long term effect on their perception of you as an employer (employer branding).

Do something with your leads

One thing is to get the prospects to click on your ads. But the next step is to actually do something with the people who showed interest.

As already mentioned, you can try to get them to apply for a job. But there are also many ways to build a relationship without “pulling the trigger” right away. It’s actually a basic sales process. Don’t push for the sale before the customer is ready. And this applies especially to passive or not-yet-active candidates.

This is one of the reasons why I like the Hard Rock approach that invited fans to either receive news about the upcoming restaurant or get information about jobs. Once the potential future customers and/or employees were “inside” the fan page, all of them could be presented with job opportunities.

More advantages

Additional advantages of paid ads are:

  • Relatively low production costs: this also allows you to create several variations of an ad.
  • Testing: you can run your different ads and see which ones work best.
  • Targeting: I already mentioned targeting, but you can go further and use variations of your job ads for different target groups (e.g. by age range, gender, location, etc.).
  • Budget control: instead of running ads for a full month, you can usually set a daily budget and adapt it depending on how your ads perform
  • Tracking and analytics: online ads provide you with lots of information.

Are Ads Becoming Too Creepy?

It’s no secret that Google, Facebook and LinkedIn know a lot about us. And of course they’re using it to make money. This is great when we are the ones publishing ads. But it can be a bit creepy when you realize that you are the target.

And this is why Google ads a “Why this ad?” mention in Gmail and on their search engine results pages.

And did you notice the LinkedIn ad I put at the top of this article? I remember how surprised I was when I first saw this kind of ad on LinkedIn. And frankly, my first thought was “What? I’m not working for this company! What if my boss sees this”? Luckily these ads are only visible to me.

What do you think? Are ads the future for recruitment and personalization is the way to go? Or has it already gone too far?

Recommended Articles

Bill Boorman about the Hard Rock Cafe Firenze recruiting campaign: 120 hires in 4 weeks via Facebook. This will certainly be one of the case studies he will mention at #TruGeneva.

Bill Boorman about paid ads for recruiting. He explains what worked best for his recruitment campaigns and explains how ads work on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Max Heywood describing how Accenture invited him via Facebook ads to connect with one of their recruiters.

Smart Company’s article explaining the power of LinkedIn ads.

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