Job Board Journalist: It’s a Matter of Choice

Peter Weddle

If you were old enough to have a driver’s license in the 1990s, you’ll remember the pundits of print saying the Internet was a fad – it would just fade away. Those of us who were on the other side of the digital divide shook our heads at their shortsightedness and leveraged it to create a new and more robust business model called the job board. Now, however, it is we – or at least some of us – who are in danger of misperceiving reality.

Programmatic ad buying is not a fad in talent acquisition. It will not fade away. And yet, many job boards still believe (or hope) that it will. They worry that it poses as big a disruption to their business as the arrival of the Internet was to print publications. There is some justification for that view, but only if the technology’s introduction is seen as a zero-sum game.

The problem, as I see it, isn’t the technology or the changes driving it among employers. Budget and head count pressures are pushing a growing number of advertisers to a performance-based advertising strategy in recruitment and the best way to implement that approach is with programmatic. It efficiently allocates an organization’s budget among both its open positions and the sites where they are advertised to ensure the optimum financial and recruitment outcomes are achieved.

While that’s definitely a good deal for advertisers, it also has an upside for job boards. It creates satisfied customers who feel as if their investment was well spent – increasing the probability of future sales – and it rewards the job boards that perform best in the delivery of candidates that employers want.

So, what then is the problem?

Getting the Right Preference

Job boards rightly worry about both the transition to and the ultimate impact of embracing programmatic ad buying. Will it cannibalize a traditional duration based job posting model and, no less a concern, force sites onto a less reliable financial base? Specifically:
• In the near term, will the lag time required to get a programmatic business up and running be so great that it fails to deliver enough revenue to cover the loss of sales from duration based ads?
• Over the long term, will the built-in budget constraints of performance-based advertising inevitably generate less revenue than the pay-up-front model of traditional duration based ads?

The fallacy in both those concerns is the assumption that one model precludes the other. Yes, more customers are moving toward a preference for performance-based advertising. However, the customer population is neither monolithic nor universal in its preferences. While more employers may want to use performance based ads, many – especially small and mid-sized organizations – will remain more comfortable with traditional duration-based job postings.

The macro customer preference, therefore, isn’t for one particular technology, but rather for choice. Employers want to be able to choose the recruitment advertising technology with which they are most comfortable, and the job board that offers them that flexibility will have a competitive advantage in the market.

As one employer on the Recruiting Managers Panel at the TAtech Spring Congress & Business Accelerator put it:

“Be straight with us. If you don’t have the right solution for our problem, say so. Don’t waste our time (and yours) trying to force fit our problem to your product or service.”

Substitute the word “preference” for the word “problem,” and it’s clear that the customer wants options, and offering both traditional and programmatic ad buying products gives it to them.

Food for thought,
Peter

P.S. To get the latest insights and information on programmatic applications and technology:
• Attend the mini Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying before RecTech2017 on May 17-19, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.
• Attend the TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying on May 31-June 1, 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA.

The Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle is brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Mark Your Calendars! TAtech’s 2017 events include:
• April 22-23, 2017 Chicago: The TAtech Spring Congress & Deal Center, with The Business Accelerator has now occurred. See you at next year’s Spring Congress in Las Vegas!
• May 17-19, 2017 Barcelona: RecTech, The TAtech Industry Congress in the EU in partnership with the AIM Group.
• May 31-June 1, 2017 Minneapolis: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying, featuring two tracks: Programmatic Ad Buying Applications & Programmatic Ad Buying Technology.
• September 27-29, 2017 Denver: The TAtech Fall Congress & Deal Center, with The World Job Board Forum and the 2017 ReSI Awards Gala.

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