Programmatic recruitment is an important trend in sourcing new staff for companies large and small. It can speed up the hiring process, reduce your cost per qualified candidate, and improve employee retention in the long run by utilizing complex algorithms to determine who is searching for work and how to get the best people.
However, many people still don’t understand exactly what programmatic job recruitment actually is. Fortunately, we’re here to help you get a better grasp of what programmatic does that is different from traditional sourcing and how it can benefit your company.
What Programmatic Recruitment Isn’t
First, let’s take a moment to understand what doesn’t qualify as real programmatic recruitment. There are a number of products that claim to provide a programmatic solution, but aren’t actually taking advantage of what the technology can provide to customers.
Programmatic isn’t just job posting. Far too many companies will claim that they are using automated systems to assist in recruiting, when what they really have is a simple form of job distribution. The computer saves them time by posting their job to a number of different boards and channels all at once, but doesn’t have any specific strategy behind why they post there or what they hope to accomplish.
A metaphor that we like to use here is of a ball and a yo-yo. Most services are like throwing a ball when it comes to recruiting. They toss it out and hope that a qualified candidate “brings it back,” but there is no control in the throw or any real information on what happened.
True programmatic recruiting platforms like Talentify are more like a yo-yo. You throw it out, it goes as far as you want it to, then it comes back with valuable data that you can use to make the next throw even better. In the context of the metaphor, the yo-yo string represents goals you might set (e.g. 10 qualified leads for a certain price), and when it returns, it can tell you which hiring channels are the most effective and focus your budget on those to meet those goals.
AI and Machine Learning
The key to proper programmatic job recruitment is data. Much like people, computers learn by trying things and figuring out the results, then trying something else to improve next time.
Think of a person learning to play guitar. At first they don’t even know how to hold it, but eventually they watch a video to figure out which leg to rest it on while they’re sitting. Then they learn how to hold their hand and press in on the strings. Over time they practice more, figure out what movements work and what movements don’t work. Eventually, they can play guitar pretty easily.
Machine learning is much the same. Only, because we’ve already done a lot of that learning already, a programmatic recruiting platform like Talentify already knows how to “play guitar.” So all it has to do is “learn your favorite song,” which is to say gather data on the types of job you’re hiring for in your area at that moment and make the necessary changes to get the best candidates for the lowest price.
The biggest advantage to this type of machine learning is that every interaction is valuable. Even when a candidate is not a great fit for a particular position, knowing that and knowing why allows the AI to make adjustments accounting for those reasons to get better replies next time.
This also plays into the concept above that some “programmatic” solutions are really job distribution models. Frequently, you as the user have to input all of the data and the instructions on what to do with it, which hardly seems like efficient automation. If anything, it would take even more time in some cases than just keeping an Excel sheet handy.
What makes platforms like Talentify different is that it collects the data automatically and makes those adjustments for you. The object is to free up your time and the time of your recruiting staff to focus on more important tasks like determining what positions need to be filled, doing interviews, and learning more about candidates.
Now that we’ve collected all of that data, we can use it again and again for your business. Going back to the learning guitar analogy, now that the machine can play guitar and play your favorite song, it can learn other songs in the genre a lot more easily. Once you understand the structure of a Blues progression, it’s easier to learn any Blues song. And even start to improvise.
Predictive analysis in programmatic recruiting involves taking the data that we’ve gathered and making it actionable. This means being able to predict future job needs, budgets, timelines, etc. to an astonishing degree of difficulty.
At Talentify we believe that you shouldn’t rely on averages when you can get exact numbers. We’ve seen companies hiring for a position and get a $5 cost per qualified candidate, then hire for the exact same position an hour away and have a $50 cost per qualified candidate. Trying to plan around national, regional, or even state averages is a recipe for disaster.
With access to detailed data, however, a good programmatic recruitment platform will be able to calculate exactly what you should expect to pay for a particular position where you are.
Similarly, predictive analysis can help you determine when is the best time to advertise for a job, both in terms of during the day and during the year. It can give you a better idea of where you should be putting your budget and how to get the most out of it.
Predictive analysis gives you the information you need to make smart choices specifically for your business.
A programmatic recruitment solution isn’t much help to you if you spend more time running it than you would if it weren’t there at all. That’s why it's so important that your system have robust automation tools.
There are a number of processes that can be effectively automated in the candidate sourcing procedure, not least being the monitoring of multiple candidate channels. This is one of the largest time sinks for companies, taking up a huge amount of time trying to ensure that both free and paid media are being used effectively. Done manually, it can take hours just to check the data from each of these sources, not to mention analyze it.
Programmatic recruitment takes care of that for you. Not only does it check all of those channels, it also collates that data and presents it in a way that you can use.
Similarly, a high quality programmatic recruitment system like Talentify can automate the employee pre-screening process by generating questionnaires based on your job descriptions (which it helped you write effectively) and make sure that the people who put in applications meet the criteria. Further, it can take that questionnaire data and use it to refine its search parameters going forward.
Benefits on Both Sides of the Hiring Process
There are a number of ways that a programmatic recruiting system can benefit both candidate and employer.
First of all, it would be irresponsible not to mention Talentify’s mobile-first sourcing features. One of the ways we stand out from other recruitment platforms is that our system is designed to make it easier for people to find and apply for jobs on their mobile devices.
Most people use their phones as primary Internet access. In fact, by 2025, it’s predicted that 72.6% of users will only use their smartphones to access the Internet. That being the case, why wouldn’t you want to use a system that makes it easier for job seekers to connect with you on the devices they’re already using?
Similarly, technology like our text to apply system make it easier to bring offline advertisements into an online environment. How much easier would advertising for a job be if you could tell people to apply by texting “Jobs” to a unique number and have them get a list of positions in a certain radius from them? Or let them start the application process by texting certain key information and having it populate in your ATS?
Programmatic job recruitment also has the advantage of making it easier to rediscover past candidates. How many jobs have you been rejected from and told that they would “keep your resume on file”? How many have ever contacted you again? It’s incredibly labor intensive to keep a slush pile of resumes in case a job comes up that might be a better fit for a particular person. That is, unless you are using a platform that can keep track of past applicants and help you re-engage them if something opens up that they would be suited for.
Moreover, it also allows recruitment and HR professionals to spend their time innovating and planning strategy rather than sourcing new hires. Whether it’s finding ways to maintain engagement with current employees or determining ways to make human resources more efficient, there are better things your staff could be doing and an AI driven system can help with that.
Avoiding Additional Costs
Yet another benefit to programmatic job recruiting is that it can help you avoid potentially costly issues moving forward.
As mentioned above, it can connect you with highly quality candidates. But what does that mean?
Well, for starters, it means finding people who are not only a good fit for the position and your company, but also are excited to be working for you. By picking out these candidates early in the process, you reduce the risk of them leaving after only a few weeks for any number of reasons. According to a 2012 study from the Center for American Progress, the cost of turnover for an employee making less than $50,000 annually (which is ¾ of all American workers) is about 20% of their yearly salary. If you’re churning through hundreds of those positions per year, that can add up quickly.
Further, it can help find hidden data that you might not have noticed previously. For example, you might find that most employees found through a particular job channel don’t end up working out, so it would be beneficial to reduce the amount you spend working those channels. Or you might notice that recent graduates end up leaving the company after only a year or two and instead focus on people who have been out of school for a longer period.
The Bottom Line
If you’re not using a programmatic recruitment system in your hiring, you’re wasting time and money that can be better spent on improving other aspects of your company. The longer you wait to integrate one into your sourcing, the further behind you’ll be when it becomes the industry standard and your competitors are finding the job candidates you want to hire first.