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The pandemic has had a dramatic effect on the US labor market, but it might not be the effect you imagine. The number of job openings in America hit an all-time high of 11.44 million in December 2021, and it has hovered around 11 million for more than six months, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As of February of 2022, the US had 6.27 million people unemployed and 11.27 million jobs unfilled—which is 0.55 unemployed persons for every open job. In April 2022, the Labor Department reported jobless claim numbers that were the lowest since November of 1968.

The US is back to pre-pandemic levels of employment, and companies in virtually every industry are looking for new employees to fuel their growth. The number of available jobs has created an extremely competitive recruitment market.

A couple of other factors are also impeding employers' efforts to find and hire new qualified workers. For example, 2 million more workers retired during the pandemic than was forecast pre-pandemic. Immigration policies also became more conservative: 2 million fewer immigrants arrived in the US per year during the pandemic than in pre-pandemic years.

The resulting hunt for talent is fierce, and companies are looking at every possible method to increase the number of qualified applicants they receive. They are luring the best with all sorts of innovative and attractive benefits.

Some states are getting into the act by getting workers to move in return for bonuses, and some companies are luring workers with commitments to pay for college education.

Using Programmatic Advertising to Reach Qualified Candidates

Offering unique benefits is one way to land new talent, but it doesn't address discoverability: The first challenge that recruiters face is capturing the initial attention of qualified candidates.

One way that employers are overcoming that challenge is digital advertising—more specifically, programmatic advertising. Programmatic advertising uses automated technology for media buying, allowing marketers to buy digital ad space.

Programmatic advertising platforms can also automate and optimize job ad spending. The adoption of programmatic means bringing AI and machine-learning into the search for qualified candidates with precision-based targeting focused on professions, employers, geos, and more.

Employers can run ad campaigns that reach qualified candidates in the very place that they typically are online. And programmatic ads typically reach candidates before they start searching on one of the many job board sites.

Using programmatic ads for recruitment makes hiring easier by eliminating many of the inefficient processes and unnecessary spending that are common for employers who have complex hiring needs. It increases the accuracy of targeted advertisements and enables companies to reach the right, qualified candidates. Moreover, companies that use programmatic are twice as likely to reduce hiring time, according to Aptitude Research.

The Benefits of Programmatic Advertising for Talent Acquisition

Aside from simplifying processes and reducing costs, there are many benefits to introducing programmatic advertising into a talent acquisition strategy.

1. Programmatic recruitment reaches ideal candidates

Programmatic advertising allows employers to use precise targeting to focus on reaching professions, employers, geos, and more. It also makes it possible to reach potential hires with contextual targeting based on what they're reading and exploring online, or to target based on custom CRM lists or lookalike audiences.

2. Programmatic makes it possible to re-engage qualified talent

Recruiters can use retargeting to deliver ads to users based on their previous actions on the Web. It's a tactic for re-engaging candidates who have seen an ad before or have shown interest in a company or organization. Retargeting enables recruiters to gain more of their attention, and potentially encourage them to apply to a role.

3. Programmatic campaigns strengthen employer brands

Recruitment campaigns run on programmatic can help boost employer brands by bringing increasing awareness to the organization and the benefits of working there. Programmatic ads are an opportunity to communicate to candidates the employee value proposition of an organization. That way, candidates will be more receptive to future outreach.

But before you dive into programmatic advertising for recruitment, note that ramping up interest can take time. Allow for at least two months to gain traction with an intended audience. If the goal is to hire soon, start laying out plans for programmatic as soon as possible.

Why It's Time to Consider Programmatic Advertising

On average, 40% of job advertising spend is wasted, Aptitude Research found. In a survey of more than 400 talent acquisition and human resources (HR) leaders, 30% of employers said they are buying job ads completely manually, relying primarily on offline search to advertise. The research also found that companies using programmatic advertising are not returning to manual purchasing. Instead, they are increasing their investment in programmatic ad spend.

At my company, we have launched targeted spending to recruit talent in hard-to-fill positions. Completed applications went up 185% from February to March (2022) and 383% in our sales organization for the same period. Clearly, the benefits of programmatic advertising for talent acquisition are great enough to promote increasing investment.

The world is still adapting to the effects of the pandemic, and job searches and marketing efforts to acquire talent are accelerating. The pool of job openings remains large, and the candidate pool remains shallow. It's time for hiring managers to use new tactics, such as programmatic advertising, to attract qualified candidates.

More Resources on Programmatic Advertising

Five Simple Programmatic Strategies to Drive More Leads

The Anatomy and Current State of Programmatic Advertising [Infographic]

Programmatic Advertising: Benefits, Trends, and Solutions [Infographic]

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How to Reach the Right Candidates With Programmatic Recruitment

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image of Brian Burch

Brian Burch is the VP of marketing at StackAdapt, a leading programmatic advertising platform. He leads the company's global marketing efforts.

LinkedIn: Brian Burch