CPAs in Recruiting Aren’t Just Accountants: How Cost Per Applicant Affects Your Bottom Line

Eric Hawrysz —  May 12, 2017 — Leave a comment

“Back In My Day – I put an ad in the paper and someone came and applied to my job!”
Advertising was simpler back then – you paid some money, usually a flat fee, and ran an ad for a week or two in your newspaper.  And resumes came pouring in.

Now – clicks are king, the internet has taken over as the new source for news and jobs, and figuring out where and how to post your job has become much more complicated and costly.

When people began transitioning to internet advertising, they left the old business model in place.  You paid a flat rate for the ad (usually charged by the word), and you job ad ran for a set amount of time. a As new markets were opened up by the internet, people started bidding and paying for clicks, or views to their ad.

Now, there’s an even newer model for advertising your job. Bidding and paying for Applicants directly.  This new market is the newest model  and is proving volatile to say the least.

The upside of using a Cost Per Applicant is  that you only pay when someone actually applies for the job.   The downside, though, is that it will probably take longer and overall be more expensive per applicant, as the marketplace is still small for CPA and the number of sites offering this option is still limited.

At NewHire, we keep an eye on the job board market so our clients get their best candidates, and we’ve been looking at CPA data for the last year to see how to make use of this.  We’ve found a few distinct tiers of  Applicant cost.  Jobs that have a large number of applicants, like Administrative and Food Services jobs, have a relatively low CPA (under $20 per applicant), Jobs in Sales and Management have a higher CPA (between $20 and $40 per applicant), perhaps because they need more seasoned or specialized applicants.  Jobs in the Insurance and Medical industries, and Engineers of all sorts, have the highest CPA (Over $40 per applicant).  This is probably due to the small supply of qualified applicants vs. the demand.

Here is a graph of CPA by Job Category:CPA By Job Category 2015-2016We also analyzed the Cost Per Applicant by job board. We wanted to know if there is a noticeable difference in the cost of acquiring candidates from various job boards that charge on a pay per click basis.

We estimated this by taking the number of applicants we received from each job board (based on Google Analytics) and comparing that number with the spend on the job board for last year.   In the graph below, you can see that the more general job boards, Indeed, Careerbuilder, and Craigslist. have a lower CPA.  Specialty job boards like Bevforce and CPA exclusive boards like AppCast are more expensive, as they are targeting a smaller set of possible applicants and therefore generating less overall traffic.  At the highest end, our Passive candidate search is the most expensive, and coincidentally the most specialized and targeted.2016 CPA By Source EstimatedLike the stock market, CPA costs are constantly changing, as job boards enter and leave the marketplace. Additionally,fluctuations occur in what’s considered a hot job, or a desired location. We keep our eyes on the market to help our clients get the best candidates for their jobs, whatever the source!

Eric Hawrysz

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Eric’s our IT Manager at NewHire. He’s the go-to tech guy at the office, and when not at work, you can find him helping to stage local theatre, or getting ready for the next Comic-Con Convention.

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