Just One Look at Cost Per Resume

Picture 6I ran ads using CareerBuilder.com (June & July 2009) and LinkedIn (October 2009) to see which one produced the most resumes and the resumes with the closest match to the job requirements. The positions I posted on LinkedIn were for a production supervisor and a production control and planning supervisor for Amico’s Bourbonnais, Illinois, plant and a plant manager position in Lafayette, Louisiana. The positions posted on CareerBuilder were for an inside sales rep, sales estimator, and a purchasing manager for Amico’s Bourbonnais, Illinois, plant and for an outside sales rep for the Southeast.

I defined a qualified resume as an individual who met the education and experience requirements of the posting. If a candidate did not have the education or experience required, their resume was not considered qualified. An example might be a resume where the candidate did not have a degree or did not have the minimum experience required in the job posting. As for the cost, to run one ad on LinkedIn cost $195 and the cost of a CareerBuilder ad was $360. Both sites give volume discounts, but for purposes of analysis I used the cost to run just one ad on each site. After screening each resume I determined the number of resumes that were qualified and those that were not and calculated the cost per good resume.

The results of this study (see the table) showed that, on average, LinkedIn produced fewer resumes per posting — 39 versus about 45 — but produced a higher yield per posting of qualified candidates: 11 versus 3. The cost to obtain a qualified resume on LinkedIn was less than CareerBuilder; $18.33 per resume versus $175.50. This is what a recruiter is looking for: a higher yield of qualified candidates at a cheaper cost per posting.

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These results were consistent with what I have seen over 20 years of recruiting. The big job boards produce a large number of resumes, but they are not necessarily qualified candidates. Nothing prevents a job seeker from sending you a resume once they get your e-mail address and know you are a recruiter. Depending on the job title and location, I have received well over 100 resumes in a few days for a single job posting.

Source Title Total Resumes Qualified Resumes %Good Resumes Cost/Good Resume
LinkedIn Production  Supervisor 43 8 18.6% $24
LinkedIn Prod, Planning Super. 27 13 48.1% $15
LinkedIn Plant Manager 49 12 24.5% $16
Average 39 11 30.4% $18
CareerBuilder Inside Sales 52 4 7.7% $90
CareerBuilder Outside Sales – SE 26 1 3.8% $360
CareerBuilder Purchasing Manager 44 2 4.5% $180
CareerBuilder Sales Estimator 57 5 8.7% $72
Average 44.75 3 6.18% $175

Marty Brack -- from the Alabama Metal Industries Corporation (AMICO) in Birmingham -- has 21 years of experience as a human resources manager. He has handled recruiting several thousand people (from hourly to campus to senior-level managers), as well as labor relations, training, and benefits.