Keyword Success Cuts Candidate Costs For Texas Health Care Provider

A year ago, Baylor Health Care System launched a keyword marketing campaign, buying ads on a variety of search engines. After 11 months of what began as an experiment, Baylor has generated 12,455 applicants at an average cost per applicant of $3.35.

“It’s worked very well for us,” says Baylor’s HR Communications Director, Eileen Bouthillet

Baylor’s story was told Monday in the Wall Street Journal, which also detailed last fall’s seasonal hiring push by United Parcel Service. Both companies told the Journal that search engine marketing produced more applicants at a lower cost than did print.

“We’re cutting newsprint wherever we can and trying to move more to online media,” Matthew Lavery, corporate workforce planning manager, told the Journal. “Google is outperforming other online media.”

Bouthillet, who provided us with updated cost per applicant figures, says Baylor worked with TMP Worldwide’s Dallas office to develop a campaign and track the source of the applicants. By far, keyword buys on Google, Yahoo, Indeed, and SimplyHired yielded the largest number of candidates at the lowest cost. But the job boards also performed well, even if they were 7.5 times more costly per candidate.

CareerBuilder job postings were responsible for 52 percent of all the candidates coming from the job boards, which, cumulatively, had a cost per applicant of $25.43.

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Compare that to the $403.14 Baylor spent per candidate on print.

Bouthillet also improved Baylor’s career center to make listings and the specific specialties more friendly to search engines, which also made them easier for candidates to find. Working with her staff web specialist, Bouthillet crafted custom landing pages for the keywords. So instead of a generic nursing page, she and her communications staff created pages for all the key nursing specialties being sought.

Optimizing the career site and job listings, she told us, was “kind of a no-brainer. We got better placement on the search engines and that helped drive candidates.” The Baylor name was also a draw.

The next step in the program is to track the hires. “It’s horribly inaccurate when candidates self-select,” Bouthillet acknowledges, which is why the TMP-crafted campaign embedded source tags into each component. Now, she and TMP have been pushing Taleo, Baylor’s ATS vendor, to incorporate TMP’s tracking tags to track both source and cost of hire right down to specific keywords, sites and whatever campaign media are used.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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