So Many Sites, So Little Money: Thinking Strategically About Your Recruiting Plan

With over 2,500 job posting sites on the Internet, hundreds of newspapers, and a multitude of job fairs to choose from, on a limited budget, it can seem overwhelming to determine the most effective ways to spend recruitment dollars. The goal is to achieve the highest qualified response rate per dollar spent. Incorporating a thorough, well-planned, Internet campaign into your current recruiting strategy will significantly increase the exposure of your positions and decrease your cost per hire. The key to success is spending the time up front to develop a well-planned marketing strategy. Continue to think strategically about the most efficient and effective ways to reach your target market.

  • Evaluate your recruitment budget as ONE pool of money. This includes allocations for Job Fairs, Print Advertising, Search Fees, and all other resources for finding qualified candidates.
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  • If your budget hasn’t increased to utilize the Internet, you now have to determine from where you are going to shift funds and what percentage of the total funds you are going to shift.
  • Most companies with multiple positions in several locations nationwide can develop a very comprehensive Internet campaign for $30,000 – $50,000. Relatively speaking, this is a very low cost for the extent of exposure your jobs receive on the Internet.
  • Here are several ways to think about the reallocation of funds:
  • Reallocation from print advertising. If your company currently places 1 display ad a month in a major newspaper, you are probably paying $15,000 – $30,000 per month per ad. Instead of 12 ads per year, consider placing 10 ads and reallocate those funds to the Internet. The result:
  • You now have enough money, $30,000-$60,000, to develop a very strong Internet campaign.
  • Instead of a display ad 1 time every 4 weeks, you now place one every 5 weeks. You have not compromised your print campaign.

Reallocation from search fees. I have heard of companies spending $500,000 to $1,000,000+ per year in search fees. There can be some serious reallocation here. Example. If you pay 25% fees and your average new hire earns $60,000, you are paying, $15,000 per hire. If you reduce your search fees by just 4 hires in one year, you will have $60,000 for an Internet campaign. Spend that money strategically on the Internet you will easily secure 4 hires and probably several more. If you currently keep good metrics on your cost per hire by advertising medium, the reallocation process becomes much easier. Reallocate from those resources that currently have the highest cost per hire associated with them. If you don’t have metrics available and cannot readily calculate them, then develop a reallocation plan that balances resources. Every resource has value so we do not recommend wiping any of them out completely. Lesson Learned: With thorough planning and strategic analysis, you can develop a very strong Internet campaign without increasing your recruitment budget or compromising the benefits from your other recruitment resources. Part 2 of this series will cover determining the best way to allocate the resources that you have now dedicated to the Internet.

Karen Osofsky ( is a co-founder of, an e-recruiting consulting firm that provides outsourced recruiting solutions to rapidly growing companies and new ventures. The firm provides a broad range of recruiting consulting, sourcing, screening, and strategy development services to help companies manage the front-end recruiting process. Tiburon Group is a Certified AIRS Solutions Partner.