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

In Part I of this series we covered alternative ways of allocating your recruiting budget to include the Internet without sacrificing other strategies that have worked well for you in the past. In Part II we covered the importance of evaluating your internal needs and resources prior to committing funds to the Internet. Part III, the final part to this series covers how to evaluate the Internet sites and the services they offer relative to your needs.

  1. First and foremost, there are no standards for services and pricing on the individual sites. Unfortunately no one has taken on the task of creating an online chart to attempt to compare services and prices on a line item basis. To help minimize looking at every site available, take the list of sites you developed from the “homework” from Part II and begin to review those first.
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  3. Use a balance of types of sites. Your monies and results will go much farther if you use a variety of general job boards (i.e.,, Career Mosaic,, etc?); Industry specific boards (i.e.,, Network Engineer,, Aerojobs, etc?); and association sites Asaenet is a great starting point for finding associations with online sites).
  4. How many unique visitors to this site do they have per month? How many hits do they get per month? Hits and visitors are different numbers. A hit as basically a click through. Anytime someone makes a “click” at a site it is counted as a hit. Unique visitors are just that, new visits to the site. Knowing the combination of the two is important. For example a site may say they get 2 million hits per month. Is this 2 million people going to the site, hating it, and leaving immediately or is it 1 person staying on the site forever? If you divide the number of unique visitors by the number of hits you can get a sense for the average time an individual stays at a site.
  5. Be a job seeker at the site. Test out the sites. Pretend you are a job seeker. How easy is it for you to navigate the site? How easy is it for you to conduct your search? If you see a job that you like, how easy is it for you to submit your resume? Test this with the types of positions that you are planning to list on this site. Ultimately it is the job seeker you are trying to attract. If the site is user friendly, presented well, and efficient to use, the job seeker will continue to use it and ultimately be exposed to your job.
  6. How much does the site spend on advertising and where do they advertise? You benefit from the site’s advertising dollars. If they advertise in places that your potential candidate frequents then it is likely you can benefit from that. We all know what happened to and HotJobs after the Superbowl – explosive traffic to each site. The companies featured on those boards during that time frame benefited from that exposure. Remember though, it is not always the “big” ad budget that is most important, it is really how targeted the spending that is critical. For instance, if the majority of your positions are of a technical nature then consider the job boards that advertise in technical publications. If your management team is reluctant to spend money on a given career site, you can use the amount of advertising $$$$ the site spends, and the places they spend it, as leverage to convince management to make the investment.
  7. Do they have a resume database and how much does it cost to use it? Many sites include the use of their resume database as part of the standard package. Others charge separately for this. Depending on the quality of the database it may be worthwhile to invest in the extra dollars for its use. If a good database costs $5,000 for annual usage, and you hire 4 people from it in a year, your “sourcing” cost per hire is only $1,250. Compare this to the cost of your other sources of hires. I imagine that for many companies only securing 1 hire from a resume database in a given year will still be less than the “sourcing” cost from other resources. This same methodology can be used in evaluating the costs associated with posting on a site.
  8. How many resumes do they have? How do they secure the resumes for the database and how long do they keep them on line? Quality of resume is the most important aspect of a resume database. You should only consider resume databases that are developed with resumes submitted by candidates. Do not consider databases that use spider agents to surf the net to find resumes to populate their database. The quality significantly decreases! Also, resumes that are more than 4-5 months old are just that, old! The best databases let you search by date posted and allow the candidate to update their posting to demonstrate that they are still actively looking.

While there are many other things to consider before spending money on a site, the above points are the most essential. Remember the Internet is only 1 part (and rapidly growing part) of your Recruitment Advertising strategy. Make it work for you!

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.


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