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The 5 best programmatic advertising platforms for recruitment agencies

The recruitment industry has changed massively over the last few years in more ways than one. Not only do agencies need to adapt to more flexible working arrangements, a highly competitive market and national staff shortages in many key industries, our means of getting the attention of candidates is also changing.

When I first started working in recruitment, our advertising strategy was simple: We’d post our vacancies on every major job board available and then ring around the CRM to gather interested candidates before tackling a CV database.

Over time we started to get the feeling that posting on the job boards wasn’t getting us the candidate numbers or quality that it used to and it was serving more as a tangible action a recruiter could take to justify their time in the day. So we did what I’d hope most recruitment companies would do, we measured the ROI of the job boards.

Job boards are expensive, around half of our marketing budget was being spent on post credits and cv database licenses, yet we found that we were getting such a small amount of our candidates from these sources, the vast majority were coming from our existing database or referrals.

We decided it wasn’t sensible to just terminate all of our job board contracts on the spot and rely solely on the database and referrals moving forward, we still needed new candidates coming in. So, assuming the low application rate issue could be due to poor advertising practices, we delivered training on job posting best practice, replaced our vacancy templates with writing guides so each ad was unique/well written and put new CRM rules in place to ensure candidate sources were being recorded accurately then we kept a close eye on the results for a few months.

Slightly better, but still not worth the huge costs. We realised that our candidate base was becoming less and less active on the job market and was becoming passive so not actively looking at job boards or updating their details on CV databases. We took a two-pronged approach by splitting our target audience into active and passive candidates. We experimented with targeted PPC advertising on social media platforms to build awareness amongst the non-actively looking candidates and used a programmatic advertising platform to better manage our advertising spend across the job boards.

What is programmatic advertising?

Programmatic advertising platforms use AI or algorithms to manage the distribution of your ads to different media networks, job boards in this case, but many take different approaches to this. In general, they work to identify the best or most cost-effective route of advertising to reach your goal.

Often these platforms will try to get as many applications for your vacancy for free before either closing the vacancy if the goal is reached or using paid advertising means to gather more applicants on those harder to fill positions and only increasing the bid price where necessary.

What you end up with is a very low cost to hire for the easy to fill vacancies and more of your advertising budget spent where it is needed.

Best Programmatic Advertising Platforms for Recruitment

The number of platforms on the market are growing all the time, but here are a few of the top players right now:



Joveo claims it has the industry’s most advanced programmatic job advertising platform, using Machine Learning & AI to continually optimize your ads for the best performance and lowest cost-per-hire.



With unrivalled job board advertising, eRecruitSmart gets your vacancies on all of the top job boards without having to worry about traditional contracts. They’ll even write the ad for you for the best possible outcome. Easy win.

SmartDreamers Attract


Attract is part of SmartDreamers larger offering of a complete hiring platform, offering everything from advertising, landing pages and email marketing solutions. Great option if you want an all in one tool.



PandoIQ is big on their AI-driven recruitment advertising technology and they also offer other tools, such as their conversational AI chatbot that talks to your candidates to find out more than is on the CV. PandoIQ is a US-based platform, so may not distribute your adverts to the same job board networks that would normally be used in Europe.



Recruitics take programmatic advertising further by putting a team of advertising experts behind their award-winning tech, this gives you all the benefits of programmatic technology but is tweaked and optimised behind the scenes by real people.

Candidates live in an increasingly noisy omnichannel world with information coming at them from a far wider range of platforms than ever before (work and private email, SMS, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and so on) and marketing spend can easily be burnt through in trying to find and address the most appropriate platforms as well as job boards. With good candidates in demand, finding and attracting them in a cost-efficient manner is increasingly important and using new tools and processes is going to be essential to maintain any competitive edge over other recruiters.

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