High Volume Hiring
4 min read
September 21, 2022

The new way to hire: Advertising vs. conversion.

Purchasing job advertisements fits as a temporary fix for a chronic recruiting problem— we believe that we need more candidates and we want "fresh candidates." In 12 years of experience, Tim Sackett has found the key stems from building conversion into your hiring process.

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I tell people this all the time: When in doubt, buy ads. 

We’re all suckers for a great ad. Recruiting is no different — we’re just behind the times in so many ways compared to consumer product and services peers. They’ve been using modern ad tech for decades, and in recruitment marketing, we’ve really only started to adopt in recent years.

We’re addicted to job advertising for a couple of reasons:

  1. We believe that we need more candidates. Fill the top of the funnel!
  2. Our hiring managers want to see “fresh” candidates. Really what they want to believe is somehow, at this very moment, an amazing, high-performing candidate just lost their job, with the perfect skill set for their opening, and they want to make sure that candidate sees your open job (yeah, because that always happens).

These things only happen if you have that job posted on your career site, posted on Indeed, posted on the job boards, posted on LinkedIn, and posted on a billboard on the highway by your office so your hiring managers will see it and stop asking.

But advertising your job listings isn’t all it’s cracked up to be if other stuff is broken throughout your process.

More job listing advertisements aren't always better.

The more candidates you have, the better off you are. Right? For the most part, probably! But, advertising and recruitment marketing isn’t the only way to get more.

This is where conversion plays such a major role in how we effectively recruit candidates to our organizations. Let’s break down a simple funnel in reality; in this example, you get 100 candidates coming to a new role:

  • It’s safe to say about 50% of those coming to your career site to apply will drop off before applying because your application process is too long. Now you’re down to 50 candidates before you even get started — and I’m being nice, the average drop-off is more like 65%!
  • Let’s say the next 50 make it into your application process. Half of those will not make it through your pre-hire assessment and background check process, but 15 of those will already have taken a job by the time you get around to setting up an interview. We are now down to just 10 (10% of the top of the funnel). Of those 10, you’ll screen five or six, if you’re lucky. You’ll interview three. You’ll hire one.
  • You hired 1% of your possible candidates.

This seems drastic, and it is, but honestly, this is closer to your reality than you realize because what I find is most organizations have zero idea what their candidate drop-off rate is. Those that measure it are immediately shocked at how many candidates are coming and not converting into applicants.

I already know what you’re thinking. “Hey, Tim, show me the data!” No, it’s my data, and I’ve got 12 years of it to know where I came from to where I am at today. Go check your own data!

You don’t need more candidates, you need to improve your conversion.

Now, let’s go back to our 100 candidates and build a process that converts way better than 50%. Let’s jump that up to 75% or 80% or 90%. Let’s build a process that immediately engages every single candidate the moment they are interested in your job, and we don’t let go of them, and even if they decide to disengage, the tech will reach out and nudge them to return.

Now we’re getting at least 80 candidates to complete the application. We give them a better, faster assessment and we immediately screen them and offer them an option to set their own interview time — and would you look at that, we now have 40-50 candidates to potentially hire, not four or five! That’s what 10x the conversation does for you, with absolutely no more candidates at the top of your funnel.

You don’t need more candidates. You need to convert more of the interested candidates who are already showing interest in your organizations and jobs.

Advertising works, but only if you convert!

The next part in the series on the new way to source talent at a high-volume is here.

If you missed the previous part, the new way to know your candidate is here.

Written by
Tim Sackett
CEO of, Senior Faculty Member of the Josh Bersin Academy
Tim Sackett
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