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Cost per Applicant Benchmarks for Talent Acquisition Teams (2019)

Here’s some really interesting data benchmarking cost per applicant that every recruiting team...

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Finance and Software Nerd
September 10, 2019
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A few weeks ago I was on a hunt for cost per applicant benchmarks.  I wanted to see on average how much an applicant was worth to a company’s recruiting team so that I could think about the ROI behind various ways to increase job seeker traffic.

Of course, an applicant can mean very different things.  It can mean a software engineer in New York City, or a customer service representative in North Dakota.  While each valuable, the former is much harder to find person and many times takes a professional headhunter to acquire.

After searching the internet, the folks at Appcast were kind enough to send along their annual report on cost per click and cost per applicant.  After spending some time with the data, I wanted to share some of my favorite tidbits in this week’s Whiteboard Wednesday video.

First off, there is a TON of data in here if you want to better understand how your paid media efforts stack up on a cost per click and cost per applicant basis across roles and geographies:

Graph showing cost-per-applicant by industry

In terms of my takeaways, I found a few things interesting:

unemployment application rate
  • First off, the day of the week actually matters in terms of how likely people are to apply.  The conversion rate is nearly double on Mondays vs Saturdays.  This of course impacts your cost/click, cost/applicant, and cost/hire.
  • Next, the unemployment rate of a given geography greatly impacts whether or not someone applies to your job.  This makes a lot of sense, but is still an interesting insight when we think about the persona of our target job seeker - when they have lots of options, they are less likely to apply, and therefore the onus is on recruiting teams to clearly articulate why someone NEEDS to apply to a job.
  • Glassdoor ratings improve apply rates.  Again, this probably isn’t surprising, but it should be a wakeup call to TA teams that still don’t have great career sites, job descriptions, microsites for key roles, etc.

How are you benchmarking the success of your recruiting teams?  Specifically, how are you benchmarking your paid media efforts across job boards?

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Phil Strazzulla

Phil is the founder of SelectSoftware Reviews, a website dedicated to helping HR and Recruiting teams to find and buy the right software through in-depth, expert advice. Phil started his career working in venture capital before getting his MBA from Harvard Business School.

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