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Pay-Per-Applicant Job Advertising Models

The Rise of Pay-Per-Applicant Job Advertising Models

According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s latest recruiting metrics benchmarks, the average cost per hire is approximately $4,700. However, depending on your business’s size, scope, and the positions you are recruiting for, this figure can be three to four times the position’s salary.

As organisations around the world seek to optimise their recruitment and staffing resources during challenging times, pay-per-applicant recruitment marketing tactics are gaining more attention among HR departments, staffing agencies, and recruitment process outsourcing organisations (RPOs). This is evidenced by the recent announcement by leading global job site, Indeed, which plans to move from its traditional pay-per-click pricing plan to a pay-per-application model in 2023.

Compared to traditional job ad models like pay-per-click, pay-per-applicant models are more cost-effective and efficient for finding and hiring the right people.

One of the key advantages of the pay-per-applicant model is that you only pay for the results you receive. In other words, you only pay for qualified candidates who have expressed genuine interest in the job and have taken the time to complete an application.

This reduces the costs associated with attracting unqualified, disinterested, or even fraudulent clicks, which is a major benefit for employers looking to optimise their recruitment budget.

Job Board Pricing Models: PPC vs PPA


Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a model where you pay a fee each time someone clicks on your job advertisement. You set a budget and bid on keywords that potential candidates are likely to search for. When a candidate clicks on the ad, your company pays the fee.

Like other PPC ads, the goal is to drive as much traffic (i.e., potential candidates) as possible to the ad (i.e., the job posting). However, a major drawback of this model is that you end up paying for each click, regardless of whether the candidate is a good fit or not. This can result in a significant amount of spending on clicks that do not result in any qualified applicants.

click fraud

Aptitude Research found that up to 40% of job advertising budgets are wasted due to inefficient pay-per-click models or manual or low-frequency ad optimisation practices. Sometimes you even end up paying for clicks generated by bots! On typical paid search campaigns, an average of 14% of clicks are from non-genuine sources (i.e., click fraud).


Pay-per-applicant (PPA) advertising protects you from unqualified or fraudulent clicks as it charges you only when a candidate submits a job application. This model is designed to target candidates who are genuinely interested and qualified for the position.

With this model, companies set a price per applicant and only pay when someone completes an application that meets their pre-set qualifications. This model can help reduce the costs associated with attracting unqualified candidates or bot traffic, which is a major benefit for companies that want to make sure their recruitment budget is being used effectively.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Pay-Per-Applicant (PPA)
  • Higher number of applicants
  • Easy to track ROI
  • Greater visibility and transparency
  • Higher quality of applicants
  • Reduced costs per lead
  • Easy to track ROI
  • Higher costs per lead
  • No guarantee of applicants being qualified
  • Greater risk of click fraud
  • Lower volume of applicants

How Pay-Per-Applicant Job Ads Work

Pay-per-applicant models can be adopted through the use of new tools that charge companies based on the number of job applicants generated. These tools use predictive metrics to make real-time decisions about where to advertise jobs and collect data about effectiveness, engagement, and other key metrics so budgets can be adjusted to where the best-fit candidates are likely to be.

Traditional job advertising — including PPC ads — involves a lot of human touchpoints, including negotiating rates, finding sites to place ads, making decisions about where to post, and optimising manually.

Pay-per-applicant tools remove human touchpoints and make the process more efficient and cost-effective.

The Role of Pay-Per-Applicant Job Ad Platforms

Pay-Per-Applicant job ad platforms — sometimes called recruitment marketing platforms or programmatic job ad platforms — use a blend of automation, AI, and human expertise to help organisations achieve more with less effort — and less money!

Hirematic is a great example of a cutting-edge job ad platform that uses a PPA model to optimise recruiting marketing and deliver:

More Applicants

Maximise job offer visibility with automated distribution, replication, and optimisation across many digital channels in real-time.

Lower CPA

Improve performance on existing job ad channels, reduce cost per click on job ads, and gain greater diversity in channel mix for better performance.

Low Touch

Manage multi-channel ads and budgets from one place and enjoy a fully managed service so you can focus on higher-value recruitment tasks. More hands-on job ad managers can use our vast library of past market performance data to define realistic goals and investment levels for your ads.

Greater Insights

Achieve greater transparency into ad budget performance with granular insights on individual campaigns in real-time and view which digital channels are driving results.

Automated Optimisation

Hirematic adjusts ad bids and shifts budgets continuously to lower cost-per-application and maximise applicant volumes. Our tech-enabled services model ensures you get the power of AI with the refinement of human expertise.

Maintaining the Human Side of HR

Maintaining the Human Side of HR

Some organisations hesitate to use pay-per-applicant tools because they worry about handing over the reins to AI and removing the judgment and expertise held by staff members and experienced recruiters.

However, traditional job advertising is subject to human error, as staff resources are often tasked with balancing job advertising with other recruitment and hiring obligations. Pay-per-applicant advertising streamlines the process, with humans setting the campaign goals and the tool taking over from there.

The human expertise element is still there, as recruiters review data and metrics and make decisions about changes to the advertising strategies. This ability to make micro-adjustments and evaluate constant data are among the major reasons that pay-per-applicant tools are becoming more popular in the HR world.

To learn more about Hirematic or PPA models for recruitment marketing, contact us to request for a product demo today.