Advice for Employers and Recruiters

Why it makes more sense to pay for job postings using CPC or CPA when distributing them programmatically

Anita Jobb AvatarAnita Jobb
November 9, 2023

In the landscape of recruitment, where every penny counts and every click may lead to the next great hire, employers are constantly looking for the most effective ways to utilize their budgets. With the advent of programmatic job ad distribution, the paradigm has shifted, allowing employers to distribute their job postings across a plethora of aggregator, general, and niche job boards. However, the true innovation lies not just in the distribution but in the pricing strategy—particularly, the shift towards a cost per click (CPC) or cost per application (CPA) model. Let’s explore why this model makes more sense for employers in the digital age of hiring.

Direct Correlation to Engagement

Traditional job ad pricing models typically charge a flat fee for posting a job, regardless of the outcome. This means the employer pays the same amount whether the job ad is seen by 100 or 100,000 potential candidates, and whether it results in 1 or 1,000 applications. On the other hand, CPC and CPA models tie costs directly to job seeker engagement. Employers pay only when a job seeker clicks on their ad or submits an application, ensuring that they’re investing in tangible outcomes rather than mere possibilities.

Budget Control and Flexibility

Programmatic job ad distribution with CPC or CPA pricing provides unparalleled control over recruitment budgets. Employers can set maximum bids for clicks or applications, as well as daily or campaign-wide budget caps. This level of control ensures that there are no unpleasant surprises when the bill comes due, and employers can adjust their spending in real time based on performance data.

Enhanced Performance Tracking

CPC and CPA models are inherently data-driven. They enable employers to track the performance of their job ads across different platforms and make informed decisions about where to allocate their recruitment spending. This real-time feedback loop allows for agile adjustments—employers can quickly redirect funds from underperforming boards to those delivering better results.

Incentives for Job Boards

A pay-per-performance model incentivizes job boards to ensure that the ads they display are well-targeted and likely to convert. Since they only earn when a user clicks or applies, they have a vested interest in placing ads in front of the right audience, with the right message, at the right time. This symbiotic relationship promotes a higher quality of service and potentially better candidates.

Reduced Wastage

With traditional job posting fees, the cost is sunk regardless of performance, which can lead to significant wastage, especially if the ad fails to attract suitable candidates. CPC and CPA models eliminate this inefficiency, ensuring that every dollar spent is an active investment in reaching potential hires, not just a passive expenditure.

Focus on Quality Over Quantity

CPC and CPA models encourage a focus on the quality of applications rather than the quantity. Since the cost is associated with actual interactions or submissions, employers are motivated to create job ads that are clear, engaging, and targeted towards the right candidates, rather than casting as wide a net as possible in hopes of catching anyone in the vicinity.


For employers looking to scale up their hiring efforts, CPC and CPA models offer a scalable solution. As hiring needs grow, employers can increase their budget accordingly, safe in the knowledge that the additional expenditure is linked to an increased rate of candidate engagement or applications.

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