Buyer’s Guide: How to Evaluate and Pick the Right Programmatic Recruitment Solution

Recruitment technology evolves at a rapid pace. In 2018, the most successful companies will be those embracing the new trends that are shaping recruitment space:

  • Multichannel diversification
  • Budget optimization
  • Recruitment automation

To help companies interested in gaining programmatic recruitment capabilities, this buyer’s guide will focus on how to:

  • Identify an organization’s recruitment requirements
  • Identify and leverage the essential features of an effective programmatic recruitment solution
  • Evaluate a programmatic platform and pick the right one for the business’s needs

Understand How to Evaluate and Pick a Programmatic Recruitment Solution [source:]
Understand How to Evaluate and Pick a Programmatic Recruitment Solution [source:]
By choosing the right solution, companies will be able to take advantage of the core benefits of programmatic recruitment. Let’s find out more.

Business Audit: Identifying the Requirements of A Recruitment Organization

Needs vary widely across different types of organizations. Recruitment requirements can be grouped into five main drivers, depending on what companies demand in terms of workforce, specifically:

  • Goals
  • Type
  • Volume
  • Budget
  • Infrastructure


Successful companies have specific business objectives and set forth attainable goals to meet those objectives.

Within this goal-driven context, organizations must decide on what is of strategic importance to them. This process which usually goes through a careful definition of their recruitment requirements.

Three possible scenarios for goal-driven requirements include:

  • Flow: Companies might need a steady influx of new talent to meet their goals, which in turn requires an optimized top-of-funnel approach. Employers can keep an effective talent pipeline in place by increasing the number of job seekers that become aware of open positions and then turn into applicants.
  • Push: Manpower can be a serious competitive advantage. By attracting the right candidates faster, companies can outgrow their competitors, improving their bottom lines. This is a common business goal in situations with high activity (increase in customer demand; seasonality; etc.).
  • Focus: Hiring specialized talent (e.g. the best possible C-level executives) is of critical importance to the success of any business organization. The vision and experience of such specialized talent can bring to a company offer all sorts of opportunities for growth, which is a competitive advantage. Programmatic recruitment platforms can be fine-tuned to draw these kinds of profiles into the application funnel.


The range of products and services that a company offers dictate what types of roles are available to job seekers, as well as the strategies that hiring managers need to devise.

Two types of predominant roles in the current landscape are:

  • White collar jobs: Mainly composed of service industry workers, white collar positions require highly specialized skills. This is the domain of management, professional, science, engineering, and administrative jobs. Turnover rates—the percentage of workers that leave during a given period of time—are relatively low, as these types of positions offer a certain stability.
  • Hourly jobs: With the growth of the “gig economy”, on-demand jobs are on the rise as these types of positions usually offer lower entry barriers to job seekers. Hourly jobs are available across a wide variety of industries, with varying degrees of specialization, but also feature higher turnover rates than white collar positions.


The number of applicants required per position is another key requirement. Depending on the volume of workers needed, open positions can be categorized as:

  • Low volume: Usually reserved for highly specialized jobs, with no more than 100 applicants per position. An important consideration when hiring for low volume jobs is culture fit, as employees who fit well into a company’s culture are more likely to show better performance. Given the specialized nature of these types of positions, low volume hires are usually more expensive to acquire, as compensation and benefits have to match the experience and value offered by the employee.
  • High volume: These jobs are favored by hourly, gig economy workers. High volume positions prioritize availability. Therefore, these jobs might require more than 100 applicants per day in order to cover for a higher turnover. Recruitment strategies have to attract a steady flow of suitable applicants to high volume jobs.


Employers need to base their recruitment requirements depending on their available budget:

  • Fixed budget: Hiring budgets can be allocated at the beginning of the fiscal year, remaining a fixed amount throughout the period, regardless of the actual recruiting costs incurred. Hiring managers usually have to work within a set constraint.
  • Flexible budget: Hiring budgets focused on the effective results of recruitment campaigns require careful planning and good practices. Some organizations set relative benchmarks such as effective Cost-per-Applicant (eCPA) or effective Cost-per-Hire (eCPH) to evaluate if their recruitment investments are feasible. As long as the target benchmarks are hit the hiring/recruitment manager has the flexibility to deploy further investments.
eCPH: Smallest common denominator across different pricing models [own figure]
eCPH: Smallest common denominator across different pricing models [own figure]


The underlying recruitment infrastructure of a company also determines what is required to meet their goals:

  • Application Flow: Optimized funnels require continuous A/B testing and conversion rate optimization (CRO). This approach demands a focus on best practices, including the elimination of friction points and data analysis to achieve higher-converting application flows.
  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): The tool of choice of HR departments to process job applications, ATS solutions can actually keep job seekers from turning into effective applicants due to design problems (long application times, non-responsive applications, bugs, redundant requests, etc.) Employers looking to streamline their recruitment processes need to ensure their application flows are as quick as possible.
  • Tracking: By leveraging the power of data analytics applied to their application funnels, employers can gain valuable insights from their recruitment process. Best-in-class recruiters are using such insights to continuously improve the performance of their recruitment department.

Buyer’s Guide: 3 Essential Product Features Your Programmatic Recruitment Solution Must Have

Programmatic recruitment technology offers employers key advantages such as the ability to reach qualified applicants at scale and across the web. It also allows recruiters to achieve optimization through automation and to improve their hiring budgets, among other benefits.

A true programmatic recruitment platform must include at least the three essential features described next to make the most of all the benefits the technology has to offer.

Recruitment Analysis

Programmatic recruitment solutions must include a data analytics engine capable of producing actionable insights. In turn, these insights should allow employers to optimize the performance of both their recruitment campaigns and their hiring processes.

An effective recruitment analytics engine ingests various data points from the job ad campaigns as well as the applicant performance throughout the funnel to highlight opportunities for improvement such as:


  • Number of job seekers entering the funnel, becoming actual applicants
  • Rates of applicants passing from one stage of the funnel to another
  • Total amount of hires

Quality of hire (QoH):

  • Performance levels of new hires, as determined by management
  • Turnover or retention rates, keeping attrition low among new hires
  • Hiring managers satisfaction, as a function of performance and fit
  • Ramp-up time or how long it takes for new hires to reach full productivity


  • Cost per Lead (CPL): how much it costs to get a job seeker into the application funnel
  • Cost per Applicant (CPA): the cost of an action performed by the applicant in the funnel, such as a form submit or a background check
  • Cost per Hire (CPH): the total of all recruitment costs divided by the effective number of hires during a period of time or campaign

For a detailed overview of this feature, check our introductory post on recruitment analytics.

Budget Optimization

With a data analytics engine in place, programmatic recruitment platforms enable organizations to optimize their recruitment investments.

A correctly applied analytics framework ensures that no “garbage data” enters into cost calculations. This is easily done by comparing all recruitment efforts along the effective Cost-per-Hire (eCPH) metric. Programmatic recruitment guarantees this capability, producing a clearer picture of sourcing and application funnel costs.

But analytics capabilities alone do not automatically guarantee budget optimization, as recruiters still need to follow a set of best practices to get the desired results:

  • Tracking: Recruitment data has to be collected and tracked on an end-to-end basis, so that volume, application time, conversion, and drop-off data are available and acted upon.
  • Funnel optimization: Applicants need to flow through the funnel with as little friction as possible. Mobile-optimized design, A/B testing, and unified data insights help reduce friction.
  • Enhanced metrics: As outlined above, the eCPH metric gives a more detailed picture of actual recruitment costs. When paired with the lifetime value (LTV) of new hires, employers obtain a powerful budget optimization tool.

Our recruitment costs post offers more insights into this topic.

Workflow Automation

Automation is at the heart of programmatic recruitment. The technology gives employers the capability to fully automate applicant sourcing via job distribution.

Effective job distribution includes optimized online job posts and sourcing channels with the main objective of increasing applicant volumes and overall quality. Programmatic ads leverage the power of algorithmic automation in job distribution and optimization to enhance all subsequent stages of the application funnel.

For more details on how to automate applicant sourcing, check our introduction to programmatic recruitment.

Features in a Nutshell

Programmatic recruitment solutions offer many more features, but the three above make sure companies:

  1. Have an analytics infrastructure in place to continuously improve recruitment processes
  2. Implement improvements based on collected data
  3. Reduce hours spent on repetitive manual tasks, winning back time for high-value work of a more strategic nature, such application flow improvements and the actual hiring of candidates

Evaluation Process: What to Look for When Choosing a Programmatic Solution

Companies ready to go programmatic should base their decision on the following benefits:

  • Fit: The chosen solution should be a good fit for a company’s recruitment goals. A comprehensive programmatic platform must offer employers the capability to attract the right candidates at the right volume.
  • Compatibility: Programmatic tools need to be compatible with the existing recruitment infrastructure so no additional overhead is introduced. Programmatic ads are meant to improve the recruitment processes, not to add unnecessary complexity.
  • Product: As described above, programmatic platforms must offer a satisfying feature set, including analytics, budget optimization, and workflow automation capabilities amongst others.
  • Pricing: The price of a programmatic recruitment solution should be performance-based so that it generates Return-on-Marketing-Investment right from the start.

Bottomline: Take Advantage of the Right Programmatic Recruitment Solution

Choosing the right programmatic recruitment solution is a competitive advantage for companies looking to reach the right candidates.

To summarize the key insights here, in order to pick the optimal solution companies should:

Audit their recruitment requirements and identify what is needed in terms of:

  • Business goals
  • Types of roles to hire
  • Volume of applicants needed
  • Budget deployment
  • Recruitment infrastructure in place

Ensure the three main features of true programmatic recruitment are included:

  • Recruitment analytics for data-driven decision making
  • Budget optimization to maximize recruitment output
  • Workflow automation to improve metrics and overall conversion rates

Evaluate the options offered by vendors so that the chosen programmatic solution is:

  • A good fit for a company’s recruitment goals
  • Compatible with existing infrastructure
  • Complete in terms of the right feature set
  • Priced correctly so that it generates a net return right from the start

Equipped with this knowledge, your business can also choose the right programmatic recruitment platform and start leveraging the power of this technology.

Perengo Platform: Right Solution to Hire Hourly Talent at High Volumes [own figure]
Perengo Platform: Right Solution to Hire Hourly Talent at High Volumes [own figure]

If you have insights and opinions on this topic please share your thoughts.

Thanks, Team Perengo

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Perengo is a programmatic recruitment platform focusing on large-volume recruitment needs for hourly positions.

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