Talent Technology Explained by TAtech & DirectEmployers

This series, brought to you by DirectEmployers and TAtech, is geared towards new and emerging technologies for talent acquisition professionals.


Just as our Members are continuously seeking learning opportunities to expand their knowledge and diversify their skillset, we are always learning ourselves–and that means partnering with organizations that have a focus in areas different from us. This year we will be working very closely with the Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions (TAtech) to create and share content that is geared towards new and emerging technologies for talent acquisition professionals. With that said, the Talent Technology Explained (TTE) series was born!

This edition of TTE will explore a term only a business school professor could love: programmatic ad buying. What is it, what can it do and what’s the technology behind it?  And, how is programmatic ad buying being used in talent acquisition? To get answers to these questions, TTE interviewed Chris Forman, CEO of Appcast.

By way of background, Chris Forman is the CEO and founder of Appcast Inc, which was acquired by StepStone in 2019. He previously served as the CEO of StartWire and AIRS, and also as Chief Development Officer of The Right Thing. Chris has worked in the recruiting industry for more than 20 years, developing smart recruiting tools that have helped companies hire millions of people around the globe. He is a nationally-recognized expert in talent acquisition and has been quoted in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Staffing Industry Review.

Let’s dive in!

TTE: Is it possible to define programmatic ad buying without a lot of techno-mumbo jumbo? Do you have to be a programmer or somebody in IT to get it?

Chris:  Programmatic is fairly simple. It’s the use of software to optimize the value of pay-for-performance ads.

TTE: So, is it a new technology or has it been around for a while? Where else has it been used?

Chris: Programmatic recruiting is rooted in marketing programmatic technology that millions of B2B tech companies use to optimize display ads every day. That technology has simply been adapted to apply the same principles to a different media, job ads. An entire industry has been born out of the need to help companies figure out where to post their ads, what to bid, and when to stop; there is a robust community of providers – Appcast, Recruitics, Joveo, ClickIQ.

TTE: Okay, but why use it for recruitment advertising? What problem is it solving?

Chris: Programmatic technology decreases cost-per-hire by ensuring job ad budgets are spent on the most ‘in demand jobs’ and the price paid per click (or apply) is appropriate for the market, at any given time. Ultimately, it means recruiters get quality candidates for more of their jobs without overspending. It takes the guesswork out of figuring out ‘where is the best place to post my jobs’ because programmatic uses market rates, job performance data, and math to figure that out in real-time.

TTE: Does that mean that a machine, or at least software, makes all the decisions? Are recruiters totally out of the loop?

Chris: Nope. People set the rules. The software just does the math…really fast.

TTE: So, it’s all about putting the right ad in the right place to connect with the right talent. But, what about putting “the best ad” in the right place – does the quality of the ad make any difference?

Chris: Hugely. Job title, job descriptions, and apply flow are, candidly, the biggest determinant of media cost-per-hire. Get those right (meaning direct, easy-to-understand, and brief) and you will see exceptional value.

TTE: Are there any limitations to using programmatic ad buying? Is it really a technology that’s best used for high volume recruiting vs. the occasional opening or by enterprise employers vs. SMBs?

Chris: The technology works across the board – it’s basically using software to apply common sense to ad buying.

TTE: Okay, that’s all we have time for in this edition of TTE. So now, it’s time for the TTE Closing Tip – what’s your one sentence piece of advice for HR and TA professionals looking into using programmatic ad buying for talent acquisition?

Chris: Do it!

Want to learn more about programmatic ad buying and how your organization can leverage it to attract top talent?

Join us on June 9th for Programmatic Ad Buying 101 during the 2020 TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying in Talent Acquisition in Boston. This program is a unique opportunity for HR and TA managers and professionals to get a “tech-speak free” introduction to this technology. For a deeper dive on this topic, stick around for the full Leadership Summit taking place on June 10th, but be sure to register by April 9th to take advantage of Super Early Bird pricing!

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