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Why online recruiting?

According to the Institute for Competitive Recruiting, in 2020, almost half of the companies surveyed reported that they had received fewer applications after the pandemic had begun. The consequences of the pandemic as well as the ongoing shortage of skilled workers complicate the recruiting process for companies in many sectors. Searching for and finding qualified personnel is more expensive and time-consuming than ever. This makes online recruiting a potentially inexpensive alternative to costly recruitment agencies as well as a potential complement to traditional recruiting channels, such as trade fairs.

Online recruiting takes advantage of the data we reveal about ourselves every day on social networks and search engines. Therefore, online recruiting enables a much more targeted approach to company-relevant target groups in comparison to non-digital channels, such as billboard advertising or magazine ads. Gaining direct insight into campaign results enables you to shift your focus to the most promising aspects in real time. We learn more about the target group with each online recruiting campaign and design the measures for the next campaign to fit these groups even better.

How can I use online marketing in e-recruiting?

According to the Institute for Competitive Recruiting, in 2020 almost half of the companies surveyed reported receiving fewer applications than before the pandemic. The consequences of the pandemic, but also the ongoing shortage of skilled workers, make the recruiting process more difficult for companies in many industries. Searching for and finding qualified personnel is more expensive and time-consuming than ever. For this reason, online marketing can not only be an inexpensive alternative to costly recruitment agencies, but also complement classic recruiting channels such as trade fairs.

Online marketing takes advantage of the data we reveal about ourselves every day on social networks and search engines. Therefore, compared to non-digital channels such as billboards or magazine ads, online marketing enables a much more targeted approach to company-relevant target groups. With direct insight into campaign results, the focus can be transferred to the most promising measures in real time. With each online recruiting campaign, we thus learn more about the target group and design the measures for the next campaign to be even more tailored.

Why are ads essential to online recruiting?

Online recruiting can certainly be done organically, in other words, without using paid ads on your social media profiles, websites and job portals. In order to increase the reach and thereby the efficiency of the measures, we recommend taking advantage of paid recruiting ads:

  • Minimal ad waste due to precise targeting
  • Wide reach in the age of declining organic social media reach
  • Good accessibility to young target groups and possibility to approach those with more experience
  • Budget allocation in real time
  • Possibility to directly scale measures that are performing well
  • Optimisation of ongoing campaigns to increase quality
  • Accurate evaluation of campaign results in real time
  • Wide range of advertising channels – reaching passive and active job seekers
  • Possibility to retarget users
  • Gain knowledge about target groups via testing

Employer branding vs. job advertisements

Employer branding campaigns can be used to position your company as an attractive employer. This will increase the prominence of your company and attract workers who are currently interested in a new job in your sector or will be in the future. The focus of these campaigns is on strengthening advertising recall as a means for improving the company’s image in the long term. The wide reach digital advertising channels provide is particularly profitable for employer branding campaigns, as the point of such campaigns is to reach as many potential employees as possible. From communicating attractive benefits, to professional innovations and creating the perfect team structure, there are no limits to what you can do – so you can let your imagination run wild.

Targeted recruiting campaigns, on the other hand, focus on filling specific vacancies. This is where the digital advertising channels’ targeting mechanisms come into play. These mechanisms are used to address suitable candidates in a highly targeted manner. The professional networks LinkedIn and Xing are particularly suitable for approaching experienced professionals, while those who have just completed their A levels and university graduates are better approached via the ‘younger’ social networks Jodel, TikTok or Instagram. Search engine ads are suitable for all target groups: this is how you make yourself visible to active job seekers.

Numerous digital touchpoints along a job seeker’s journey can be covered by combining employer branding and recruiting campaigns. Which digital advertising channels you select, how they’re weighted and the budget you set for them, as well as the advertising media you choose, are all key factors in the success and efficiency of the campaign.

What might an online recruiting campaign look like?

1. Defining key data

When planning a new campaign, the first thing I recommend doing is performing an inventory check to clarify your requirements and goals. You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • How prominent is our company on the labour market? Is the target group already familiar with the company?
  • What’s the goal of the campaign? Is it to fill specific positions or improve the company image? If the advertising budget allows for it, both of these goals can be easily combined.
  • What makes our company special and what benefits do we offer employees?
  • Which occupations should the campaign present? Are we looking for experienced employees or do we need trainees?
  • On which channels am I already advertising the new job offers and how can this be integrated into the campaign? (Company website, job portals, social media and so on)
  • Which websites do we link to our campaign? Do the links take potential recruits directly to a job advertisement or to our campaign page?
  • What tracking options are available for the ad campaigns? How can we measure incoming applications and trace them back to advertising channels? (Cookie/data protection settings, potential connection to Google Analytics)
  • How much budget do we want to invest? This will determine how many different advertising channels can be used and whether a sufficient level of advertising pressure can be created.
2. Developing a targeting concept

Specifically addressing the desired target group is the key component of a recruitment campaign and starts with choosing the right channels. Different targeting options are available depending on the channel being used.

  • Which channels does the target group frequent? Although it’s possible to search for specific job profiles on Xing or LinkedIn, there are also job profiles (such as nursing or various trades) that rarely use these portals.
  • Who does the target group consist of? Is the target group a specific age? Age is a targeting criterion that many advertising networks don’t allow in order to prevent discrimination. A workaround can be to add specific life events to your targeting criteria, such as a recent degree, which then helps you to distinguish the relevant people from the less relevant people.
  • Where do the target persons live? Thanks to digital advertising channels, the targeting parameters can be very precisely limited to location and focused on relevant cities and companies.
  • Do you want to integrate retargeting into the campaign and address the target group with an employer branding ad before confronting them with a job ad? Retargeting means that job ads can only be displayed to people who have shown interest in the company.
  • Does the target group trust influencers? If so, selecting the right content creators will make your retargeting a success. The more specifically a content creator matches the current advertising theme, the less ad waste is created.
3. Creating the right advertising media

Different types of advertising media can be created depending on which advertising channels you choose. Animated ads and videos attract the users’ attention and entice them to learn more about their content, while fixed, static image job ads convey the key data in a focused manner. Storytelling is key for creating attention-grabbing ads, regardless of the ad format. Using humour or useful information that fits in with the target group’s everyday lives makes people feel considered and understood.

  • What message do we want to convey and which advertising format is best for doing so? What information should be remembered?
  • Which tone and which visuals can grab and hold the target group’s attention? What fits well with the message and the corporate brand?
  • How should influencers appear and what information should they convey?
4. Optimising the ongoing campaign

Once your digital recruiting ads have been launched, they can be analysed, controlled and optimised in real time.

  • Which advertising channel is most likely to pay off and generate the most clicks or lead to the most applications? Which channel should we use to attract the best applicants?
  • Is there a particular ad that delivers better results than other ad formats/motifs?
  • Have enough new employees already been found for one of the job ads, and can this part of the campaign be paused earlier and the budget for it be reallocated?
  • What feedback have we received about the ads via channels such as social media? Were they commented on, liked or shared? Was there any criticism?
5. Analysing results and planning future strategies

Once a campaign is finished, the results are analysed and discussed in order to derive new recommendations for action. Recruiting is typically a recurring theme. Even if there’s currently no explicit demand for new employees, it’s recommended to run an employer branding campaign. After all, maintaining a positive company image and keeping the company fresh in people’s minds is becoming increasingly important in light of the imminent frequency with which people change jobs in the modern workplace


Online recruiting is a growing area of online marketing that’s becoming increasingly important due to digitalisation and the shortage of skilled workers. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all recruiting strategy. Rather, the right campaign must be designed according to each specific target group and data must be gathered to construct a knowledge base. Digital advertisements are a good way to find employees efficiently and to learn which advertising techniques and channels work for your company and which do not.

Do you still have a lot of questions about online recruiting, or do you already have a concrete idea of who you want to reach? In either case, please contact us at, or use our online form.

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Picture Mia  Rauchschindel

Author Mia Rauchschindel

Mia Rauchschindel is a Digital Marketing Consultant in adesso's Paid Media Team and supports customers in designing and implementing successful advertising campaigns. Mia's focus is on search engine and display advertising as well as the holistic optimisation of landing pages.

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