How to Master Employee Recruitment with Paid Advertising

Ioana Cozma
May 21, 2024
December 27, 2023

Recruiting employees through online job boards and newspaper ads is long gone.

And this makes life (and your hiring process) more interesting.

TikTok is booming with resumes, and many qualified candidates on LinkedIn have found the right positions on this platform.

You’re on the right page to learn all about employee recruitment through paid advertising.

We’ll share our experience as an ads agency to guide you through the entire process, from identifying suitable candidates to crafting the right messages, setting your budget, and measuring your campaign performance.

Bonus: We’ll hire a social media manager for Grammarly.

Sort of.

Let’s dive right in.


  • Shift in recruitment trends: Traditional methods like job boards are outdated. Platforms like TikTok and LinkedIn are now key in finding qualified candidates.
  • Target candidate identification:
    • Analyze roles, consult stakeholders, and define key qualifications.
    • Build a candidate persona reflecting skills, experience, and cultural fit.
    • Example: Crafting a persona for Grammarly’s Social Media Manager role.
  • Choosing advertising platforms:
    • Match platforms with candidate profiles and company needs.
    • Use demographic data and platform features for targeted advertising.
    • Case Study: Selecting platforms for Grammarly, considering factors like user demographics and engagement.
  • Creating targeted ad campaigns:
    • Develop ads with engaging content, clear CTAs, and platform-specific customization.
    • Use visual elements and tailored textual content.
    • Incorporate A/B testing to refine ad effectiveness.
  • Budgeting and cost management:
    • Set specific budgets for each platform.
    • Regularly monitor spending and adjust based on performance.
    • Evaluate ROI through metrics like CPC, application rate, and quality of hires.
  • Measuring and analyzing ad performance:
    • Track metrics like CTR, CPC, and application rate.
    • Adjust strategies based on data, focusing on areas like ad content and targeting settings.
  • Enhancing employer branding:
    • Use paid ads to build long-term talent acquisition and retention.
    • Highlight company culture and values in ads.
    • Consistent branding across platforms enhances reputation and attracts both active and passive candidates.
  • Ethical and legal considerations:
    • Ensure compliance with employment laws and advertising standards.
    • Use unbiased language and transparent data practices.
    • Regularly update strategies to align with legal changes.

1. Identify Target Candidates

You must first define the ideal candidate profile for specific roles to identify potential employees.

Here’s how we do that during our recruitment process for inBeat Agency and how we advise our clients to do as well:

Step 1: Analyze the Role

  • Understand the role: Dive deep into the specifics of the role. What are the daily responsibilities, required skills, and expected outcomes?
  • Consult with stakeholders: Talk to team members and managers to understand what traits and skills have been successful in this role in the past. For example, internal recruitment and solid employee referrals may distinguish good from bad hires.

Step 2: Define Key Qualifications

  • List essential skills: Identify the required skills and qualifications for the role. Soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving are often as important as technical skills.
  • Culture fit: Determine what personality traits and values align with your company’s culture. Internal candidates may have passed this test, whereas external candidates may need further testing.
  • Rank traits: Decide which skills and traits are non-negotiable and which are nice to have.
  • Flexibility: Be open to transferable skills that may not be an exact match but could bring a unique value to the role.

Step 3: Draft the Candidate Persona

Based on the above steps, build a candidate persona. This should be a semi-fictional representation of your ideal candidate, including their skills, experience, goals, and behavioral traits.

Have stakeholders review the persona for completeness and realism.

Real-Life Example: Identifying Target Candidates for Grammarly’s Social Media Manager Role

  • Analyze the role: The Social Media Manager at Grammarly will manage and grow the company’s presence on various social platforms, create engaging content, and drive user engagement.
  • Essential skills: Must-haves include experience with social media management tools, strong writing and editing skills, and an understanding of digital marketing analytics. Soft skills include creativity, adaptability, excellent communication skills, a passion for language, and clear communication.
  • Culture fit: Grammarly values innovation, clear communication, and a friendly, collaborative work environment.
  • Rank traits: Prioritize traits such as creativity, proven experience in growing social media presence, and a strong grasp of analytics. Be open to candidates from varied backgrounds but with a strong aptitude for social media trends and user engagement.
  • Create a Persona: “Alex, ” a mid-level professional with 3-5 years of experience in social media, a degree in Marketing or Communications, a portfolio of successful social campaigns, and a personal passion for writing and grammar. Have the hiring team review “Alex’s” persona to ensure it aligns with Grammarly’s needs and culture.

And by looking at Grammarly’s current social media manager since January 2019, we’d say we nailed this description.


2. Pick the Right Advertising Platforms

The platform you choose will determine the visibility and relevance of your job ads to the ideal candidates.

Selecting the right advertising platforms is essential to:

  • Reach the right audience: Different platforms cater to varying demographics. And you want your ad to reach interested and qualified applicants.
  • Maximize ROI: Targeted platform selection maximizes your return on investment by focusing resources where they’re most effective.

So, how do you evaluate if an advertising platform works or not?

Here’s the thought process we use at inBeat.

  1. Define your target audience: You already did most of that work above. Based on your candidate profile, define the key characteristics of your target audience, including age, profession, industry, and career level.
  2. Research platform demographics: Use demographic data from platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, or industry-specific job boards to understand their user base. Match your target audience with the platform’s user demographics to ensure alignment.
  3. Evaluate platform features: Look at the targeting options available on each platform. Narrow down the audience based on that specific criteria. Assess the different ad formats and how they align with your recruitment content.
  4. Consider the nature of the role: For specialized roles, consider industry-specific job boards or professional networks. For more general roles, broader platforms like LinkedIn or Indeed may be more effective.
  5. Assess user engagement: Determine how engaged the users are on these platforms. Higher engagement could lead to more views and interactions with your ad.
  6. Assess the content format: Consider if the platform’s primary content format (text, image, video) aligns with your advertising strategy.
  7. Budget consideration: Compare the cost of advertising on different platforms. Higher-cost platforms might offer more targeted reach but at a higher expense. Estimate each platform’s potential return on investment based on cost and the likelihood of reaching qualified candidates.
  8. Test and learn: Run small-scale pilot campaigns on selected platforms to test their effectiveness. Analyze campaign performance through metrics like click-through rate, application rate, and quality of applicants. Use this data to refine your platform choice.

Case Study: Choosing Advertising Platforms for Grammarly’s Social Media Manager Recruitment

Let’s see how Grammarly can take these exact steps to choose their advertising platforms.

The ideal candidate, “Alex, ” is a mid-level professional, likely in their late 20s to mid-30s, with a strong presence on social media and a keen interest in marketing, writing, and technology.

Paid social ads include:

  • LinkedIn: Given its professional focus, LinkedIn is ideal for reaching experienced candidates in marketing and communications.
  • TikTok and Instagram: These platforms are where many social media-savvy professionals showcase their skills and follow industry trends.

Paid search ads, like Google ads, can help Grammarly access a wider market of active candidates.

The next step is to evaluate each platform’s features.

  • LinkedIn ads: Offer detailed targeting options, including job title, industry, and professional interests. Great for passive job seekers, hiring managers, and reference checks.
  • TikTok and Instagram Ads: Ideal for reaching a tech-savvy audience; can target based on interests like social media marketing, writing, and technology.
  • Google Ads: Keyword targeting and audience targeting are on-point.

However, job listings on LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram:

  • Have high user engagement, which is beneficial for the role’s visibility.
  • Allow for creative ad formats, suitable for attracting a Social Media Manager.

Pro tips:

  • LinkedIn might have a higher cost but potentially a better ROI for this specific role due to its professional user base.
  • Instagram and TikTok allow Grammarly to target more creative social media managers, especially as Grammarly has a massive TikTok presence.


3. Create Targeted Ad Campaigns

After picking the advertising channel, it’s time to write the job ad.

Of course, an effective recruitment strategy considers that each platform has a different format. TikTok is great for video ads, while Google ads are text-based.

That said, here are the best tips for crafting compelling job advertisements from us, an ad agency:

  • Write an eye-catching job title: Use a job title that is both clear and appealing. Avoid jargon and overly complex titles. Integrate relevant keywords that your target candidates commonly search for.
  • Develop engaging ad content: Highlight what makes the role special, like innovative projects or a unique company culture. Match the ad’s tone with your company’s brand voice – professional, friendly, innovative, etc.
  • Highlight candidate priorities: Emphasize career development prospects within your company.
  • Culture and values: Briefly describe your company’s work environment and core values.
  • Benefits and rewards: Showcase attractive benefits, such as health insurance, remote work options, or unique employee perks.
  • Incorporate social proof: Include testimonials or quotes from current employees about their experiences at your company. Highlight success stories or milestones achieved by the team the candidate will join.
  • Direct CTA: Use straightforward CTAs like “Apply Today” or “Explore This Opportunity.”
  • Streamlined application process: Ensure the CTA leads to a simple, efficient application process.
  • Customize ads for each platform: Tailor the format and content of your ads for each platform. LinkedIn might lean more professional, while Instagram might be more visual and casual.
  • Mobile optimization: Ensure ads are optimized for mobile viewing, especially on platforms predominantly used on smartphones.
  • Implement A/B testing: Test different ad versions, experimenting with various headlines, images, and descriptions. Use engagement metrics to determine which ad versions are most effective.

Include visual and textual elements that attract candidates according to each platform.

Visual elements:

  • Professional and clear images that reflect the company culture or depict the work environment
  • Consistent use of brand colors and logos to enhance brand recognition
  • Use of infographics to visually represent benefits, career growth paths, or company achievements
  • Authentic photos of current employees showcasing diversity and real work situations
  • Short videos featuring employee testimonials, office tours, or a day in the life at the company

Textual elements:

  • Attention-grabbing headlines that clearly state the job title and key benefits
  • Bulleted lists to make the text easily scannable, highlighting key benefits and requirements
  • Incorporating a brief narrative about the company’s mission, culture, or specific role
  • A clear and compelling CTA, such as “Join Us” or “Apply Now, ” encouraging immediate action
  • Testimonials or quotes from current employees about their experience working at the company
  • Clear and concise language that communicates the role and company values effectively
  • Language that speaks directly to the candidate, making them feel the ad is tailored for them

Insider tip: Our agency has successfully used influencers in paid ads.

For example, we reduced NielsenIQ’s CPAs by 75% across all acquisition channels with this strategy:


And we’re regularly maximizing advertising budgets for all our clients while increasing stats like views and conversion rates.

This brings us back to the Grammarly case study.

Grammarly Case Study: Video Hiring Ad Script for Grammarly on TikTok Using Influencers

Let’s say that Grammarly has decided to power its recruitment efforts with TikTok marketing. Let’s see what a TikTok video ad for Grammarly could look like:


The video switches between clips of a vibrant office environment and an influencer speaking directly to the camera. The office scenes show employees engaging in collaborative work, enjoying break-time activities, and using Grammarly products.

[Opening Scene – Influencer in a Casual, Home Office Setting]

Influencer: “Hey TikTok! Ever thought about turning your passion for writing and creativity into an amazing career? Well, Grammarly is on the hunt for dynamic individuals to join their team! 🌟”

[Cut to Office Scene – Employees Collaboratively Working]

Voiceover by Influencer: “At Grammarly, it’s not just about perfecting grammar. It’s about connecting people through clear communication.”

[Back to Influencer]

Influencer: “And guess what? They’re looking for a Social Media Manager! Someone who can bring creativity and strategy together. Could that be you?”

[Office Scene – Showcasing Fun Activities and Happy Employees]

Voiceover by Influencer: “Imagine working in a place where your ideas are valued, your growth is prioritized, and your work-life balance is more than just a phrase.”

[Back to Influencer – Holding a Phone with Grammarly App Visible]

Influencer: “With Grammarly, you get to be part of a team that’s reshaping digital communication. Plus, you’ll be working with tools like this! [shows Grammarly app] Super cool, right?”

[Office Scene – Close-Ups of Employee Testimonials]

Employee 1: “Grammarly’s culture? It’s innovative, fun, and totally empowering!”

Employee 2: “Every day is a new adventure here. And the best part? The team feels like family.”

[Back to Influencer]

Influencer: “So, if you’re all about creating engaging content and love a good grammar challenge…”

[Cut to Influencer Typing on a Laptop with Grammarly Open]

Influencer: “…then swipe up to apply! Join Grammarly, where your words make a difference.”

[Closing Scene – Grammarly Logo and CTA]

Text Overlay: “Swipe Up to Apply Now! 🚀 Your Grammarly journey starts today!”

Voiceover by Influencer: “Don’t just take my word for it. Check it out for yourself. Swipe up now!”

[End of Video]

4. Budgeting and Cost Management

Being constrained by money is never fun, but it’s a practical thing to consider in your recruiting process.

Focusing on effective budget management and measuring ROI ensures your paid advertising campaigns are cost-effective and result in high-quality hires.

Here are the steps to ensure effective budget management:

  • Set clear budgets: Define a specific budget for each platform based on the target audience, ad format, and campaign duration.
  • Allocate wisely: Distribute the budget based on the platform’s potential reach and relevance to the desired candidate profile.
  • Regular monitoring: Continuously monitor spending on each platform to ensure alignment with the set budget.
  • Flexible adjustment: Be prepared to reallocate funds between platforms based on their performance during the campaign.

Measuring return on investment (ROI) is also essential. Here’s how we advise you to do that:

  • Track key metrics: Measure metrics like cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-impression (CPM), and cost-per-application to evaluate the financial efficiency of each ad.
  • Quality of hire: Assess the quality of candidates applying through each platform. High-quality candidates can justify a higher investment.
  • Conversion rate analysis: Monitor the conversion rate from ad views to applications and hires. A higher conversion rate indicates a more successful campaign.
  • Long-term value assessment: Consider the long-term value of hires made through the campaign, not just the immediate costs.

Now, let’s put everything together and adjust your strategy accordingly:

  • Make data-driven decisions: Use collected data and ROI analysis to make informed decisions about future budget allocation and campaign strategies.
  • Optimize your platforms: Shift the budget to platforms that provide the best ROI and candidate quality.
  • Refine your campaign: Adjust ad content, targeting parameters, and candidate engagement strategies based on performance data.

Practice continual learning: Incorporate learnings from each campaign to refine the budgeting strategy for future advertising efforts.

5. Measuring and Analyzing Ad Performance

To effectively evaluate the advertising effectiveness for a job post, it’s important to track specific recruiting metrics.

Here are the key ones we typically consider for employee recruitment ads:

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): This variable measures the percentage of viewers who clicked on the ad. High CTR indicates that the ad is engaging and relevant to the target audience.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): This metric defines the average cost for each click on the ad. Knowing this helps you understand the campaign’s cost-effectiveness and budget management.
  • Application rate: This measures the percentage of clicks that result in a job application and indicates the effectiveness of the ad in converting viewers into applicants.
  • Quality of applicants: You want to measure the relevance and suitability of the applicants for the job role. This ensures your ad attracts the right talent, not just a high quantity of applicants.
  • Cost per hire: This metric’s formula is the total advertising cost divided by the number of hires made and evaluates the overall cost-effectiveness of the recruitment advertising campaign.
  • Time to fill: This variable measures the time taken from ad posting to accepting an offer and helps you assess the efficiency of the recruitment process.
  • Engagement metrics: This includes likes, shares, comments, and overall engagement with the ad. While they’re called “vanity metrics” and might not be as important as conversion rates, these metrics reveal how interactive and appealing the ad is to the audience.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): This measures the overall return on investment from the advertising campaign. You need it because it’s a comprehensive metric that combines cost, applicant quality, and hiring success to evaluate the campaign’s effectiveness.

Now, you have a bunch of numbers that may or may not mean much to you.

The next critical step is adjusting strategies based on performance data.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Regularly examine key metrics such as CTR, CPC, application rate, quality of applicants, and ROI. Identify trends and patterns.
  2. Determine which aspects of the campaign are not performing as expected. Consider any feedback from candidates about the application process or ad content.
  3. Experiment with different versions of your ads. Change one element at a time (like headline, image, or CTA) to identify what impacts performance.
  4. Try different advertising platforms or allocate more budget to the platforms, yielding better results.
  5. Modify the targeting settings based on the performance data. This might involve focusing on different demographics or professional backgrounds.
  6. Customize ad content to better resonate with the target audience. This could involve emphasizing different job benefits or company values.
  7. Optimize budget allocation, shifting funds from underperforming ads or platforms to those that yield better results.

Insider tip: Each metric points to a strategy to adjust your ad campaign.

That brings us to the next point:

Case Study: TikTok Hiring Ad for Grammarly

Let’s say our TikTok hiring ad for Grammarly is underperforming. We’ll solve 5 common problems:

Problem 1: Low Click-Through Rate (CTR)

In this case, the ad might not be engaging enough or the CTA isn’t clear.

Adaptation strategy:

  • Enhance the ad’s visual appeal with more dynamic, attention-grabbing content.
  • Make the CTA more prominent and compelling.
  • Experiment with different ad formats or storytelling approaches.

Problem 2: High Cost Per Click (CPC)

The pool of candidates might be too broad, leading to less relevant viewership.

Adaptation strategy:

  • Narrow down the target audience to more closely align with the ideal candidate persona.
  • Adjust bid strategies to optimize for cost efficiency.
  • Test different times of the day or days of the week to run the ad, aiming for cost-effective slots.

Problem 3: Low Application Rate

Viewers may not be motivated enough to apply, or the application process could be cumbersome.

Adaptation strategy:

  • Revise the ad copy to highlight the role’s benefits and exciting aspects more strongly.
  • Ensure the application link works correctly and leads to a user-friendly application page.
  • Simplify the application process to reduce drop-offs.

Problem 4: Poor Quality of Applicants

The ad may be attracting a lot of viewers, but not necessarily the right fit for the role.

Adaptation strategy:

  • Refine the job requirements and qualifications in the ad to be more specific.
  • Use TikTok’s targeting features more effectively to reach a more relevant audience.
  • Include specific skills or experiences required in the ad to self-filter unqualified applicants.

Problem 5: Low Engagement Metrics

In this case, your ad content might not resonate with the TikTok audience.

Adaptation strategy:

  • Incorporate more TikTok-friendly elements, such as trending music, effects, or challenges.
  • Collaborate with influencers who have a strong connection with the desired candidate demographic.
  • Increase interactive elements like polls or Q&A sessions related to the job role.

6. Enhancing Employer Branding

From our experience, recruiting teams rarely care about enhancing their employer branding through paid recruitment ads.

And that’s a mistake.

Insider tip: Thoughtfully leveraging paid advertising for employer branding builds a strong foundation for long-term talent acquisition and retention.

Long-term benefits of paid advertising in building a talent pipeline include:

  • Increased brand awareness: Consistent advertising increases brand visibility, making your company a known and desirable employer in the job market.
  • Attracting passive candidates: Good employer branding through paid ads can attract not only active job seekers but also passive candidates who weren’t considering a change until they saw your brand.
  • Creating an applicant pool: Attracting a broader audience means actively creating a talent pool of potential candidates for future openings, reducing time-to-hire and recruitment costs in the long run.
  • Enhanced reputation: Strong employer branding leads to a positive reputation, making it easier to attract top talent and even customer loyalty due to a positive corporate image.
  • Employee advocacy: Employees become brand ambassadors, sharing the positive aspects of working at your company, further amplifying your brand reach.

Here’s how to leverage paid advertising for employer brand visibility:

  • Showcase company culture and values: Use paid ads to highlight what makes your company unique. Share stories and visuals that reflect company values, work environment, employee testimonials, and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
  • Targeted content: Create content that resonates with your potential hires. Tailor messages to showcase aspects of your brand that align with their interests and career aspirations.
  • Consistent branding across platforms: Ensure a uniform brand image and message across all advertising platforms. This helps in building a recognizable and reliable employer brand.
  • Engagement and interaction: Use advertising to engage with potential candidates. This could include interactive elements in ads, Q&A sessions, or webinars that showcase your brand.
  • Data-driven strategies: Utilize data from advertising campaigns to understand what attracts candidates to your brand. Use these insights to refine your employer branding strategy.

This TikTok hiring ad is a great example, seeing as it leverages a dance trend to catch people’s attention while highlighting the company culture:

@capitaleye.nepal We are hiring!!! We are looking for a Social Media Ad Manager to join our team. #fyp #capitaleyenepal #ads ♬ Obsessed With You x All About Him - ARNEL REMIX

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