PPC for recruiters involves pinpointing your target audience, leveraging strategic ad copy, highlighting value propositions, and more. We’ll tell you our proven tactics to create winning recruitment paid search campaigns that deliver major results.

6 proven ad strategies for recruitment companies:

  1. Identify your target personas 
  2. Use industry pain points to inform ad copy
  3. Highlight the value your recruitment company brings
  4. Make sure your landing page matches your persona and ad copy
  5. Geo-target your ads 
  6. Test, analyze, and optimize your ads

The last few years have seen major shakeups (to put it mildly) in the job market across a wide variety of industries. As a result, finding the right people for the right roles is as difficult as it is important.

And there’s no one better suited to that task than a recruitment company. 

There’s just a tiny problem: The recruitment industry is highly competitive. Not only that, but it’s becoming harder for recruitment firms to attract clients amongst the massive pool of competition these days. 

We tapped one of HawkSEM’s lead strategists, Matt Monroe, to offer his knowledge and expert insights into how recruitment companies can set themselves apart from the crowd and land the perfect clients.

The days of physical job boards are over: it’s time to invest in targeted pay-per-click (aka paid search or PPC) ads.

When you’re looking to land new clients for your recruitment firm, a paid search agency can do wonders to help you create a targeted PPC campaign. (Image: Rawpixel)

How can PPC ads benefit recruitment companies?

Before we dive right into PPC strategies, let’s discuss the reasons why PPC ads are a good investment for recruitment companies.

Based on our assessment, here’s how recruitment companies benefit:

  • You can target the right audience. With PPC advertising, you only target enterprises (within your niche) that are genuinely looking for a recruitment company. Advertisers can conduct keyword research to help focus campaigns on relevant long-tail keywords and input negative keywords. This helps recruitment companies capture high-quality leads faster and avoid wasting ad spend on companies that aren’t a good fit. 
  • You’ll see a high return on ad spend (ROAS). A smart PPC campaign will pay for itself. When you only target prospects who are looking for a recruitment company, you only pay for the warm leads who will click on your ads.
  • Your agency will be at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). When you run paid search ads on any search engine, your posts will appear on the first page of the SERPs above the organic search listings. Stats show that PPC traffic converts 50% better than organic site visitors.
  • You cast a wider net with PPC ads. With PPC, you’re not limited by location. You can target clients across the globe who are actively looking for help from a recruitment agency. Stats show that 65% of high-intent searches, no matter where they come from, will result in a click.

“Staying on top of the negative keywords is crucial in these campaigns – can’t really “set it and forget it” like some other industries,” Monroe explains. “These candidates are constantly searching different queries. Remarketing campaigns can perform rather well.” 

He adds that it’s key to keep in mind that someone looking for work is most likely ready to pull the trigger and sign up immediately, sometimes on the first click or after looking around for a few days. 

However, the “sales cycle” is much shorter than a company looking to invest $10,000 or more a year for a SaaS product, for example.

What PPC ad strategies can help recruitment agencies attract new clients?

Most recruitment companies have two audiences: new clients and job seekers. Most likely, the strategies you use to attract new clients for your recruitment firm and to find new talent for your clients won’t be the same. 

As a recruitment professional, you already know the best strategies for finding the right talent for your clients. But when you’re looking to land new clients for your recruitment firm, a paid search agency can do wonders to help you create a targeted PPC campaign. 

Here are some high-level PPC strategies for recruitment firms that will help you capture more clients and boost your ROAS.

1. Identify your target personas

The first thing to do to create a winning PPC campaign is to define your target persona. Without knowing exactly who your target client is, you risk advertising to the wrong crowd and wasting your ad budget.

To create the perfect persona for your target client, ask yourself and/or your team the following questions:

  • What is the type of organization (e.g., small to mid-sized businesses or enterprise employer brands) you are suited to serve?
  • Which industries do your ideal clients typically belong to?
  • What are your clients’ major pain points when it comes to hiring talent?
  • Which candidate types do they typically look for?
  • What are their hiring policies?
  • How familiar is your audience with recruiting firms?
  • What kinds of things is your audience searching for when they need to hire talent?
  • What are their current practices?
  • How much money are they spending on recruiting?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll have the information you need to create a nuanced campaign that targets only the right audience.

You can then use your target client persona to write excellent ad copy,  segment your audience properly, bid on the right keywords (and exclude the wrong keywords), and ultimately create a converting PPC campaign.

Creating a strong persona will make a difference in how much you spend on lead generation and how you maximize your ROAS.

woman typing on computer

Categorize your audience’s pain points into distinct problem areas. (Image: Unsplash)

2. Use industry pain points to inform ad copy

What good is a PPC ad offer if it completely misses the point of what your prospects want? Creating PPC ads around misdiagnosed client pain points — or leaving the pain point out altogether — is one of the most common PPC mistakes and a surefire way to waste your budget.

It’s essential to have a constant pulse on industry pain points to create an effective ad. Here are some ways to find this information:

  • Spend time in online communities
  • Send out surveys to past and current clients
  • Sit in on pitch meetings and interviews
  • Check out the pain points your competitors are targeting
  • Have informal conversations with your prospects
  • Scour the social media sites where your audience hangs out (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)

Once you’ve identified the pain points (e.g., trimming recruitment costs, reducing the lead time on positions being filled, etc.), you can use them to write strong ad copy.

Recruitment company search ad examples

I googled the highly competitive keyword “recruitment firm in Philadelphia.” Below is a look at a couple of the top PPC ad listings as an example to see how they do or don’t target potential pain points.

peak sales recruiting search ad

This first listing from Peak Sales Recruiting does a great job writing ad copy that speaks to industry pain points. When you read the ad, you understand that Peak Sales Recruiting doesn’t just find salespeople. The firm finds salespeople who will hit aggressive revenue targets and meet sales goals. 

It’s challenging for organizations to find good salespeople, and high sales staff turnover costs a lot of money. This ad does a good job showing the audience that this recruitment firm understands that and will go above and beyond to solve needs — not just find someone to hire.

“Avoiding generic search terms like ‘recruitment agency’ or ‘freelance employer’ will help to remain efficient,” says Monroe. “However, having those as a low budget or top-of-funnel type approach could be beneficial.”

Another PPC ad under this keyword simply tells you what the agency does. However, it doesn’t mention how they solve pain points. 

Robert Half staffing search ad

Cheatsheet: Categorize your audience’s pain points into distinct problem areas. Then, write an ad that targets each of those pain points accordingly. Here are some common examples you can use as a starting point:

  • Financial: How much will your prospects save by hiring your firm?
  • Productivity: Why would it be efficient to hire you?
  • Support: What kind of support would you be able to provide their company?
  • Process: What processes do you have in place that help speed up the process and save money?

3. Highlight the value your recruitment company brings

Once you nail down target personas and understand audience pain points, create an offer in your paid search ad that’s impossible to refuse.

We talked about how you can speak to pain points, but there’s much more that goes into creating an offer that incentivizes clicks.

Here are some additional golden nuggets you can include in your ad copy:

  • Focus on what the clients would get out of the deal. Would they save costs by hiring you? Would you cut down the time it takes to hire talent? Do you have access to the right candidates?
  • Add in stats and numbers. You can include quantifiable numbers that motivate clients to go with your firm. For example, you can save 3-4 weeks in finding the right candidate.
  • Add social proof. Highlight client testimonials or list the names of your popular clients on your landing pages.
  • Use high-converting words. Some words are more powerful than others. When running a recruitment marketing strategy, you can target keywords like save, outperform, win, top, and best.
  • Write your unique selling proposition (USP). You can write about your fast hiring process, how many years of industry experience you have, if you have access to a large pool of talent, and how you have a better understanding of the market. Here’s a good example of an ad that shows unique benefits, from healthcare staffing firm CareRev.

  • Double-down on keywords. If you’re targeting location as a keyword, then you can use the keyword in the title and the text to readdress how you can help hire talent from those areas.

4. Make sure your landing page matches your persona and ad copy

Booya, your target prospect has clicked on your ad and you’re on your way to capturing a new lead.

The next step in creating a killer PPC campaign for your recruitment company is to knock the landing page out of the park.

First, make sure that landing pages have the same offers as your ad copy and as the keyword you bid on. If you said you were a “clerical recruiting agency” in your ad, then your landing page should be built around your clerical recruiting services. It may sound simple, but we’ve seen too many businesses that serve up an inconsistent ad-to-LP experience.

Additional strategies to create eye-grabbing landing pages for your PPC campaign:

  • Highlight your value. Include social proof, metrics, and your unique selling proposition (USP) in your landing page. CareRev does a good job of this too. When you click through to their ad, you’ll not only be able to schedule a meeting with a recruiter, but you can also read how CareRev saves health organizations millions.

Black Crow AI

  • Add in a micro case study. If you can show how you helped another company find the talent they needed within a certain amount of time, then do it. It’s a great way to lend credibility to your services. Ecommerce machine learning platform Black Crow AI often includes case studies and data in their landing pages, and it works great for them.
  • Don’t be afraid to get granular. “Avoid being too all-encompassing with your campaigns and ad groups,” Monroe suggests. “Getting more granular will allow you to spend your budget, time, and energy where it makes the most sense and impact.”
  • Include strong visuals.  The design and images in your landing page matter. Your design should complement the CTA. Both the CareRev and Blackcrow AI landing pages above do a good job with the design.
  • Nail the headline. The headline can make or break your chances of capturing a lead. According to CopyBlogger, only 20% of people read your whole landing pages, while 80% of people read your headline. Let that sink in.
  • Reduce site loading time. If the website load time is too long, your prospects will bounce out of the page. Then, you’re paying for the click but not getting a lead. 
  • Write one clear call to action (CTA). Personalize your CTA. HubSpot analyzed 330,000 CTAs to find out personalized CTAs convert 202% more. Forgo generic copy like “click here” and replace it with more personalized CTAs or even “smart” CTAs that serve up unique phrases based on who is viewing the page.

5. Geo-target your ads

When targeting, think outside of the job description and job title.

Geo-targeting is one of the best-kept secrets in paid search advertising. Okay, it might not be a secret — but it can be highly strategic if you do it right.

With a little bit of extra research on where many corporations in your niche are located, you can geo-target your ads to areas where many corporations need recruiting help. This strategy will reduce your ad spending.

For example, if you are a recruiting company that works for big technology firms, then it makes sense to create geo-targeted ads for locations like Silicon Valley, Austin, and Lehi, Utah.

There are hundreds of huge tech companies in these locations, and they are always looking for new talent. And anyone in these areas who needs help with recruiting will start their search with a term like “recruitment company in Austin.”

Overall, geo-targeting ads provide the following benefits: 

  • Capture more relevant leads faster
  • Improve click-through-rates
  • Save your budget by targeting the most relevant audience

Don’t forget that you also need to create separate landing pages for different niches and different geo-locations. 

The last thing you want to do is create an ad for “recruitment agencies in Austin,” and have your ad link to a landing page that’s all about recruiting for companies in Silicon Valley. It’s happened before. Don’t let it happen to you.

Test, analyze, and optimize your ads

Creating a high-performing PPC ad isn’t a one-and-done process. To get the most out of your PPC ad spend, you also need to get your hands dirty. In other words, you must test your ads, analyze the results of different ads, and optimize ad campaigns for improved performance.

Test your ads

It’s easy to write one version of your ad copy and create one landing page and leave it at that. But, truth be told, you don’t know how an ad will resonate with your target audience. Taking an entirely different approach may end up bringing in better leads.

As such, it’s essential to test everything on your ads to find out what works best. Consider A/B testing the following:

  • Form placement
  • Headline
  • Keywords
  • Design
  • Layout
  • CTA buttons
  • Ad copy
  • UX

As you continue testing different versions of your PPC ads, you won’t be guessing what you think will perform. Instead, you’ll be able to make data-driven decisions about how to make your ads convert at higher rates.

Analyze your results

This stat may shock you: 72% of companies don’t look at ad campaigns in a month’s time. (Be honest. Are you one of these companies?)

If most companies aren’t looking at their ad campaigns, it also means they’re not looking at how their ads perform. While this is a terrible marketing strategy, it does represent an excellent opportunity for your recruitment company. 

If you keep a close eye on the results you get/don’t get from your campaigns, you can make tweaks to your campaigns as you go that will help you beat out your competitors. 

Here are some tools you can use to track your campaigns:

  • Heatmapping: Heat maps show you where visitors are spending the majority of their time on your landing page. This shows you the “hot areas,” or areas of your website that consumers enjoy. You can use these heat maps for conversion rate optimization.
  • Google Analytics: Dive into Google Analytics, specifically keyword conversion rates with keyword traffic rates, to get a better understanding of what keyword changes you need to make.
  • Quality Score: Quality Score will give you insight into your expected CTR, how visitors like the landing page experience, and how relevant your keyword is to its ad group. Evaluate this metric to determine how you need to improve your campaign.

Optimize your ad campaigns

Once you get into the habit of A/B testing your recruitment company ads and reviewing your results, you can implement a strategy to optimize your campaigns for improved results.

When optimizing:

  • Update your keyword list on Google Ads (FKA Google Adwords), Bing, and any other platforms you use
  • Re-write ad copy to perform better
  • Include social proof from existing customers higher up on the page 
  • Replicate results from A/B tests that have worked well
  • Create localized landing pages for anything that’s too generic
  • Improve site loading speed

The takeaway

While the strategies above will help you make an effective PPC marketing campaign, for your recruitment company, the truth is that creating a truly terrific PPC campaign goes far beyond a checklist. 

What’s more, with everything you have on your plate, it’s easy to let monitoring your PPC recruitment campaigns fall by the wayside.

We’re here for you – no, really. All of our paid search and SEO digital marketing pros are senior-level experts — no juniors here. Let our expert marketing team take the lead and help you manage your paid search campaigns so you can get the results you deserve and spend more time on all your other tasks at hand.

This article has been updated and was originally published in November 2022.

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