5 Ways to Lower Candidate Acquisition Cost

One of the most important metrics we talk to recruitment teams about is their cost to acquire candidates (Formerly known as Cost Per Hire).  The balance between CAC and Candidate Quality has long been a delicate one, and in a department where every dollar counts, maximizing your recruitment marketing budget is an important skill for any recruitment marketer to have.

Here are 5 ways that you can lower your Candidate Acquisition Cost.

Advertising Costs

While this one is obvious, it still needs to be mentioned and examined.  When setting your recruitment marketing budget you have to consider production costs, internal costs (marketing team etc), job board costs, social media ad spend, employee referral bonuses, on-site recruitment events and of course technology.

Unfortunately, while this has a large impact on the success of your hiring campaign, most organizations cut budget first when trying to save on their CAC.  This is like cutting sales positions when trying to save money, instead of investing in sales to increase revenue.  It is important to remember that your marketing efforts will also make your outbound sourcing much easier and candidates will be more aware of your company/brand.

While cutting the budget isn’t the answer to lowering your CAC, you can be much more efficient with your spending.  Using automation, retargeting, candidate personas and understanding your candidate journey will allow you to be much more focused on your advertising efforts. Also, tracking each campaign and watching for patterns will help you to understand what is working and what isn’t to allow you to spend more effectively.

Create Candidate Profiles

The first step to being more strategic with your advertising costs is to know who you are advertising to.  When talking about Candidate Profiles, most recruiters think about skills and competencies but a true candidate profile goes far beyond that.  

A well-crafted Candidate Profile puts you in the shoes of the candidate. It is a crucial first step in understanding the candidate journey and creating a much better candidate experience. It will help you to understand what the perfect candidate is looking for in their job search, where to find them, and how to better engage them.

Want to know how to create an Ideal Candidate Profile?  Download our guide here

Nurture Talent

The idea of building talent communities is so 2011 (ok that’s as far back as I could find on Google) but you get my point.  While poorly executed for so many years, talent communities of today is having the right content to engage and nurture talent based on their interests.  Again, this is where having a candidate profile is important as it will not only help you identify what your potential talent is interested in but what channels they use to consume this content.  Is it Facebook, Twitter, Slack, Tik Tok or all of the above?  

Ask yourself, how many candidates do I have sitting in my ATS right now?  This is all talent that is wasting away in what I like to call the Dead Sea, a big reservoir of useless data.  Your ATS is a great way to manage your openings and recruitment workflow, but let’s face it, it sucks when it comes to nurturing talent.  How many silver medalists are in that pool?  

Using a CRM or Automation tool, you can bring that data back to life by sending out the right content to each of those silver medalists.  On top of all those potential candidates, think of those candidates that check you out but don’t apply.  Tapping into all of this missing data and leveraging it can dramatically reduce the time it takes to fill future roles.  While time to fill can be a dangerous metric, cost per vacancy is one that must be measured and the longer a job sits open the more it costs in overtime, downtime, lost revenue etc.

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Ok, this is a bit of a repeat from above (advertising costs) but I feel like this is an area that we do not leverage enough in recruitment marketing.  According to Appcast, 92% of candidates don’t finish job applications.  Unless you have a requirement for candidates to complete a registration process to apply for jobs (and no you should not have one), most organizations have 0 data on those candidates that click on their job ads or even the apply now button but never complete the application.  

Tracking candidates who visit your career page, engaging with content on the page (say that YouTube video you spent so much time and money creating), and especially those that click Apply Now is extremely important.  These potential rock stars are interested in your company, but either the time isn’t right, that particular job didn’t interest them or some other reason kept them from applying.  Tracking these anonymous users and retargeting them with engaging content has the same effect as nurturing your existing talent pool.  In fact, I’d say it is almost more important. 


The time your internal team spends on sourcing, advertising and nurturing candidates all costs money.  A lot of work has gone into automating workflows in the recruitment process such as scheduling interviews, automated emails, email sequencing etc. but now automation can be used to alleviate your recruitment marketing team from having to do those repetitive marketing tasks over and over again.    Imagine being able to have someone watch all of your content online and say if someone does this (say watch a video) then I want to do this.  That is what marketing automation does.  

With marketing automation, retargeting and nurturing candidates at scale will become a breeze.  Your candidate journey gets driven by the candidate themselves and it is personal and different for each and every candidate that visits your content.  By leveraging automation with the above strategies, you can reduce your CAC by as much as 50% in some cases.  


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