Pay for performance advertising – Will it ever be implemented?

Ian Partington Talks…

Having run a job board business since 1999 the pay for performance model has been mentioned consistently, particularly from advertisers.

I understand the reason why advertisers would prefer this model rather than ‘gamble’ on placing an advert and crossing their fingers that they will get the one CV which will ensure they will appoint a candidate, thus getting a good ROL. However, what model would work best? When I ask this questions, I ask it with two hats on; 1) For the advertiser and 2) for the Job Board business. I guess there are a number of options:

  • PPC (Pay per click)
  • PPA (Pay per application)
  • PPCV (Pay per CV)
  • PPP (Pay per placement

Let’s look at each of these options in a bit more detail:


This is nothing new, Google and Indeed have been using it for years and it would assist the advertiser in a number of ways. It would drive traffic to their Corporate Recruitment site (assuming they have one), they would only pay for traffic the job board generated for them and they could set the PPC level they wanted.

On the flip side, it still wouldn’t guarantee any placements so they could spend money on driving poor traffic (which could be manipulated by the job board). Equally the job board wouldn’t generate the much sought after CV’s that it requires to build it’s CV database if it is driving applications elsewhere.


This is pretty much the same format as PPC but the advertiser only pays when an application is made (obviously). In my opinion there is far more merit in this option for both parties as opposed to PPC. My question would be though – what is a fair price for an application that both the advertiser and job board would be happy to charge/pay and should this change depending on the position? So – would an advertiser be happy to pay £100 per application for a Solicitor?? Or £10 for a admin assistant? What if they get lots of applications and spend loads of money but don’t make a placement – would they feel short changed? If so, is that the job boards fault?

Pay Per CV

This is a service by which an advertiser can search a CV/Resume database and pay for CV’s that they think are worthy of a call to interview. I believe the job boards should be responsible for ensuring that the CV’s have a submitted/updated date that is clear when searching so that a recruiter knows they aren’t paying for data that is years out of date. Much as with the PPA option I think there are merits for both parties but similar draw backs and questions around pricing and reward.

Pay Per Placement

This, of course, would be any advertisers preferred option but isn’t really viable for job boards (in my humble opinion) as there are intangibles that the job board would have to consider such as time frame, fee % and the ‘trust’ element. There are probably other models around but these cover the main ones for me and as I have stated, I think some are far more viable and win/win options for both parties.

So why haven’t mainstream Job Boards adopted any of these approaches? Is it something more operators should be open to? Or will things stay the same as they are?

Jobg8 – We are grateful to share Ian’s thoughts with our community. Watch this space for more blogs to come.



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