3 Ways to Avoid Wasting Money on Job Ads

September 17, 2014

“Let’s See How this One Job Goes…”

At least once a week a well-intentioned, thrifty hiring manager calls – intrigued about reaching an audience made exclusively of engineers in the United States and Canada – and submits a single job ad.

Usually, when we follow up and point out that it’s actually less expensive to post all of their open jobs than it is to submit a single ad month after month, we hear “well, we’re just trying you out. Let’s see how this one job goes.”

What you think you’re doing:

What you’re actually doing:

throwing money away
You think you’re paying less money and getting good information by testing one ad (usually your most difficult-to-hire or oldest job vacancy) when advertising on a new job board.

But here’s the thing: there are, on any given day, about 285,000 engineering and engineering technician jobs on (300,000 if you count Canada).

By “just trying” one job, your chances of being seen by the right person is very small.

The Math Behind Your Job Ad Being Seen

Engineers view roughly 5.5 job pages per session. For at least the first week your job is posted, anyone relevant will almost certainly see the job because it will always be at the very tippy top of those ~285,000 jobs.

Simply by posting the job with us directly, you’re instantly in the top 0.5% of jobs. As the aggregated engineering jobs below our exclusive listings churn, you’re always on top.


  • We see ≈ 7000 visitors per day on average (many more on Mondays, fewest on Saturdays).
  • About 90% of our visitors are new every month; meaning a whole new batch of engineers is reviewing available jobs every 30 days.
  • Some engineering disciplines are very, very small – for example, it’s estimated there are only 20,400 nuclear engineering jobs. And only 7,900 for mining engineers. Nationwide!
  • And… of these already small populations, you need an engineer in the right discipline, with the right experience, who either lives nearby or is willing to relocate.

Let’s visualize what this looks like in a best-case scenario using Mechanical Engineers:

hard to hire engineers

And if you’re only advertising a job for 8.2% of the year (30 days) you’re further limiting the chances one those 250-ish qualified, available, willing-to-relocate mechanical engineers will see the ad.

[dropshadowbox effect=”raised”]You are throwing money away because the person you’re looking for is so rare that they might happen by the site maybe once a year — and quite likely once every few years for very hard-to-fill positions.[/dropshadowbox]

Would you try to land a trophy fish by simply tossing a hook in the water off the edge of the dock for a couple of hours? Trying to use job boards this way is also a losing proposition. You’ll always be frustrated and will assume it just doesn’t work. Instead, you want to get as many hooks in the water as you can as well as focusing on what it takes to catch that trophy fish.

In the meantime, you can take the truckloads of money you saved by using us and spend it actually buying a fish finder – aka hiring a great recruiter.

3 Ways to Use Job Ads for Maximum ROI

The companies winning talent are those that either have very recognizable employer brands (think SpaceX, Google, Amazon) or those who play the numbers game well and recognize the vast majority (98%) of engineers are employed – but aren’t necessarily happy.

So what can you do to compete?

1 – Post All Your Open Jobs

If you don’t have a widely recognized employer brand at your disposal, you can build a strong employer brand for your company by posting all of your jobs. 

We are just inching away from the largest recession in our lifetimes. Though engineers did not bear the brunt of the layoffs, many of their workplaces were affected – production slowdowns, budget tightening – how many of them do you think have seen a pay raise in the last five years? How many engineers are being asked to do more with fewer resources or antiquated tools and technologies? How many are locked into dead-end positions because the person above them can’t afford to retire?

These are talented individuals ripe to be plucked by an employer who looks strong in the marketplace.

So what does “strong” look like? A company that can afford to hire new talent regularly. A company who, every time you casually check out open jobs during your Sunday night “I-dread-going-to-work-tomorrow” search, keeps popping up.

If you are that company and you’re hungry for talent – leverage this as position of strength. Post all of your jobs and become the company too ubiquitous to be ignored.

2 – Use a 90-Day Cycle

Engineers are enjoying about a 2% unemployment rate. This means the majority of engineers are working and probably aren’t looking for new work every day. Or even every week. Most engineers are passive candidates.

Your goal: When the engineer you need has a bad day at work, you want them to see your job ad.

Since so many of the engineers on our site pop in and out month to month and we know about 90% of our engineering population is new every 30 days, you’re at a tremendous disadvantage if you only advertise an open job for a month. At the very least, give it a 90-day cycle to increase the chances the right engineer sees your job when they’re looking.

3- Write Ads.

Job descriptions should be a marketing document NOT a compliance document #TalentNet

— Desiree Jacob (@desireejacob) September 12, 2014

It isn’t good enough for your job ad just to be “seen.” It has to sell the position you are trying to attract candidates for.

Finding the right engineering talent in the first place should be the hard part. Don’t complicate things even further by using a poorly written job description as your job ad. A small investment in time up front writing a great job ad will greatly improve your likelihood of success- and your ROI.

We Want You, and Our Engineers, to Succeed.

Admittedly we’re biased, but this lesson applies to all job boards – not just our own.

Go where the talent is but dislodge the expectation that testing one job (0.000350877% of all available jobs on site) over 30 days (8.2% of the year) will produce a statistically relevant result.

If you have the jobs, leverage that strength to pay comparatively little (in the case of posting 10 or more of your jobs costs less than manually posting 3) for maximum effect.

Not only do you dramatically increase the statistical likelihood the right engineer will see your job ad at the right time – it will actually save you money.

Photo Credit: photologue_np