7 Essential Recruitment Marketing Tools (and How to Use Them)

July 12, 2018

Data is that overachiever we all hate—never wrong, always telling the truth, wants to contradict popular opinion, and yet always seems to be the most popular one in the room. Has anyone ever told you, “That’s not what the data says”? Me too.

But, while I want to hate data, the truth is I can’t live without it. That’s because I work in the world of recruitment marketing where my goal is to help companies use marketing strategies—think job ads, paid media, social media, etc.—to attract top talent. It’s only by looking at data and results from each marketing activity that I can understand candidate behaviors and make decisions that will optimize what companies are investing in.

But while this has become my everyday world, I realize that many recruiters (or anyone hiring) often shy away from getting too deep into the analytics—often because they aren’t sure which tools to use or what data to track. To help make this all simpler, my fellow data nerd, Ryan Christoi, and I presented at last year's Talent Connect on exactly how talent acquisition teams can use recruitment marketing analytics to get insights on prospective talent, attract them, and increase quality of hire.

In this post, I’ve listed some of the best tools you can use to collect, organize, and analyze data. While I don’t have everything figured out yet, I’ve worked hard to find ways to be that annoying overachiever with data—and can help you do the same.

1. Use Google Analytics to understand exactly where your candidates are coming from

Recruiting teams can use Google Analytics to understand which outlets are bringing potential candidates to your website or career site. This is helpful because it means you can easily see if you are getting visitors from your paid ads as well as organic (i.e. free) traffic (meaning they searched for your company or job online).

Here’s an example of what you might see in your Google Analytics dashboard:

Having this information helps you understand which job boards or job ads are serving you best so you can make informed decisions on where to spend your budget. It will also show you if you need to invest more time into a search engine optimization strategy (SEO) so that you are getting more free traffic to your website from Google or other search engines.

In addition, you can use Google Analytics to set up cross-domain tracking between your ATS, career site, and CRM. It can track all of them at the same time in order to give you a full line of sight from initial candidate entry to a completed application so you can deeply understand candidate behaviors and optimize your marketing activities if needed.

At KRT Marketing, we think Google Analytics is one of the best tools out there for recruitment marketing (and more). Plus, it’s free! We believe in it so much we make all KRT employees get Google Analytics certified, even our accountants.

2. Use URL tracking tags to easily see how each recruitment marketing activity is performing

When you post a job ad or job post, you can add specific tags (aka queries) to your URLs that enable you to easily find and monitor how they are performing in Google Analytics and your ATS. This is important because it makes it easy for you to track your top sources of talent—and discontinue using marketing activities that aren’t bringing in candidates.

For example, suppose your job link is this:


By adding (appending) a tracking query to your URL, you can automate data collection in your ATS and web analytics tool.

Here’s an example of a tracking query you might add to the end of the above job post link:


  • ? = triggers a tracking query after the URL.
  • & = used to separate multiple variables in the query.
  • UTM = Google Analytic tracking parameters. These will show up in your Google Analytics data.
  • The last variable (&source=linkedin) is the ATS source ID, which can be labeled differently depending on the ATS you use.

The final URL looks like this:

company.com/job123/job-title/ utm_source=linkedin&utm_campaign=engineers&source=linkedin

Google offers a simple URL builder tool to help append your links with tracking tags, but a URL builder template the whole team can use is the best way to accomplish URL tracking on a large scale, like this one:

You can download this exact URL tracking template here.

3. Leverage a career site platform to make the data you are collecting easy to organize and analyze

When you’re collecting recruitment marketing data, it’s coming from a lot of different sources (job ads, social media, etc.). Because of that, it’s difficult to organize and analyze at all.

But, a career site platform can help by centralizing those data points and reducing the number of sources that are providing you with data.

Some examples of career site platform technologies are Phenom People, Smashfly, and Clinch. Career site platforms can centralize the user experience, including the job search and the application process, making it 10x easier to produce accurate data that you can analyze.

4. Use programmatic job ads with your pay-per-click campaigns to save money

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has been around for a while, but programmatic job ads is a new technology that uses software and real-time click and application conversion data to control and optimize your job campaigns.

Every time a candidate applies to a job with PPC, it records it and you can use that data to optimize that campaign. For example, if you set a budget for 10 job ads and say you only want to spend $100 per ad, once it hits that budget for one of the ads it will be shut off and the other jobs ads will remain active.

I’ve learned one thing in the two years that I have worked on programmatic job ad campaigns: software is better at PPC advertising than humans are.

5. Organize data in a marketing funnel to understand how much awareness you need to create in order to reach your hiring goals 

Just like in marketing, recruitment marketing works like a funnel: At the very top you have awareness (ads, social media, blog, etc.) and at the bottom you have intent (applying for a job). A talent attraction funnel helps you organize all the data from the first interaction to the last in order for you to know how much awareness you need to drive in order to get the hires you need.

Here's what it can look like:

The first-interaction data leads to final conversion data (e.g. Impressions >> Clicks >> Apply Starts >> Completed Applications >> Interview >> Offer). Once you secure a good process to collect accurate data, you can create a funnel in Excel or a data visualization tool that you can scale by location, job category, and source.

Nerd alert! Here’s how funnel data can shape your next conversation with your executive team.

“Based on historical data, our average apply conversion rate of 11% suggests we need 55,000 clicks to generate 6,000 applications, which is what we need to make 285 hires if we expect our apply-to-hire ratio of 24 to remain the same. With an average CPC of $0.81 we’ve seen over the last six months, we need a budget of $33,000 to make 185 hires, assuming we can make 35% of our hires through organic (free) resources.”

See you later, gut feeling. Helloooooo, data. I love you.

6. Use data visualization tools to make your insights more compelling

While Excel can get the job done, using a data visualization will not only make it easier to understand the data—it can also help you make your case more compelling if you are trying to convince other parts of the business or your boss that you need to start/stop doing something. For example, it can help you showcase trends or compare different vendors you are using.

The data visualization tool Tableau is a household name for data enthusiasts—and for good reason: It can handle more data than your laptop can store, and it forces you to be precise. Here's how it looks:

Domo and Google Data Studio are excellent choices too, just to name a couple.

7. If you don’t have a big budget, Excel and Google Sheets are your friends

If you don’t have the budget to invest in a career site platform and other tools, you can still do a lot in Google Analytics and Excel. They are both free(ish) and can still handle large data analysis jobs, but not too large. If Excel didn’t bog down after hitting 50MB, it might be my number one choice for all things data. For example, advanced features such as Slicers and Regression Analysis don’t exist in many other data visualization tools.  

In addition, you can use Excel to build pivot tables and slice and dice data. If you don’t know how to pivot, watch these tutorials. If anything, you will impress your colleagues (and your boss) the next time you need to navigate 300,000 rows of data exported from your ATS.

Final thoughts

This list might only scratch the surface, but whatever tools you look to use for recruitment marketing, think of how they will help you collect, organize and analyze data. Those three things represent the lifecycle of tracking and analytics. Always think in questions:

  • Will this tool collect what I need to make informed decisions?
  • Can this tool help me organize and scale reporting for me and my stakeholders?
  • Which tool can provide me with easy-to-use dashboards or analysis?
  • Bonus question: Will I look cool in a geeky kind of way?

You can also refer to this handy list as a reminder of what you can and should track:

Having the right tools and processes will help your team make decisions on where you spend your budget and understand what aspects of your marketing efforts need work. So if you’re in the business of talent attraction and you haven’t embraced data yet, I invite you into our little nerdy circle of overachievers.

Eric Holwell is the Vice President of Operations at KRT Marketing, a data-driven recruitment marketing firm that helps large growing companies build smart and measurable talent attraction programs.

For more content like this, join us at Talent Connect this year in Anaheim, CA from October 9-11. Register here!