For many companies, traditional job advertising can feel like an arbitrary, hit-or-miss operation. Carefully crafted job ads underperform for no apparent reason, or perhaps candidates don’t engage with postings the way recruiters expect. Less-than-desirable results often stem from an ad’s inability to speak to a job seeker’s needs. 

In the age of data and advanced tracking technologies, the post-and-pray approach should be a way of the past – especially if you’re hiring online. Not only do old-school methods lack effectiveness, but given emerging privacy concerns and a more stringent regulatory environment, they are no longer compliant. 

For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have influenced advertising in a profound way – organizations must now comply with strict mandates on how to collect and use an individual’s personally identifiable information (PII). Of course, these regulations also extend to employers and job advertising. 

So, how can talent acquisition teams replicate the success of permission marketing? Enter behavioral job advertising.

What is behavioral job advertising?

Since the mid-1990s, cookies have been used to track prospective customers as they navigate the web. Most importantly, cookies collect data that enables organizations to create a personalized user experience. 

This  is changing, however, as major industry players remove third-party cookies in response to privacy concerns and legislation. The domino effect, starting with Firefox back in 2019, now includes Safari and, most recently, market-leader Chrome. 

In the context of  job advertising, behavioral targeting refers to an approach which uses a candidate’s online behavior to serve timely and relevant job ads.

Job seekers, like consumers, want more relevant and personalized advertising recommendations. Behavioral job advertising captures anonymized behavioral data from various sources about a candidate’s job preferences and creates ads that are relevant to that specific candidate’s habits and interests. Think of how Netflix recommends movies and shows based on your past viewership data.

A cookie-less, behavioral job advertising approach can help talent acquisition teams to:

  • Improve the accuracy of their reporting on key metrics such as total number of applicants, cost-to-apply, cost-per-hire, and more
  • Understand the efficiency of sources 
  • Make job advertising more intent-driven for candidates
  • Optimize advertising spend

Bottom line, behavioral job advertising provides an accurate and compliant way to target relevant candidates for the jobs they want. 

Getting started with behavioral job advertising

While programmatic tools do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to behavioral advertising, talent acquisition teams still need the right technology stack to make the most of it, starting with the applicant tracking system (ATS). The ATS hosts rich data on candidate behavior: did a candidate visit the career page? Did they start an application? Where did they drop off? However, this data often has PII and must be anonymized before cookie-less targeting. While some platforms can do this automatically, organizations with legacy solutions may need to manually clean the data. 

In addition to integrating their ATS, employers looking to enrich their data may also want to pull from their candidate relationship management (CRM) solution. 

An intelligent advertising solution can ingest all historical sources, apply, and hire data – along with job feeds – to create lookalike audiences that help you reach the most relevant candidates for open positions.  


Behavioral targeting removes the guesswork from job advertising and offers better conversion rates. But, displaying targeted ads is one thing; being able to acquire candidates through the right messaging based on their data is the goal. 

So, while creating your job advertising plan, devise a nurturing and retargeting plan to make the most of your behavioral targeting data. To be discussed in an upcoming blog!

To learn more about Joveo’s programmatic offering, schedule a demo and see our platform in action. And follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, where we’re always working to help you get the most out of your recruitment advertising.