Recruiting Ads In Podcasts – Hire The Most Impactful Candidates, Continuous Learners (The complete guide for recruiting in podcasts)

Learning ability is the #1 predictor of job success, and continuous learners listen to podcasts. Yes, Google, the world’s only data-driven recruiting machine, uses this learning ability criteria for every job.

These hires are so impactful because continuous learners not only bring a great deal of knowledge to the job. However, sharing that learning also helps their team grow, and learning leads directly to innovation, the most valuable employee behavior. These podcast recruitment ads excel because they allow you to get the attention of employed continuous learners when they are not expecting a recruiting pitch.

This tool also adds a competitive advantage because most organizations have never heard of it. I have found that once you find out about the many benefits of this mostly hidden recruiting tool, you’ll wonder out loud why you haven’t tried it.

Part I – The Multitude Of Benefits That Come From Recruiting On Podcasts

We all know that the very best recruiters listen to podcasts in order to learn about emerging recruiting practices. However, few recruiters seem to realize that listening to functional podcasts is also a common practice among the very best recruiting targets. So, suppose you’re looking to add a powerful recruiting tool to your mix. In that case, the first step for smart recruiters is to educate yourself about the many significant benefits that accrue to recruiting functions that use this amazing podcast source. Incidentally, the most impactful ones are listed first in the following list of benefits.

Top seven benefits – covering the audience that they attract and their effectiveness at selling 

  • Podcasts are an ideal passive candidate source – this recruiting tool reaches the so-called passive candidate (a.k.a. non-job seeking employed professionals). Recruiting using a “passive source” is highly desirable. Often, 80% % of the recruiting sources are used by recruiting functions or only designed to attract the less desirable active job seekers, and for those that don’t know why, these “not actively looking employed candidates” are the ideal recruiting targets. These targets are often superior because their experience and training are up-to-date. And during this time of frequent layoffs, their current organization has determined they are “keepers.” 
  • Continuous learners are the ideal recruiting target – corporations like Google, Netflix, and Apple have found that these continuous learners become the most effective new hires. First, by regularly learning from podcasts, they are continually trying to improve. Next, they become great employees because they are voluntarily listening. Which makes them “self-directed learners” (this is important when corporate L&D budgets are low). Finally, their listening doesn’t take away from their work hours because many listen to podcasts outside the normal 9 to 5 hours. 
  • Podcasts reach a large, sophisticated audience that includes early adopters – Podcast research reveals that 38% of US adults listen to podcasts at least once a month. And the average podcast listener is a sophisticated target because podcast listeners are more likely to have a college degree and a $100k+ income. And if you care about innovation, you will be happy to learn that podcast listeners are also “early adopters,” which is a critical candidate trait if your organization needs to remain on the leading edge.
  • Podcasts attract busy professionals – podcasts attract busy professionals. Who are often the most desirable candidates. These recruiting targets are busy because their leaders assign them the most important work. Unfortunately, their heavy workload generally precludes them from “normal” learning (i.e., attending seminars, reading books, or watching a scheduled webinar. However, because podcasts are relatively short, there are multiple times that they can fit into a busy person’s schedule before, during, and after work. And because they are completely vocal. They don’t require 100% attention, so that they can be listened to at lunch, during commutes, and physical workouts. This means that podcasts are often the only regularly available learning source for busy professionals. 
  • Your podcast audience will precisely fit your open job – obviously, your recruitment ads will have the highest impact. If they are placed in podcasts that cover the same advanced knowledge, problems, and skills needed to succeed in your open job. That means that the first selection criteria for a podcast should be that it targets either your industry or the job function of your open job. Fortunately, most podcast owners can tell you whatever you need to know about the characteristics and the demographics of the audience for each of their podcasts. You should also consider advertising on the podcasts frequently listened to by your employees currently working in your target job. Matching the podcast subject coverage area with your open job will ensure that your recruitment advertising dollars aren’t wasted on listeners you don’t care about.
  • Podcast ads may help you improve your diversity recruiting – podcasts can be especially effective for attracting diverse candidates. You can reach that goal if your podcast ads highlight your emphasis and successes in diversity recruiting. Also, be sure to include the company/job factors and “keywords/phrases” that have been proven to attract diverse candidates. If you create your own podcasts, offering them in other popular languages may also improve your diversity results. 
  • Podcast ads are effective at selling – broad research on podcasts has shown that they are effective at selling. At least in the consumer space, research has shown that “61% of podcast listeners have bought something after hearing a podcast ad.” Where, unfortunately, in direct contrast, only 3% of job ad viewers actually apply. Unfortunately, no public data shows how effective recruiting ads in podcasts can be. 

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Additional benefits that recruiting leaders will care about

  • Podcast ads are easy to create – because your podcast ads will be brief and 100% vocal. Developing them won’t require technical skills or much manager or recruiter time. And their ease of development will mean that they can be changed or updated frequently without much effort.
  • Podcast recruiting is inexpensive – podcast ads are relatively cheap compared to recruitment advertising. You should know that with today’s proliferation of podcasts. Not only do owners welcome ads, but their ad prices are likely to be quite reasonable. You should know that the cost of an individual ad will vary depending on the podcast’s popularity. And whether the ad is placed at the podcast’s beginning, middle, or end. 
  • Your podcast ads will face little recruiting competition – of course, placing product ads within podcasts isn’t new. However, placing recruiting ads in them “hasn’t caught on as much in the field of recruitment.” As a result, a simple Google search on this recruiting practice will reveal that very little has been written about the emerging practice of placing recruiting ads in podcasts. This means that your podcast ads will face less competition from other recruitment ads. And the competition will be negligible compared to the ad competition you face on traditional job posting sites. You should also know that to maintain the continuous attention of listeners, there may be only three ads in an entire podcast. And that means that there will be an excellent chance that your recruiting ad will be the only ad covering career opportunities. Incidentally, if you choose to sponsor the entire podcast, you will literally have no ad competition.
  • This innovative practice may help build your external employer brand image – because podcast recruiting is new and innovative and utilizes modern technology. Your use of this practice will likely be discussed among potential recruits (especially new generations). So, this positive talk may boost your overall external brand image and future recruiting.

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Part II – Action Steps For Increasing The Impact Of Your Podcast Ads

If you decide to conduct a trial of this innovative approach. Below, you will find several tips that will help you produce positive results immediately.

  • The most effective ads don’t come across as recruiting ads – because podcast listeners are generally not job seekers, they may not expect or even welcome a recruiting ad. So when your ad begins, avoid all talk about recruiting and open jobs. Instead, consider talking about your organization and the impressive things you are doing in the subject area covered by the podcast. Only toward the end should the ad subtly mention recruiting and how to apply. And if you place multiple ads during the podcast, the first one should be exclusively about the company.
  • Recruitment ads should be tailored to the podcast’s subject matter – running the same ad in every podcast is a huge mistake. The most effective recruiting ads are those whose content closely matches a podcast’s subject. So, whenever possible, the content of your ad should continually refer to the subject matter. For example, in a podcast that covers the emerging uses for AI. Your recruitment ad could mention that your corporation is doing excellent work and growing in all areas of AI. Obviously, if you mention specific job openings in the ad, those openings should always be in the same subject area. Incidentally, when the hiring manager is a participant during the entire podcast or when they mention who they are during the vocalization of the ad itself. You increase the chances that your ad will be listened to and remembered. 
  • Use data to select which podcasts to advertise on – rather than using your intuition or trial and error. In order to ensure success, you must use data to make your initial choice of podcasts. I recommend you survey a handful of your employees working in the area where you have open jobs. Identify which podcasts they listen to and what “attraction words” in the ad would excite them. Right before their job interviews, you can also ask the same questions to current candidates for your open jobs. And obviously, to continually improve, the leader of the effort must also develop success metrics. 
  • Use texting to link listeners to your recruiting site – unless the podcast has a visual component. The best way to quickly get listeners to apply is during or immediately after the podcast. Give them a text number that will instantly respond and connect them to that application site.
  • Pretest your ads – to limit embarrassment and increase your ads’ attractiveness. Each one should be pretested with a focus group.
  • Solicit the help of others – if your organization’s advertising department places ads in podcasts. You can shorten your learning curve by reaching out to them. It also makes sense to work with the podcast presenter to ensure that the podcast covers subject matter areas where your organization excels.
  • Consider creating and presenting your own podcasts – you can supplement your recruiting on established podcasts by offering your own podcasts. If you do, the fact that the participants will be real employees from your corporation will make both the podcast and the ads more attractive. And with total control over podcast content, you can ensure that your organization’s best practices in the subject area come across effectively. Incidentally, in some cases, you should also consider posting a video version of the same podcast on YouTube. Or short clips from the podcast on TikTok or Instagram Reels. 
If you only do one thing – ask every new hire in a high-volume hiring job family during onboarding to give you the name of their most listened-to podcast. And then place at least two recruiting ads in one edition of that most favored podcast. Within each ad, ask any listeners who decide to apply to mention a specific job code in their application (i.e., pcast). If you get even one “pcast” response, consider your podcast recruiting trial effort to be a success. 

Final Thoughts

I’ve been writing about the importance of employee learning for almost a decade (you can learn more about that broader topic here). Because in our fast-changing world, continuous self-directed learning may literally be the most important employee capability that you should be recruiting for. So if your organization requires learning and knowledge and a jumpstart in innovation, I can’t recommend a more appropriate recruiting source than placing recruiting ads within podcasts covering the relevant technical topics for your open jobs. And do it quickly before others learn about this hidden but powerful recruiting tool.

Author’s Note 

  • Please spread these ideas by sharing this article with your team/network and by posting it on your favorite media.
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About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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