3 creative ways to use OOH ads to find, recruit, and hire new employees

The world has started to open up again, even though the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t completely in the rear-view mirror just yet. But now, as businesses gear up quickly to operate at full capacity, they’re hitting a snag: Finding new employees to fill open roles is proving to be much greater of a challenge than anyone anticipated. From manufacturing to transportation to hospitality—and many other sectors in between—many industries are facing significant labor shortages in what’s shaping up to be quite the job seeker’s market.

After over a year and a half of people’s livelihood being held in the balance—propped up by various rounds of stimulus—many Americans have now found themselves faced with a ton of future employment options, making this a job seeker’s market like we’ve never seen before. This has caused employers to rethink compensation and other perks in order to attract employees back to work. According to the Washington Post, “Americans are quitting their jobs at record rates as employers poach workers with raises, bonuses, and perks,” giving employees even more leverage to demand higher wages and other fringe benefits.

And while all signs are pointing to booming post-pandemic economic growth, a lot of that hinges on bringing the economy back up to full employment. CNN points out that “demand for goods is skyrocketing as the U.S. economy reopens from the pandemic, [but the only problem is that] American factories can’t find enough people to do the work.”

This is especially the case for the hospitality industry, where there were around 1.4 million job openings at restaurants and hotels in April. Unfortunately, instead of being able to fill up dining rooms and venues at 100% capacity, “many restaurants are being forced to cut operating hours or leave tables open” because they can’t seem to hire back employees fast enough.

Long story short: Employers have had no choice but to get a bit more creative to not only find job seekers to fill open roles but also be able to entice them with compelling offers. Of course, traditional recruitment platforms are still very much part of the equation. But we’ve seen a few companies take what you might consider to be a less traditional path to recruitment: leveraging out-of-home billboards to pique the interest of job seekers in new ways.

Remember: The same design best practices that apply to billboard ads, in general, apply to OOH creative for recruitment purposes as well: simple messaging, clean layout, and clear call-to-action.

What makes OOH advertising a strong recruitment tool?

In the past, out-of-home advertising might not have been the first place a recruiter would look to get the word out about job openings. But with labor shortages now significantly impacting business productivity, they’ve had to cast a wider net. The good news is that out-of-home advertising is the perfect medium for doing just that. Here’s why:

  • OOH ads are perfect for reaching commuters: Although there are still a lot of people working from home, commuter traffic has definitely seen a continued upward tick over the past few months. This means that people are not only moving around a lot more than they had during much of the pandemic, but that they’re also out and about in the real world where out-of-home advertising can reach them. Once the daily commuting grind is back in full force, Americans will easily be spending an average of 152+ hours—the equivalent of 19 full work days—in their cars. A good chunk of that time will undoubtedly be spent sitting in traffic, giving commuters even more time to digest the billboards along their route to work.
  • OOH ads are cost-effective: We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again: Out-of-home advertising offers the lowest CPMs of any traditional medium—and can be quite competitive against digital media pricing, too. If you don’t have a lot of budget to throw around, but still need to find new ways of reaching potential job candidates, OOH ads provide a cost-effective way to reach a broader swath of candidates that might unintentionally get missed via other more traditional recruitment channels.  
  • OOH ads drive high impact: One of the biggest advantages of out-of-home advertising is that a given ad unit typically stays in place for an extended period of time. This alone raises the probability of message pull-through over time. While a passerby may miss a billboard the first time around, after passing through the same area over and over again, the message is bound to stick. And in the absence of any ad blockers—after all, you can’t “turn off” OOH ads—the creative itself becomes a repetitive drum beat that imprints in people’s minds, whether they even realize it or not.
  • OOH ads can amplify other recruitment channels: According to Neilsen’s OOH Online Activation Survey, out-of-home has been found to be the most effective traditional (or offline) medium to drive online activity, capable of delivering up to four times more online activity per dollar spent versus TV, radio, and print. In other words, using OOH ads for recruitment is a great way to add a little more marketing muscle to your other online and offline recruitment tactics.

How to use OOH advertising for recruitment

Because out-of-home advertising is such a versatile medium, there are a lot of different—and really creative—ways you can use it to light up your recruitment efforts. Here are a few tips for optimizing your OOH ads to ensure they drive the biggest impact possible.

Tip 1: Proximity Targeting

Whether you want to target and reach potential candidates near your business locations or along popular commuting routes, AdQuick’s intuitive map-based interface makes it easy to pinpoint billboard ad units in any and every area you choose. And if you are recruiting for multiple office locations, that’s easy, too, with the help of our ‘bulk upload’ tool.

Tip 2: Audience Targeting

If physical proximity to an office location isn’t a key recruitment factor for your business, but finding the right candidates is, then look no further than AdQuick’s advanced audience targeting capabilities to place billboard ads in markets where your ideal candidates most likely reside.

Tip 3: Competitive Conquesting

If you work in a niche industry or are trying to poach highly qualified candidates from competitor businesses, why not launch a “billboard war” by placing OOH ads close proximity to your competitors’ places of business. It might seem a bit aggressive at first, but given how hard it is to find qualified talent in today’s competitive job market, sometimes you’ve just got to take the gloves off and strategically invade ‘enemy’ territory.

Freight shipping and trucking company, 5th Floor Freight, worked with AdQuick to place highly effective recruitment billboard ads near their competitor’s headquarters in a matter of days. 

Make OOH advertising your new recruitment workhorse

If you’ve struggled to get more candidates to apply to fill open positions, it might be time to try a few new marketing tactics to spread the word. For all of the reasons stated above—and a lot more—out-of-home advertising can easily become the secret recruiting weapon you’ve been looking for. Whatever you do, be sure to follow the general out-of-home advertising design best practices to ensure your billboard campaigns are as effective as possible. This includes creating a simple yet compelling headline message, a clean and clutter-free layout, and a bold call-to-action. Then it’s just a matter of watching those job applications roll in!

To learn more about how you can amplify your recruitment efforts with out-of-home advertising, request a demo with our team today.