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The Future of Recruitment: Unpacking Indeed's PPAS Model

Stacey Shaw October 7, 2023
The Future of Recruitment: Unpacking Indeed's PPAS Model

The good news – Indeed’s pay-per-apply start model (PPAS) is working favorably for most industries and positions. In our early evaluation, a few weeks after its May 1st launch, we mentioned that the PPAS model had favorable results in the IT, engineering, and healthcare sectors. At that point we were hesitant to make a prediction about the restaurant industry’s performance.   

The Wicresoft team has continued to keep a close eye on client campaigns to ensure that performance does not decrease, while costs increase. We quickly saw continued improvements to most campaigns.  

Look at the Data

The results overall have been favorable:

  • Restaurant Industry: 16% decrease in apply starts, but 21% decrease in cost per apply start 
  • Healthcare Industry: 10% uptick in apply starts, with an 11% decrease in cost per apply start

Industry (1)

Evaluating industry-specific performance is crucial to understanding the model's effectiveness and making informed decisions. When we assess the results of campaigns, we take into consideration many conditions that will impact the job seeker volume – like the seasonality of hiring for the industry and the number of jobs posted. 

Overall, we believe that the PPAS model is beneficial to most organizations using Indeed's platform. Instead of capturing job seekers who click on every job to evaluate the qualifications and having to pay for these "peepers," cost is only incurred for those candidates who want to apply for the position. 

Tricking the Search Algorithm 

Another value of the PPAS model is not having to use budget for employers that continually search and click their own positions to ensure they are working correctly. We hear consistently from our Talent Acquisition partners that their Hiring Managers spend time reviewing their postings on Indeed. In the pay-per-click (PPC) model, this not only cost an organization part of its budget, but it also impacted the Indeed search algorithms as hiring managers are not job seekers and they do not: 

  • Search jobs using common search terms 
  • Apply for positions within their own company 
  • Have a current Indeed profile (resume) 

Conducting searches where you take no action ensures that Indeed will no longer serve up your positions to you. Their algorithm is geared toward job seekers and is always looking to improve the results to get more clicks, so when you search for a position and don’t act on your listing, they consider you uninterested in that position and start to remove it from your view.  

Talk about a sick cycle. If we can give any counsel on this, it is STOP the madness. If you want to know more, we cover this topic in detail in our Why Don’t I See My Jobs blog. 

What’s Next for Indeed’s Performance Model 

While still in beta and used for smaller Indeed customers, Indeed is working on a pay-per-qualified lead model. This format would allow employers 48-72 hours to review the applicants that have responded to their postings and determine if they have fully met the qualifications (employer pays for the application) or if they would like to decline the candidate, in which case the application cost is not deducted from their monthly allocation.  

Indeed VP and GM, Maggie Hulce, stated, “The main advantage of a pay-per-application model over a pay-per-click model is the reduction of unqualified, uninterested, and even fraudulent "clicks" that the employer pays for. With the new model, the employer pays only for what is truly wanted—a qualified candidate.” 

Pricing on either of these models is determined by labor market conditions for the job, including job location, job title, and available job seekers in the market. The more competitive the position and market, the more an employer will pay for the completed, qualified applications. We are expecting this model to be rolled out on a larger scale in 2024, once the nuances of accepting and declining candidates are determined with the applicant tracking systems.  


The move to the PPAS model is a significant change to recruitment marketing, and one that is proving to be beneficial to a majority of the organizations using Indeed's platform. It is also the prequel to Indeed moving to a pay-per-apply model, where organizations are allowed to assess the applicant's quality before paying for it.  

We encourage employers to work with their Talent Acquisition team or recruitment marketing agency to ensure that their campaigns are optimized for the PPAS model. If you have questions about optimizing your listings for the PPAS model, reach out to us!