Customs and Border Protection Addresses Staffing Challenges with Recruitment and Branding Efforts

Case Study - Strategic Engagement

Customs and Border Protection Addresses Staffing Challenges with Recruitment and Branding Efforts

Posted on 12.17.22

CBP wanted to attract an increased number of diverse candidates to open positions

Historically, CBP has found that recruitment numbers decrease significantly without active marketing and advertising. Past efforts yielded viable candidates during certain times of the year when job seekers are more active. However, CBP’s applicant pipeline would dwindle without ongoing diligent efforts.

Among the public, CBP is often associated with Border Patrol Agents. But many positions support the agency’s broad mission, including jobs facilitating trade into and out of the country, conducting forensic work and monitoring air and waterways for security threats. CBP wanted to expand awareness of its role and garner interest in positions across all agency offices.

CBP understood it needed a fresh approach to communicating job and career opportunities and connecting with potential candidates. The agency partnered with Aptive to design a new, creative strategy for marketing and advertising that would have a more focused approach than previous, broader efforts.


A focused recruitment approach that creatively targets specific audiences with a high return on investment: Aptive experts have extensive knowledge of federal recruitment, enterprise-level marketing project management and media buying. Cohesive teams of subject matter experts in data analysis, communications, media analytics and project management collaborate to provide custom, creative solutions to recruitment and retention challenges.

Improved branding

Before CBP could expand its reach to job seekers, it needed to update its branding. CBP gathered a new portfolio of images of employees in action to highlight the exciting components of various jobs. Lively images communicate the importance of the agency’s work and help drive associated calls to action. Aptive created intriguing copy to complement CBP’s new action imagery for greater impact across different mediums.

Specific audience targets

CBP’s broad, past recruitment efforts failed to yield the number of quality candidates the agency sought. Therefore, one of Aptive’s primary focuses was determining which audiences would generate significant leads and the best ways to reach those candidates. The project team promoted job opportunities across major job search platforms as well as smaller, niche job boards. While niche job boards have smaller overall audiences, those audiences are highly focused on the types of opportunities CBP offers. Long term, this approach yields a high return on investment.

Expansion of CBP’s digital presence

Using fresh action imagery, CBP ran engaging ads over social media to increase awareness of agency opportunities. Recently, Aptive introduced CBP to its first, self-hosted virtual career expositions. The expos exceeded attendance expectations and drove a high conversion of applicants into the pipeline.


Concerted efforts consistently generate increased impressions and applications

Since employing new recruitment and marketing strategies, CBP has seen increased interest in job opportunities, especially among women and ethnic minority groups who can help the agency better reflect the nation’s diverse communities. In the first year of effort, CBP saw an average 21% growth rate for job leads. In addition, marketing and advertising strategies yielded:

  • Over 32,000 viable applicants
  • An average of $19.72 cost per JOA view and a 10.38% JOA click-through rate, which exceeds industry standards for cost-per-click and click-through rates

Aptive found creative ways to improve CBP’s presence in a crowded marketplace, including acquiring $15,000 worth of free ad space through a video vendor and using free air space on the Armed Forces Network and Veterans News Network. In addition, CBP’s career expos were highly successful, resulting in about one-third of attendees applying for positions.