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Using RSS Feeds in Recruiting

Using RSS Feeds in Recruiting

Apr 5, 2010

I have a friend who has his own consulting business was describing some pretty cool RSS functionality he’s been using. One of his customers has an order system that gets input into theirs salesforce.com system. Each night, any orders get sent to my friend’s system through RSS. The RSS integration has been engineered not only to take the orders that are in Salesforce.com, but also to pick up additional information along the way. For example, if there are documents associated with the order, those documents are added to the RSS feed. At the end of the integration stream, there is not just a file of the RSS order, but basically every piece of information that they need to execute the work, not just process the order.

As I think about RSS for recruiting, I don’t actually think about the obvious things like having feeds go to job boards. I’m actually thinking of possibilities around applicant and new hire data. For applicant data, I wonder if the data can go out through and RSS feed, and a matching program written to see if they are already in any of the existing databases for ex-employees or agency contacts that might sit in other databases. If not, there are then various other possibilities for the RSS. For example, if applicants are turned into real interview candidates, it’s possible to then take the information and further parse out RSS feeds in XML formats (since RSS is already and XML format) to create requests to your background check vendors and start getting degree verifications, security clearance verifications or anything else you might need.

The new hire is another interesting place where RSS can be used to collect data for you. An RSS new hire feed can also be used to trigger a program that will collect all of the new hire information, attach any resume files, and any other pertinent information that needs to be placed into the hands of the end user/processor. This data can then be automatically fed into the core HRMS system, but the same data set can also be used to set up any employee files and feed the onboarding system.

Today, we already use automated file transfers for many of the described processes. However, most native API’s don’t always fit into our unique scheming of how we would like a process to work for our own organizations. The workarounds or re-tooling of interfaces is often more costly than using something simple like RSS and creating some programming code around it.

Years ago (ok, 2 years ago) when RSS was first gaining mainstream adoption, we were all really excited about the possibilities of RSS, but we have slowly lost the visibility not only to what it could do for us, but to the low level of cost and implementation effort associated with it. In these years of leaner implementation budgets, perhaps it’s time to look at RSS with fresh eyes again.

3 comments

  1. I often wondered why RSS wasn’t being picked up as a lightweight agile method for moving actionable data around to users. I never got a satisfactory reason and suspected that being outside vendor’s methodologies and architectures was the problem. If the system architects won’t bless it, it won’t happen in most enterprises.

  2. Moving data around systems involves two processes:
    - publising that data to interested parties
    - interpreting that data

    RSS was originally developed to publish. But not to publish anything. The goal was to distribute news, posts, etc. Anything related to the publishing industry. This reflects in what ios the core of the RSS specification: title, link, description.
    Of course, you can use RSS to publish anything by adding more data to the RSS feed.

    But you still have to deal with the interpretation of content. While you can put the name (e.g. “Romuald Restout”) of the new hire in the “title” field of your RSS feed, the receiving system still needs to know what is what, i.e. is “Romuald” the first or the last name? You need this information not so much for displaying to the user, but for all further processes. Running a background check on Restout Romuald or Romuald Restout might lead to very different results!
    And I am not even starting with all the remaining fields you can find in New Hire Data.

    So to summarize, I believe you can use RSS as the distibution mechanism but you still need additional standards such as HR-XML (www.hr-XML.org) to have a common structure for the data.

  3. Moving data around systems involves two processes:
    - publising that data to interested parties
    - interpreting that data

    RSS was originally developed to publish. But not to publish anything. The goal was to distribute news, posts, etc. Anything related to the publishing industry. This reflects in what ios the core of the RSS specification: title, link, description.
    Of course, you can use RSS to publish anything by adding more data to the RSS feed.

    But you still have to deal with the interpretation of content. While you can put the name (e.g. “Romuald Restout”) of the new hire in the “title” field of your RSS feed, the receiving system still needs to know what is what, i.e. is “Romuald” the first or the last name? You need this information not so much for displaying to the user, but for all further processes. Running a background check on Restout Romuald or Romuald Restout might lead to very different results!
    And I am not even starting with all the remaining fields you can find in New Hire Data.

    So to summarize, I believe you can use RSS as the distibution mechanism but you still need additional standards such as HR-XML (www.hr-XML.org) to have a common structure for the data.

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