March 20, 2003

RSS For Employment Websites

I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere else yet and it just seems so damn obvious and worth pointing out. I know RSS hasn’t caught on in a big way yet with the mainstream but some of us are completely hooked on it. For me, there’s the web browser, email client, IM client, and RSS aggregator. That’s the holy quadrangle of killer internet applications. RSS is a phenomenal format for syndicating news content but the leap to job listings is so obvious and so easy I’m amazed I haven’t come across it anywhere yet.

Here’s the ideal scenario: Some poor bastard gets canned from their job and starts the long, painful process of finding a new one. Right now, they’d probably go to Monster or (gasp!) HotJobs or any number of corporate websites. They’d search the respective databases. They might find some things worth applying for (browser), they might even submit their email information and build a job agent (email), but what would be truly convenient for these job seekers would be to subscribe to these sites’ as-yet-nonexistent RSS feeds (aggregator) and have the jobs they’re interested in pushed to them as they become available.

You’re now asking, “Isn’t this just like a job agent?” Well, yes and no. Email doesn’t aggregate, it clutters. It becomes annoying. Email forces you to deal with processing a perpetual stream of incoming messages, RSS passively degrades posts as they reach a certain age. Moreover, I’ve never enjoyed getting anything from a company over email. There’s distrust on my part as to what the company is using my address for besides pushing job listings. With RSS that concern is nonexistent.

So now the job seeker visits these sites, subscribes to their feeds, gets pushed these fresh, customized job feeds which will only help companies encourage repeat visits and track seekers. And although the bulk of the web hasn’t caught on to the value of RSS yet, I suspect it will in time, especially when more companies make as good of a use of it as I’ve described here.

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