May 20, 2003

RSS for Employment Websites, Part Two

Two months ago today I floated an idea which received almost no attention. Even from the various employee recruitment geeks who frequent this site. The idea was RSS for Employment Websites, an RSS specification designed for job postings. Since then, the concept of RSS for Weblogs has been circulated. Similarly, it calls for “a profile of RSS specific to weblogs.” This makes me think that RSS profiling isn’t too crazy an idea and reinforces my belief that RSS for Employment Websites would be a valuable and possibly profitable killer app in the recruitment marketing space.

Last time I talked about the benefits of aggregators as opposed to other web apps like browsers and email clients. Now, consider the sellable aspects of the idea. First, every career website on the internet will need a feed. The format would be open but incorporating the feeds into existing applicant tracking systems would be an up-sell. Companies that build the most compliant, efficient, and robust feeds into their existing job search services would benefit. Then there’s the aggregator. Again, since the format is open anyone could build an aggregator but end users would pay for a high quality aggregator which included customizable settings beyond the list of feeds the user subscribes to. To get users hooked, aggregator builders could produce a free “lite” version.

More on this again soon.


Kris Rzepkowski

“OK, I’ll bite”, said an employee recruitment geek. I was gonna comment on the last float of this idea, but I witheld my skepticism as that of one who might have said “who would write a blog anyway?”

My argument was going to be what person beyond IT circles would be willing to spend the time when they are out of work (or passively job seeking while in work) using or customizing a job aggregator? It’s hard enough explaining to a nurse what a “job agent” is. Now talk about RSS feeds, XML, standards, and you’ve got a job seeker scrambling for her classified ads.

But, alas I’ve allowed this idea to knock around in the vacuumous halls of my head, and I’ve climbed aboard the Walt Train. Only, in my world this is just another box in MyYahoo. The ultimate job agent that is saying, User Interface Guru position just posted by Microsoft and pays $200,000/year. I think your idea, Walt has the potential to integrate job searching more ubiquitously into our life. We’ll wake up in the morning to read our Yahoo News and there will be an area that says, here’s the 20 other things you could be doing to make a living today. I’m not sure if there is a killer consumer app hidden in here per se.

Mark Shewmaker

Walt, are you thinking this will be another way to deliver a Job Agent? I imagine that in your model, you’d go to a and define your feed, correct?

RSS is pretty passive, outside of the ‘subscribe’ metaphor. In my experience, job searching is very active (based on searching) - the most successful ‘passive’ form of job searching is defining e-mail agents that regularly contact you when they find a match to your criteria. You RSS solution would have to feature a way to search - across job sites, across company sites, etc. for feeds. Sounds like FlipDog…

My interaction with RSS was short lived, mostly because I had viewed all of the feeds that were included with NewsNetWire, (or whatever it’s called) got tired of Kottke and Searls and didn’t feel compelled to find replacements. There was (at that point, I think…things may have changed) no way to search(by category or otherwise) for new RSS feeds unless I fired up my browser and googled away.

I’m sure that there’s a future for RSS, although I wonder if it will ever be ‘worth it’ to Joe Average. It’s certainly a great way to canvas a large amount of websites quickly.

Nick Runco

i think the passivity can be a draw for some people, not a flaw. i imagine people who are freelancers, or have current employment, or even people who don’t but are spending their time looking in traditional areas finding this as a worthwhile supplement. i think it can always be trawling while the person has other things to do. plus, if it can standardize the presentation and organization of job listings that would seem beneficial.

one of the reasons i don’t use the news aggregators, is because it takes the site away, which i enjoy viewing. but for job postings, give it to me in the most effiecient, clean way possible.

also, the person who develops the aggregator can develop a Sherlock pulg-in.

Walt Dickinson

Interesting that Kris points out that Yahoo is in a unique position to integrate job searching into our collective life due to its incredibly wide suite of services. Interesting that Mark predicts that users will want to automate the process of searching for feeds. Interesting that Nick reminds us that the end users usually just want the data, clean and organized, when it comes to job searching.

Lots of food for thought. I become more disgusted, by the hour, of the quality of a lot of the software I see on the web. Hopefully I’ll find time to think through this (and other topics) further on in the future.