The Role of RSS Job Feeds in Social Recruitment


This is a Workology series discussing social recruiting. Click here to get started from the beginning.

Advertising has been a great source of candidates in the history of recruitment and hiring. In the early days word of mouth or business signage was used to turn customers into candidates at our shops and places of business. The rise of the newspaper brought forth a new candidate source for business owners to tap into using help wanted ads to reach audiences and potential employees outside of a community’s word of mouth of a business customer base. The rise of the internet brought about job boards serving as a single location for jobs to be housed and distributed to the masses on the internet. Job boards worked under the “if you build it, they will come” philosophy and still today serve as a leading way for employers to connect and promote jobs to prospective candidates. Unfortunately, it’s no longer that easy.

While social recruiting and the rise of social media somewhat conflict with the job board dynasty philosophy, job boards remain among the top 3 sources of hire in the 2013 Career XRoads study which reported that job boards still provide 18.1 percent of all external hires. Social media, on the other hand was reported to only result in 2.9 percent of external hires. While the social media source of hire seems low, it actually supports my case for a holistic recruiting strategy, one that involves touch points as part of a larger employment branding strategy. More on that later when we discuss employer branding.

The Purpose of a Job Feed in Social Recruiting

With the rise of social media and social recruiting, social networks are a growing opportunity to reach candidates in the places or online communities where they frequent the most. If we look back to our Hire-archy of Social Recruiting (seen below), you can see that just above Social Listening lies Job Feeds where the more advanced use of social media for recruitment lies. Question remains for many business leaders and HR, what exactly is a job feed and what does it really have to do with social recruiting?



Job feeds are an automated yet important part of social recruiting. Often referred to as RSS job feeds or XML feeds, they automate the job posting process to social networks and sites of your choosing once a job has been published on your company career site. Back in 2007, when I was posting and sharing jobs on MySpace, Twitter and other social networks, I had the displeasure of posting all my job openings by hand copying and pasting them to the various social networks along with customized messaging, keywords and Twitter hash tags related to the individual job openings. Depending on the size of your organization, you could have just handful or hundreds of job openings publish from your company career page daily taking an upwards of several hours a day. With RSS job and XML feeds, the job sharing process to social networking sites is automated making a recruiter’s job less administrative so they can truly focus on the job or job openings should I say at hand.

RSS stands for really simple syndication and is what you could use to subscribe to Workology and receive alerts every time a blog post publishes to this

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site. Depending on the RSS feed for blogs, you have the option to send the content to a RSS reader like or to your email inbox. I use RSS feeds as a way personally to organize and catalog content either sharing them automatically on my social networks or to organize my online blog and article reading list.

Defining RSS Job & XML Feeds

Many HR technologies including Broadbean Technology provide job distribution tools helping recruiting teams large and small automate the process. Luke Hopkins, a Chief Technology Officer at Broadbean Technology defined RSS job feeds as, “generic and provide the reader with a short list of ‘articles’ like a summary, title or date. RSS job feeds are automated systems designed to scrape the full job content off the original website.” XML job feeds on the other hand, according to Hopkins, “contain all the information about the job, so title, summary, date as an RSS, but then also full description, location, categorization information, job type (full time, part time etc); all that other essential information.” This means means that everything you need to know about that job is in that XML, you don’t have to go elsewhere to get the full info.

Basically, RSS job feeds provide basic information with little customization for the recruitment team or recruiter while XML job feeds allow more customization and contain all the necessary information related to the job posting it’s attached to or leading end users, meaning job seekers to.

When it comes to HR technology, there are a wide variety of companies who provide these type of services along with additional tools and functionality which is makes sense why as a practitioner, you really need to understand the wants and needs or your organization along with the functionality of the HR technology.

This is a Workology series discussing social recruiting. Click here to get started from the beginning or click here to read part 5 of the ongoing series.


Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

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