The Frustrating Case of the Disappearing Job Board RSS Feeds

Over the last six months we’ve noticed a sharp decline in the number of recruitment websites that are able to serve content by RSS.

Now, that’s probably not the kind of opening sentence that causes many people to get particularly excited, but we’re afraid that we most definitely see this trend as newsworthy.

Stay with us for a bit on this.

One of the biggest complaints we hear when we’re talking to jobseekers is about the difficulties of actually consuming content about job opportunities. This is partly because there’s just so much of it, but also because it’s so spread out. To be sure that you are hearing about as many relevant job opportunities as possible, you have to spend a lot of time searching, sifting and reading through a lot of different resources in a lot of different places.

The brave amongst you will have tried to overcome this problem, either by using aggregators (which collect all of the content and put it in one place for you to search), or by making use of the alternative consumption methods offered by these sites (e-mail alerts, text messages etc). Neither is really a solution, serving either to dilute the quality of results by favouring some sites (generally the ones with big SEO budgets), or by being incredibly difficult to set up accurately.

RSS is (or at least was) a solution to this.

A while ago, it was perfectly possible to go to most recruitment advertising sites, run a search, refine the search so that it delivers the kind of results you actually want, and then have those results served to you on a real-time basis using RSS. You could run multiple feeds, drop them into any reader you like and consume the info you wanted, when you wanted whilst be reasonably sure that you weren’t missing too much. You no longer needed to make several repeat visits to numerous sites or put up with barrages of “job alert” e-mails. Consuming your jobs information by RSS was quick, simple and easy.

And that is why we’re a little sad to see so many sites take away their RSS functionality. We don’t know if this is happening as a result of a number of deliberate decisions (these sites live and dies by their traffic and RSS allows you to consume their content without actually being part of their traffic), or maybe it’s just a coincidence. In either case, it’s a shame.

The good news is that there are ways to bring RSS back.

Over the next few months we’ll write a lot more about Yahoo! Pipes, but we may as well start talking about it now. Pipes is essentially a highly usable web scraping engine that allows you take a bunch of web pages, extract the information you want and hone output it in a form that works for you. It’s UI means that you don’t need to be a coder to use it, as well.

There are an awful lot of things that Pipes can do, for both job-seeker and people finder, but one of them is to create an RSS feed from pretty much any web page. In our case, it’s entirely possible to create an RSS feed from pretty much any recruitment website.

At some point, we’ll write a Recruiters Guide to Yahoo! Pipes. That’s one for another day. For now, we’re going to let you have a play with the LinkedIn Jobs Feed Creator we’ve made.

Before you use it, go to LinkedIn, and run your usual search on their jobs page. Once you’ve run it and are happy with the results you’re getting, copy the entire URL from the address bar of your results page. We ran a search for “Java” within 10 miles of SW1. Whilst we can save this search, there is (annoyingly) no option to take this content as RSS.

Now paste the URL into our Pipes feed generator, which you’ll find here: http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=34f031ea6c81479f00116aec01aaf291

The screen looks like this:

Once you’ve pasted the entire URL in, hit “Run Pipe”.

You’ll get a list of results which should look bit like this:

Not only have you been able to search LinkedIn’s job engine without actually visiting LinkedIn, but you’ll see that Pipes offers you a link to “Get as RSS”.  Paste that link into your reader, and there you have it…an RSS feed where there was no RSS feed.

If you’re interested in the source code of this Pipe, you can make a clone of it. You’ll find it right here.

Whilst you’re waiting for us to write a bit more about Pipes, do get in touch if you think we can help you with your jobs-related Pipes project.

And by the way….you’ll find the RSS feed for all the jobs posted on our site right here. And we won’t turn it off, either. If you head over to our Latest Jobs page, you’ll find links to feeds our site generates based on the category of each job.

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