Careerleaf’s Advanced Web Scraping

For many of you, job backfill feeds are a familiar part of the job board and recruitment ecosystem. They supplement natively posted jobs on your board by providing automatically published jobs from across the jobosphere. Feeds enhance the job seeker experience, increasing the likelihood they find relevant opportunities and encouraging return visits.  

What Are Backfill Feeds? 

Backfill feeds work by collecting job posts, employer profiles, and sometimes even candidate data. Usually they are exported as XML or RSS feeds, but sometimes they require an API to function. These feeds can be set up in your Careerleaf board so that they automatically publish jobs directly into your board. For most niche job boards the challenge with backfill is relevance. Poor filtering controls and inventory gaps make these feeds at best inconsistent and, at worst, they can undermine the core value proposition of your site. 

Let’s say your job board needs job content that fits both your niche and are limited to your geographical region. If a feed succeeds at one but fails at the other, it’s not the feed you need. Another common issue is that the keywords for your niche will likely bring in several to many inappropriate jobs for every one that is a good fit. 

Poorly or inconsistently formatted job posts from feeds degrade the candidate experience and employer brands alike. Through custom job scraping, job board owners can eliminate these problems. Unlike standard feeds, custom job scraping can be as granular as you need it to be, targeting any data point and delivering highly specialised feeds in the format you need. Job scraping allows you to collect more and better data than ever before.  

What Is Job Scraping?

Job wrapping, employer feeds and job scraping are all synonyms for the same thing: collecting specific jobs data and publishing it in your job board. 

Scraping is an automated process where data is fetched, or downloaded, from a target site. Web scraping is being used to power competitor research, market analysis, reading consumer sentiment, predictive analytics and fundamental data science. But even more important than volume of data, is how web scraping allows for greater specificity. Because a raw scrape can result in a huge volume of not very useful data, scraping bots are designed to target specific pieces of data, and return it in a specific format. 

Job scraping is remarkable for four reasons: 

  • Targeted web source – pick top employers, best job sources
  • Customize retrieval of particular data points – capture logo, certification requirements  or industry specific categories
  • Opportunity for enrichment – additional data points, enhanced employer profiles 
  • Customized output – remove irrelevant data points, optimize feeds for your board and audience 

Job scraping, unlike traditional feeds, can deliver the information you need, how you need it, and when you need it. For example, you could scrape all of the Austin-based graphic design jobs from your client base and automatically publish them in your board. If that net was still too broadly cast, you could have the feed adjusted to return only senior graphic design roles and add in more data points from employer profiles. 

Careerleaf’s new jobs data scraping service has made it easier than ever for job board owners and recruiters to collect and publish customized feeds. You define your needs and we deliver feeds to fulfill them.

If you’re interested in working with Careerleaf to set up a scraping service, get in touch today!

User Experience for Association Career Centres

Professional associations are finding that keeping members active and engaged requires digital tools and platforms that help them connect and access resources on any given day, all year long. A little over a month ago, Tim Ebner outlined some basic elements of user experience for the Associations Now blog to help associations develop good usability on their websites.


For your online career centre, there are several areas that can become points of delight or points of frustration for your membership as job seekers. I’ve listed three such areas below, and talk a little bit about how to decide what’s right for your association. Consider those UX elements Ebner discussed as you think about the following areas of your association career centre. 

Job Search

Job search is a very broad topic when you consider that a person’s job search might begin with a search engine, a chat with a friend, or even by browsing the web without the intention of job searching. However they may end up on your association’s job board, it helps to remember where they begin. 

If your job content is members-only and requires them to log in before they can browse opportunities, search jobs, or manage their profile, make that step as seamless as possible. If they already have some kind of account they need to login to in order to access your other reasons, it’s worth investigating Single Sign-On solutions that will mean they only need to remember one set of login credentials.

 If your job content is free and open to the web for members and non-members alike, find ways to work in the name or your organization throughout your job board’s content. This can give non-members more context for your role in helping them in their job search and what your organization’s mission is overall. If you offer extra perks or benefits for members, be sure to use them as an enticement for members to login and take advantage of those benefits. 

Applying for Jobs

The way your members would prefer to apply to jobs may have nothing in common with the way employers would prefer to receive job applications – and that’s one of the reasons this part can get tricky. 

The majority of job seekers don’t want to jump through hoops to apply for a job. Something simple and straightforward will pretty much always win in their eyes. Employers, too, would like a simple and straightforward process, but they tend to ask more information of candidates up front to save themselves time. 

Your organization could potentially set down a policy for how job applications should work for employers and candidates, but it may require some research and compromises for both parties. Requiring employers and candidates to use your job board’s internal application system may help you gain more insight into how many people get hired through your career centre, but many employers may insist on using their own ATS or email/pen-and-paper/spreadsheet system. 

One thing you can do is gather feedback from employers and candidates in your industry and your association, and share it with the other. If your employers don’t realize they are contributing to a poor user experience for your association and a poor candidate experience for their organization, it’s worth sharing your knowledge and advising on ways to improve.

What Happens Next

You might not always have much control over how employers run their hiring processes, but you can think about how your members can stay engaged with you as a resource not only for their job search but for career-related knowledge and resources.


It’s generally wise to let the user control when they do and don’t receive things like emails and notifications and how often they receive them. Encouraging job seekers to set up their own job alerts so they can make sure they hear only about jobs that are relevant and interesting to them can be a great way to keep members engaged with your job board without pestering them. 

Bear in mind that some people regularly browsing your jobs may not be applying to everything in sight, but instead keep tabs on what opportunities are out there and apply more selectively. For this type of member, content about the substance of their work, career path planning, and skill development may be a more relevant way to keep them engaged.

User experience is inclusive of digital and non-digital interactions with your brand as an association and can overlap with the experiences your members have with employers who advertise with you on your career centre. Thinking about how members find themselves searching for a job on your website, how applicants and employers interact, and how you stay in touch with those actively and passively looking for career opportunities can all factor into the usability of your association career centre.

Data Ownership in the Cloud

Understanding Cloud-Based Job Board Software

“It’s in the cloud!” is a phrase that doesn’t really tell you much, if you’re not already familiar with modern hosted software infrastructure.

One of the most commonly used cloud-based services is probably email. Web-based email providers from Hotmail to Gmail don’t require you to physically store your email data on your own hard drive or on your own server. Instead, you can access it on a website through your browser, where you can login and access your email. The email data is retrieved from where your email service provider stores it. In the cloud. Hmm. Still confused?

Let’s back up a bit.

Just where the heck are these clouds, anyways? Why are they so special? Part of why cloud computing has become so popular over the last couple decades is that it pools together processing power and other resources, which makes it easier for software providers to deliver their services more quickly and efficiently.

This is particularly useful when the software needs to use large sets of data and run searches and complex queries on it. It’s also why some cheap-and-cheerful solutions for job board software out there can run into trouble as their database grows. Data processing power is not equal on every server or hosting service provider.

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Scary Mobile Experiences on Job Boards

We’re one week away from Halloween, and I’m thinking about all things spooky and scary, including what’s frightening on a job board – bad mobile experiences.

I know, I know.

You know that job seekers search and browse jobs on their mobile devices. We’ve talked about it a lot here on the Careerleaf blog, and you’d have to have your head in the sand not to notice how many people use their mobile devices for just about everything.

But the reality of it, and how job boards are facing up to it, can be a frightening prospect. Below are a couple (anonymous) examples of what job search can be like on a phone.

Classic Old School

This job board features a still-functional older design, but it’s intended only for desktops/laptops, and becomes unreadable on mobile without excessive zooming and scrolling. The point of registration for the job seeker isn’t any easier for the mobile user.

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Why Job Board Owners Need a CRM

A CRM tool, system, or software, is one that manages customer contacts and their information, like a phone book or a rolodex (yeah, yeah, even a Millennial like me knows what those are–I saw them on Mad Men). Usually they come with other features to help you organize and funnel those contacts, track them over time, and keep notes.

Some CRMs combine themselves with marketing, analytics, and VOIP/telephony tools, so that you can tie all your outreach and communications with clients together under one metaphorical roof.

Recruiters use CRMs, too, but in this industry they usually take the form of the ATS, or applicant tracking system, with which so many have a love/hate relationship. And as with a CRM, the ATS often comes with features that elevate it beyond a digital phone book with notes. I’ve sometimes seen ATSs referred to as “recruitment CRMs”, which just confirms their similarity of concept.

If you’re a job board or a recruitment company, you potentially have two or three use-cases for CRMs and their equivalents.

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Data Security & Online Recruiting: How Safe Are You?

No corporation seems to be safe these days. Target, Home Depot, Sony, and most, recently Ashley Madison are just some of the billion-dollar brands that have suffered lapses in digital information security. Literally, just a couple days ago, we received a phone call from a job board owner who had been victim of a data breach.

The Careerleaf team is currently prepping to launch exciting new software in the coming months. In this effort, our updated FAQ features a question about approach to data security. However, given the level of attention currently being devoted to the topic (Ashley Madison specifically), we felt it prudent to delve deeper with an entire blog post.

If you’ve taken data security for granted, this blog post is dedicated to you! Ask yourself, when was the last time you considered:

  • How much do you know about the handling of your data?
  • Where do the servers physically live?
  • Who is the hosting company, and what kind of security do they offer?
  • Are databases shared among a vendor’s portfolio of customers?

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Job Boards, Aggregators, Recruitment, and Applicant Tracking

Who are you? What do you want? What are you looking for?

No, I’m not trying to send you into an existential tailspin, I just want to understand the business problems that your technology needs to solve.

In recent years, we’ve seen a lot of overlap and blurring of lines between what had previously been distinct needs, functions, and uses. Terms like “recruitment”, “applicant tracking” and “job board” are now—sometimes confusingly—used interchangeably. There’s good reason for this, however, what with all the blurring and overlapping going on. But their nuanced differences can still be very important, and can affect the core of what your organization’s business and technology needs are or may become.


So let’s first separate these out, and see where that blurring and overlapping is happening!

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The API: Your New Best Friend In Recruitment Tech

API. Ape-y Eye? Application Program Interface. It’s a thing. A big thing. It’s a thing you should know about. If programming languages aren’t your thing, don’t worry. That’s what I’m here for: cutting through the buzzwords to help us all understand what it is and how it impacts recruitment technology.

An API acts like a translator between two pieces of web-based software.

For example: let’s say you use a third-party application to track and analyze how many followers you have on Twitter. When you create your account, it doesn’t ask you to enter your email and a username or password. All you have to do is log into your Twitter account, and give the app permission to talk to your Twitter data.

An API does that.

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