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.
When I post a YouTube video on Facebook, the video is embedded on the news feed, and my friends can hit the play button and watch it on Facebook without having to move to a new window/tab and be forced to watch it directly on YouTube.
You can thank YouTube and/or Facebook’s APIs for that.
Put simply, an API is a bunch of code that lets one application extract, translate, and use data from another application, in a way that makes sense for the first one. It’s kind of like a “have my people call your people” situation, except the people are websites and/or applications.
It all sounds very fancy and cool on a theoretical level, just like any old type of web programming, but what does it mean on a practical level for recruitment professionals and business owners?
Time. Money. Flexibility. Y’know, the good stuff.
The increasingly wide development and use of APIs mean that switching from one solution or software system to another can be less painful. It can mean that your particular hybrid system of several software providers can actually work together with fewer headaches when getting it set up.
Careerleaf has built APIs to make it faster and easier for our customers to import their candidate and employer databases. So let’s say you’ve got a database of employer information and you export it from your current system. Our API makes it easier to then take that information, and plug it into your Careerleaf-powered site and organize it in its new context. The information remains readable and can be found its proper place.
It saves a lot of time and hours of labour (and money to pay the people doing said labour) creating new frameworks for importing information for every data set. It’s kind of like going from using a French/English dictionary to translate something word by word, to plugging it into Google Translate. Only better.
Most recently, we’ve created a job search API to make it easier to integrate jobs posted on Careerleaf-powered websites onto our customers’ other web properties, which is particularly handy for publishers with multiple domains. We’ll be building more in the near future, to keep making our solutions more flexible and awesome.
Recruitment and job board businesses are catching up with today’s technology (a little slowly at times, but the future is looking bright!), and APIs open a lot of doors for flexibility and collaboration.
Do not fear the API. The API is your friend in recruitment tech. Use it, build it, work with it, and enjoy.