If you are connected to the recruitment industry in some way, you wouldn’t need an introduction to the value of job listings as one of the key market growth indicators of this industry. Recruiters, HR consultancies and labor analytics firms would find job data to be resourceful in planning, analyses and market research among many other applications.
Candidates mostly rely on job boards to find new and relevant job opportunities. Job boards do a great job in connecting employers and candidates. The job listings found on these job boards are published by the companies themselves or other third party agencies. Posting the listing on a job board is typically the second step after the company posts it on their own career page in the website.
When it comes to extracting job data, we have to make a choice between the job boards and company career pages as the sources. Here’s a comparison of the two, which will be helpful if you are evaluating both these options to get job feeds.
How job boards work
There are hundreds of thousands of job boards out there, each catering to a different industry/niche and working on various business models. Companies choose a few job boards that are relevant to their industry while posting the jobs. The job board charges the company a fee in return for the job listing, which is the primary revenue model of most job boards. Sometimes, companies also accept job applications directly through the job boards and this makes it easy for the candidates to apply for different jobs without actually going to the company pages.
The job board essentially has a pool of candidates who are looking for new opportunities and this is what employers get access to by posting a job. Indeed is one of the leading job boards with listings across a broad range of industries.
However, not all companies post jobs in generic job boards like Indeed; many companies post their jobs on some other niche job boards. This is where it gets confusing, should you crawl a set of known job boards or crawl the company careers pages instead?
Crawling company pages vs crawling job boards
As we discussed earlier, the company careers page is almost always the first place where a new job opening is posted. By crawling these pages, you can be the first person to get the job feeds before it even reaches the masses through various job boards. Extracting job listings directly from the company pages is the ideal option if you are concerned about the data quality. Here is a comparison of crawling company careers vs crawling job boards, on the basis of different aspects of job data.
Comprehensiveness of the data
It’s a no-brainer that the comprehensiveness of the data would be very high when you get it directly from the company’s own page. Since different job boards have different job listing formats, they may not have all the information as the original company page posting. Sometimes, the job postings on the job boards are not directly posted by the companies, but by agencies on behalf of the companies. This again increases the chance of inaccuracies in the job posting data found on job board websites. If your job data use case demands comprehensiveness, it’s recommended to get the data directly from the company pages.
Reliability of the data
Often, the data available on job boards is found to be redundant and unreliable. The job postings on job boards would become redundant if the company fails to take down the listing once the position has been filled. This is in fact a common scenario. If you are crawling just the job boards, you may end up with data that holds no relevance in the present time and weeding them out would easily become a task in itself.
To make things worse, some new job boards try to promote themselves by posting duplicate jobs on popular job boards, linking back to their website. Scraping this data is not only unnecessary but can easily cause confusion and also ruin the quality of your job feeds.
On the other hand, the company careers pages are typically always up to date and wouldn’t have redundant listings. You can always be sure about the relevancy of the data when you’re crawling the company pages.
Speed of access
If your job data use case is time-sensitive, look no further than crawling the company careers page as this is where all the new job listings get posted first. This is especially important if you’re a staffing agency looking to generate leads by staying up to date with the new jobs being posted in the region you’re targeting. By crawling the company careers pages, you’ll be sure to know about the new opportunities before your competitors, essentially improving your bottom lines.
How easy is it to crawl hundreds of company pages?
You might be wondering how crawling a huge number of company pages might even be feasible in the first place. This is indeed a valid concern. It’s definitely not easy to set up crawlers for each company site from which you need job feeds.
This is exactly why we leveraged our domain knowledge in crawling along with machine learning techniques to build JobsPikr, a solution that can intelligently identify and extract relevant data points from the careers pages of company websites.
With JobsPikr, getting job data from job boards as well as thousands of company pages is as easy as picking the sites you want and hitting ‘Subscribe’.