Imagine yourself prepping for a quarterly business review. For this report, there are eight different sources of data. The data comes in from different vendors. Some of the data is emailed. Some of that data is requested. Some of that data is dropped in a server/FTP. When all the data is finally received, you realize that it’s all in different formats – Excel, CSV and even .txt. Half the day is gone with just cleaning and prepping the data until it’s finally ready to be merged. As you catch up on your other work, the only thing that comes to mind is, “There has to be an easier way to do this.” Good news: there is!
Today, with all the recruitment marketing technologies available, it’s easy to get lost in the technical jargon. However, there’s one piece of technology that may sound like a buzzword, but it’s making huge headway in connecting data within recruitment marketing: application programming interface (API).
How do APIs work? Think of this analogy…
APIs are the bridge for us to “call” data that we’re requesting and using the “response” to get the data we need. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds with REST API, keys, and types of connectors. If you’d like to learn more in depth, check out these two articles:
However, this blog will keep it simple.
APIs for recruitment marketing, much like other forms of web development, has lagged behind other advances on the internet. Why has recruitment marketing taken so long to “catch on?” With recruitment, many applicant tracking systems still use older forms of storage (SQL) in order to access or retrieve data. However, more companies and more technology are being invested in this space. It was only a matter of time until recruitment started to catch up! Here are some ways that APIs for recruitment marketing are changing the game.
APIs for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
ATS have been finding ways to creatively connect data. iCIMS, for example, can use the API to easily create recurring data pulls. Instead of having recruiters manually pull reports, they can automate their workflow by having pre-made APIs. These reports can include…
- Daily data pulls or reports of your current talent pool for a specific requisition that needs to be filled, e.g. a CSV file that contains a list of all qualified candidates
- Company searches, e.g. a list of all candidates that come from a specific company
- Sourcing workflow that shows specific sources such as job boards
Other applicant tracking systems, such as Jobvite, have a more robust offering that can allow your career site to be fully customizable, ensuring your candidate experience is all your own.
With fully customizable sites, candidates can begin their search with a job title or even location. The customization of the site can replicate the exact same match, an experience like looking for a new TV show or Spotify playlist.
Some drawbacks to ATS with APIs are the need for development and infrastructure. Unlike other ATS, it will require some development work to ensure the configurations are properly enabled.
APIs for Job Boards
Indeed and Glassdoor have open sources that allow for API access. Indeed has recently allowed XML feeds to be updated via the API. This enables connectors to data sets to match criteria within a provided data set of your own. When you have a list of outputted data (i.e. a list of applicants) and you want to match it back with your ATS, the API can allow for a unique req ID associated with those applications to be “matched” back with a simple query. This can also be used to closely track cost per click (CPC), cost per application (CPA), and applicant quality data back to your reporting system seamlessly at your own pace without having to download and upload data.
APIs for job boards can also allow for all your data points to be exported and connected to other sources of data. This is a great way to match back candidate data from a click to an application, qualified leads, interview, and, finally, hire. With these APIs, you can measure insights including CPA, cost per interview, and even cost per hire – providing you with valuable insights when leveraging pay-for-performance campaigns and helping you calculate ROI when running a campaign.
APIs for Social Media
What if you’re interested in using data from your company’s Instagram or Facebook for reporting? There are APIs for that as well. Want to grab the data by day for the number of followers, likes, or a consolidated report of all that data? The API can export the data from your account or other public accounts. LinkedIn even allows for access to their data via an API and even more through their market partner feature.
Back to the original scenario – now imagine working on that quarterly business review. Instead of reaching out for these pieces of data, your reporting tool now has API connectors to all these data points. The report that took eight hours is now ready in less than an hour!
Next, you might be thinking, “Great, there are so many connections and capabilities! But how do you link all the data together? How do APIs communicate with each other?”
They do require special expertise. APIs work with getting access via “keys” and documentations. However, in order to get the data points your team is looking for, you need the ability to pull data in a variety of ways, which a developer or analyst can help with. Tapping on their expertise can open up possibilities not only in your candidate experience but also in reporting and down-funnel metrics. With an investment in technology and people, you’ll be able to leverage APIs to take your recruitment strategy to the next level.