career site transitionThey say that when coordinating a wedding, you should never expect the big day to go seamlessly, and the same can be said when coordinating the launch of a career site. Even with an outlined plan and strong communication, someone will forget to set the napkins, give the flower girl her crown, or goodness forbid… deliver the wedding cake. For a career site transition, an agency can play an integral part in helping a client shift from one platform to another and help avoid pitfalls.

I have been involved in two career site transitions within the past six months and have created a step-by-step guide that outlines the integration process, specifically as it pertains to XML job feeds. I hope this guide will help this part of your big day go as smoothly as possible.

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1. Delegating Duties

Before creating XML feeds and starting vendor integrations, it’s helpful to have a clear outline of who is responsible for each piece of the integration. For large companies, it can be quite the undertaking for one individual to coordinate the XML creation, vendor integrations, and perform testing after launch if there are many vendors. It’s important not to have any gray area around which duties are on which individual’s plate.

2. Collecting Vital Information

After delegating duties, there are some technical details that need to be gathered from vendors in preparation for the XML creation. A common pitfall is not gathering all the information upfront and finding out pertinent information in the midst of transitioning. Below are some of the key questions that should be posed to your partners before creating the XML feeds and integrating.

  • Do you require any additional XML fields?
    • It is most efficient to first look at your current setup and identify what fields are included in the XML feed for that vendor. Based on that information, you can create an outline of what needs to be included in the new XML feed. Once you have this, go to the vendor with these fields and a screengrab of the code for one of your jobs and ask if they require any additional fields. Below is a sample of what the XML code will look like.
  • What methods of importing the feed do you accept?
  • What is your preferred type of XML? The most common is UTF-16, but some vendors only accept UTF-8.
  • What is the turnaround time for the jobs to fully populate on the site after launch?
  • What is the turnaround time for old jobs to drop from the site?
  • Do you have any other special requirements?

Having clear answers to these questions from all vendors can save you from a headache on launch day.

Sample XML:

career site transition

3. Implementation & Vendor Testing

After the XML feeds are created, follow-up is needed to ensure each vendor can properly implement the XML. It is important to provide vendors with a link to the XML as well as to a testing environment. Testing environments allow vendors to view the code and ensure it’ll work for them before switching to the new XML.

4. Launch Day

To further prevent any snags on launch day, follow up with each vendor several hours before launch to make sure they are all set and do not have additional questions. After launch, check in with each vendor to make sure they did in fact swap out the old XML for the new XML. When relying on multiple parties to bring their pieces to the table, it’s always better to over-communicate than under-communicate.

5. Testing

After launch, it’s important to submit test applications for each vendor to make sure tracking is working properly. After submitting tests, check the ATS to make sure the applications were attributed to the correct sources. While submitting test applications, also examine the job descriptions to double check that everything is formatted correctly. An adjustment to the feed may be required if there is a formatting issue.

In all, coordinating the creation of XML feeds and vendor integrations can be intimidating at first, but delegating duties upfront, collecting essentials details, maintaining good communication, and testing after launch will help guide your team towards a successful career site launch. I hope this step-by-step guide will help your big day go off without a hitch.