Scraping Job Posting Data

The rise in hiring activities occurring online means all the more job data to harness. There are several innovative uses of the information and several businesses and individuals that can benefit from scraping job sites. Whether you want to market a new ed-tech course, build a niche job aggregator, or find talent for your company, job board scraping is the answer. Let’s explore how job data scraping works, the opportunities it offers to different people, and its challenges.

Can you guess the most popular mobile job-seeking location for Americans? According to a 2016 research by Statista, most Americans look for jobs in their “bed”. Do you scroll opportunities on LinkedIn lying in the bed before dozing off?

The US has a 65% audience reach on LinkedIn. Indeed.com and Glassdoor are also very popular sources for both recruiters and job seekers. With the pandemic, online recruitment is the new normal. From job posting, job searching, interviewing, and recruiting, everything is possible through the browser. These statistics give job aggregators all the more reason to make money off.

While the entire business of job aggregators stands on job data scraping, it’s also a handy tool for recruiters, job seekers, staffing agencies, ed-tech platforms, and many other people. Let’s dive straight into job scraping, learn how it’s done, and all the amazing opportunities it unfolds. You’ll likely find something that fits right into your business to drive growth.

What Is Job Scraping?

Job scraping is the automated gathering of job postings data across websites and downloading it in a structured format (e.g., CSV, JSON) suitable for spreadsheets, databases, or other software applications.

Automated programs, called crawlers (or bots), can scrape job sites to discover hundreds of thousands, even millions, of jobs posted online. Below are some of the fields that can be extracted from these job postings:

  • Job Title
  • Company
  • Job Location
  • Job Posting Date
  • Job Description
  • Job Type (full-time or part-time)
  • Salary Range

Scraping job sites is an effective tool for collecting data for various use cases - including building jobs aggregation for niche job boards, lead generation, tracking competitors, and market research.

Sources Of Job Postings Data

There are three main sources of online job postings data:

Career Pages

Most companies have a career page, where they would list all of their open jobs For example, here is Microsoft’s career page. Career pages typically are the original, and most up-to-date, source of job postings for a company.

Job Boards

Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Monster, Careerbuilder, etc., are examples of some of the popular job boards in the US. Job boards typically aggregate job postings from tens of thousands of companies, so they serve as a great place for sourcing jobs across many companies, locations, professions, etc. However, job boards usually use anti-scraping technology which makes them harder to scrape compared to company pages.

There are many small niche job boards as well, targeted to specific industries, etc.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Some companies use applicant tracking systems, e.g. Greenhouse, Lever, Jobvite, to post their jobs online. So, they could be a good place to source jobs across multiple companies without having to scrape company websites separately.

Sometimes, the same jobs may be posted on multiple websites. If you are working with Phooni Limited as your data scraping partner, we will work with you to pick a scraping strategy that works best for your use case and budget.

Why Is Job Postings Data So Valuable?

Did you know that Indeed.com boasts over 200 million unique users per month? Job seekers keep an eye out for career breakthroughs while recruiters don’t want to miss out on the best talent. No wonder indeed job scraping is one of the most widely used use cases of web scraping. In short, the web is brimming with job data, giving you endless opportunities to monetize it.

Here are some popular uses of job scraping:

Build/Populate Niche Job Boards

The normalization of online recruiting means a higher customer base for job boards and job aggregators than ever before. The volume, freshness, and authenticity of job postings are important criteria for success in the aggregation business, and a good job scraping solution would guarantee that. With job board scraping, you can create your website into a reliable, fast one-stop job repository for job seekers in any niche.

Salary Analysis

As a recruiter, are you ready to offer salaries higher than the industry standards and increase your costs? Or are you willing to offer salaries lower than your competitors and let go of the top talent as a price? Employers who want to maintain just the right threshold between the company’s costs and top talent, often bank on job data scraping to compare salaries before deciding their offers.

Lead Generation

Generating a list of companies hiring talent in your niche is another use case where tapping jobs data will up your game. Whether you’re offering ed-tech courses or services in any niche, scraping Indeed helps you find companies hiring your talent. Reach the right companies to make winning pitches.

Competitive Analysis

Keeping an eye on the competition is an important aspect of all businesses. How can you track your competitor’s next move when they’ll make every effort to keep it a secret? The one place where they’ll let their guard down is the career page. You can use a job crawler to identify the technologies they’re hiring in and use it to work out their plans for the future.

Analyzing Labor Market

Ed-tech platforms, market research, real estate, consulting firms, and many other use cases need deep insight into the labor market to optimize their content. By far, Indeed job scraping is the most efficient way to extract data for analyzing labor trends.

Challenges Of Scraping Job Postings

Job scraping is a smart choice when finding your streak of luck in the job market. However, it is by no means simple. Once you start scraping, many challenges will confront you:

Diverse Sources To Scrape

Job data is available on the career pages of companies’ official websites and job aggregation sites. It’s not hard to write a scraping program to scrape a few pages from a single website. However, websites are structured differently. A web scraper that’s built on a specific website’s interface won’t work on websites that are designed differently.

When you want to extract data from 50 different sources, each with its own interface, you may have to write 50 different programs! What if the website interface changes? The job crawler will need to be consistently updated in sync with the website’s design to continue functioning.

Battling On New Anti Scraping Arenas Each Time

A job crawler has many foes - captchas, IP blocks, honeypot traps, sign-in requirements, and legal complications to name a few. There are plenty of anti-scraping techniques that websites can deploy to control visits. Working around these obstacles is time-consuming, expensive, and above all - frustrating!

High Engineering Cost

Stale job postings can be a business nightmare for job boards. A job seeker who calls up a company for a position they found on a job board, only to discover that the post is already filled, is unlikely to use that job board again. To prevent vandalizing your business’s credibility, you need to maintain your crawlers to continue bypassing new obstacles and regularly scrape up-to-date information for you. Besides the upfront cost of deploying a job scraper, you’ll also need a developer to handle the ongoing maintenance of your in-house scraping system.

Alternatives For Job Data Scraping

If you want to scrape job data off the web, there are some alternatives you can choose among.

Partnering With A Web Scraping Service

The simplest possible option is to outsource your job scraping requirements to a web scraping service. The web scraping service includes a team of professional experts that guarantee you efficient delivery of up-to-date information. Since the data is delivered directly to you, there’s no learning curve, maintenance costs, or obstacles that would concern you. Partnering with a professional web scraping service means you can focus on utilizing the data rather than extracting it. Using A Self-Service Scraping Tool

There are many self-service web scraping tools available on the market. You can use them for small, one-time job scraping tasks. They usually have a steep learning curve though and may require HTML know-how to activate advanced features.

While it might be a budget-friendly option, self-service scraping tools are difficult to customize and are often only suitable for small-scale scraping.

In-House Web Scraping Setup

Building an in-house solution for commercial-scale job data scraping can be expensive. It might make sense when most of the following conditions are true:

  • Your company already has resources to develop and maintain sophisticated software systems.
  • You have a very unique use case and want tight control of the operations.
  • You understand the maintenance costs of operating and maintaining web crawlers. Many people underestimate those hidden costs until they hit issues like captcha challenges, IP blocking.

Benefits Of Partnering With A Web Scraping Service

The easiest way to bypass the challenges of web scraping and yet capture the perks of scraping job sites in their entirety is to partner with a web scraping service. A professional web scraping service, like Phooni Limited, offers several benefits. Here’s what you can expect:

Access The Best Resources

A dedicated web scraping service already has all the resources in place to efficiently source data for you. You can leverage the best scraping infrastructure without the hassle of maintaining an IT team and resources in-house.

Scalable Scraping Solutions

Often job postings are to be scraped off the career pages of different websites. Every website has a different layout and behavior. That warrants the need for developing a separate crawler for every website. That will not be scalable, and will quickly become a maintenance nightmare if you have to crawl more than a few websites. This is because website layouts can change frequently, which will break the crawlers causing interruptions to data delivery.

Also, if you try to scrape more than a few pages from most websites, you will be met with challenges like IP blacklisting, captcha challenges, etc.

Uninterrupted Data Delivery

The primary purpose of a web scraping service is to deliver data to its clients. Whether you want a one-off delivery, or daily, weekly or monthly data feeds, you can arrange with your web scraping service to make the deliveries at a frequency of your choice. With the on-time, uninterrupted flow of data, you can focus better on bigger goals for the company.

Conclusion

With the explosive growth in online recruiting after the COVID-19 outbreak, the online job repository is also expanding. More and more companies are exploring innovative ways to harness the job data and expand their business. While there are endless ways to exploit job data, the fastest and most profitable way to extract it is to seek a web scraping service. Contact Phooni Limited to learn about the exciting ways in which scraping job sites can give a boost to your business.