Pro-active HR Search for candidates

Work Completed By: Tanisha Mims


The aim of this project is to create an application for the HR department that will allow it to pro-actively identify appropriate candidates for jobs in WCC.

The application should search as many relevant sources of information and possible, with a focus on social media and professional networking areas.

It should be possible to limit the scope of the search according to practical criteria such as geographical distance.


Details of where code, web pages etc can be found.

Here are several examples of commercial applications that are trying to provide a proactive HR search utilising sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as the major job boards along with the job vacancy sites of individual companies:
Jobvite: This seems to be the most comprehensive ‘software-as-service’ provider which is primarily used by large US companies (Zappos, Digg, Mozilla to name a few). (

Jobvite powers the career page for the customer and allows you to send a link to anyone in your network via the exploded toolbar as shown in this link ( When you hover over 'Send Jobvite' it will list all of the available social networks that you can send contacts jbo information.

Another site in the very early stages is called BraveNewTalent ( Currently has little value - site is in alpha testing at the moment, could not get the Facebook application to launch in order to link the profiles together. It may become more useful as it moves through the testing stages (and if the founder can focus on getting this off the ground instead of the million other project he has going on at once). Kent County Council and Camden Council are listed as employers on this site.


Describe how you approached this piece of work, any technologies, tools or techniques that you found useful or tried and discarded. Include any examples that you used for inspiration and any contacts you have made in carrying out the work.

Initial approach was view our current job listings and see if there was a way to capture the information without having access to the underlying database. Given the structure of the webpage, I had no success in retrieving the information using any of the mashup editors, web scrappers or RSS feed creators. I was able to utilise the search form to retrieve information but unfortunately the information was limited to just the job title,
Initial work outside our website/data was on seeing what types of access the social networking sites were allowing to developers. Early thoughts were that they are too restricted and don’t allow what this project brief is aiming for - LinkedIn is a no go and Facebook seems to be only supporting apps that will be utilised within Facebook or require a user to interact with a website using their Facebook ID (Facebook Connect).
Google searches on utilising Facebook and/or LinkedIn all revolve around a specific person/company actively being involved within the community and actively searching for people. Potentially to pull information in there would need to be a specific WCC HR ID created in each of these social networking sites in order to access the information within since getting it fed directly to us seems unlikely (no further information on gaining access to their APIs for this type of work). I will utilise my Facebook and LinkedIn IDs in order to see if this will allow me to perform job/candidate matches easily (hopes are not high).
Currently trying to pull job information out of the WCC directly but it's a bit difficult - initial run of the search within website gives this URL:
I can parse out of the pieces but the results are too restrictive to be useful for the type of search the brief is calling for - the barest of information is given: job title, department and salary with no mention of location unless you actively click on the link(This was true in my initial finding, the search results have been expanded to include more useful information). I'm trying to figure out a way to create a feed from the job website but need to figure out the best starting point given the breakdown by teaching/non-teaching and date posted.
For the majority of my research I focused on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn since these are the main sites that are referenced in most of my search results. Facebook ( has very extensive information regarding its platform, resources and tools available to developers. Twitter has a Search API available that allows you to search tweets but you cannot drill into a user’s profile/bio (N.B. there is an application called TweepSearch that does search user’s bio information along with tweets but the API has only recently become available with limited success). LinkedIn does not have a publically available API but you can submit a proposal to them and if it’s deemed to be of worth to LinkedIn and their users than you will be granted access. So far only 10 companies have been granted access to the API. During my research I did run across information relating to using Google’s “x-ray” search capability in order to search these sites using keywords. Unfortunately while it’s possible to direct your search to what’s publically available it is very difficult to target that search. Unless you are insanely specific the results returned are rather useless (no good searching for Warwick when the initial hits are going to be for Rhode Island and not Warwickshire, same for London (Ontario and the multitude of places in the USA that have the same name).

Examples of X-Ray searches:;

Major social networking sites and project viability:
Facebook – Has a fully developed platform for building applications that are available to the members of Facebook along with Facebook Connect that will allow a subset of data to be available on other websites by logging in with your Facebook ID. (
Twitter – Has API that gives RESTful access to the database and activity streams. Major drawback is while you can search tweets you can’t search profiles. (
LinkedIn – Has an API but it’s not in the public domain, you must submit a project outline with as much detail and LinkedIn will notify you whether or not your proposal has been successful. (
Plurk – An alternative site to Twitter. Doesn’t have a full featured API released to the public but has an unofficial but supported API hosted on Google Code that is available for use (
MySpace – Has a fully developed platform available to developers to create applications ( Haven’t looked into this in depth.
Plaxo - an online address book and social networking service that has a more advance service called Plaxo Pulse which allows sharing of content from different sources across multiple social media sites. Has somewhat of a professional site bent to it but isn't utilised enough to be a go to service. (


Describe the degree to which the work was successful in addressing the project description. Include reasons why or why not.

The desired project outcome wasn’t successful due to the limitations in accessing our data (I did not request access or an extract of the Job Vacancy database which could have pushed the work forward) along with the restricted access to necessary data within the social networking sites themselves (see information above). Perhaps with more of a background in PHP or Javascript would have made an potential application possible. I did not look at job boards as closely as I did the social networking sites but several of the larger boards (Monster, HotJobs, CareerBuilder) have public APIs that may or may not allow searching of individual CVs.
No tangible outcome but found a selection of resources that could be a starting off point in moving this idea forward:
“Recruitment 2.0/HR 2.0”:
“Using Social Media to Get Discovered: What Employers are Looking for in Online Talent”:
“Using Twitter to Hire – the Employer’s Perspective”:
“How to Search Twitter for Sourcing and Recruiting”:
“How to Hire Star Talent Using Social Media Sites”:
“Hire your fan or how to use Facebook for recruitment!”:
Recruit The Web 2.0 Way – blog:


What immediate impact could the output of this R&D work have on the organisation – could it provide benefits without compromising our strategic approach?

There are no immediate short term benefits that I can think of. Our HR department could start research into utilising the leading mainstream social media websites to build up a presence. Perhaps a better way forward would be the Communications department building up a cohesive WCC ‘brand’ presence on these sites and then later incorporate HR and other departments as that presence expands.


How the work carried out fits with our strategic direction or how it should contribute to our strategic thinking.

The movement is away from HR departments solely relying on vacancy listings on their own sites (assuming they have listings to begin with) and/or utilising the multitude of job boards to find candidates. Most of the information I’ve come across via websites, blog posts and etc., whether social media focused or HR focused are pushing recruiters to start utilising Web 2.0 to engage potential candidates and to utilise them by being active on the sites in question. Candidates will respond to enquiries that come through Web 2.0 sites but those companies that are making contact are expected to have a dynamic presence on the site.


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