A Recruiter’s Guide to RSS Feeds and Using Google Reader

RSS IconA lot of Recruiters I meet are not sure what RSS means.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”. You will find it on any website where there is regularly updated content – like news sites and blogs.

If you regularly check out more than one or two news sites and blogs during the day then using an RSS reader might be a big time saver for you. The most common RSS Reader used is Google Reader. A tool like Google Reader allows you to bring in feeds from all your favourite new sources and blogs to one location. This means that you will only have one place to check for new posts and articles while you enjoy your morning coffee.

You can find Google Reader by visiting google.com/reader. If you already have a Google account, then you already have Google Reader without even knowing it.

Add some subscriptions

To subscribe to this blog, simply type the web address into the subscribe box on the top left of the page. You can do this for all your favourite blogs.

Subscribe to UK Sourcers

You should also add subscriptions to any blogs and news sites that you regularly check for new updates. This will ensure that you don’t waste time or miss anything important.

For example, the BBC segments their news into a number of different news feeds. You can get just the things that matter to you delivered to your reader.

You might also want to subscribe to any news feeds your company might have on its website, or blogs written by your company’s employees. You could do the same for your competitors too.

It is also possible to get alerts brought to your Google Reader every time a new webpage is indexed by Google that matches your chosen search criteria. You could use this if you’ve found a particularly good Boolean string for identifying candidates or you could use it to listen to what is being said about you or our company. Use Google Alerts to set this up.

When working in a recruitment business, I have used RSS to keep up to date with job feeds on the company websites and even niche job boards – great for marketing!

Manage your subscriptions using Folders

You can organise your feeds into folders, in much the same way that you probably use folders on your computer.

You might choose to have a folder for work feeds and a folder for personal feeds, keeping the news about your favourite sports teams separate from the latest recruitment updates.

You could go further and make some folders like this:

Google Reader Folders

Reading Posts

Latest posts from the blogs and websites you subscribe are automatically added to your Google Reader when they’re published.

The number of unread posts is shown in brackets next to the folder name (as in the picture above).

Log in to your Google Reader account. Click on the folder you want to read. Make sure it is set to Expanded view so you see the full post.

Google Reader expanded view

Just scroll down through the posts in the folder to read all posts. You can use the ‘J’ and ‘K’ keys on your keyboard to hop up and down between posts.

As you scroll the posts will automatically be marked as read and the number of unread posts listed next to the folder name will decrease.

Just click on the post’s title to visit a post and add a comment or share it via Social Media.

Sharing Posts from within Google Reader

It is easy to share posts that you think your network will like to your Google+ profile directly from within Google Reader. There is a button below every post.

If you haven’t set up a Google+ profile yet, I would recommend doing so. It will make you much more discoverable via Google search and more people are using it then you might realise. If you do, don’t forget to look me up.

If you want to share to another social network like Twitter, then you can either click through to the article where it is hosted on the author’s website and share as you normally would. Alternatively, you could set up a rule using ifttt.com. Ifttt is a handy tool that allows you to create rules for many social sites. For example, you tell ifttt to share a link on Twitter every time you “star” a post within Google Reader.

Do you already use Google Reader? What is your experience?

Three Stages Of Internet Talent Sourcing

A lot of people ask me about managing my sourcing activity online. It can be so easy to get distracted when you are working on the Internet, especially when Social Media is involved.

I find it helps to have a somewhat systematic approach to my day-to-day sourcing in order to keep it manageable and relevant.

I break it into three phases;



It is important to map out your talent landscape before you go out looking for anybody. You might want to map information about;

  • Target companies
  • Events
  • News Sites
  • Social Media
  • Much more…


This is the fun part! Using the information that you gathered while mapping out where your talent might be found you can start some systematic searching. The people you identify through searching will then help you add to your mapping and give you more to explore later.


So that you don’t have to constantly repeat the search phase, use monitoring tools to bring any new results directly to you. You could;

  • sign up for email newsletters
  • use Google Alerts to have new search results sent straight to your inbox or RSS reader
  • subscribe to blogs
  • use social search sites like Social Mention or IceRocket to get alerts just from Social Network sites
  • follow people and companies on various social media sites.

If you too suffer from email overload, you might want to consider setting up an RSS reader. I use Google Reader. An RSS reader allows you to subscribe to feeds (news, blogs, google alerts) and have all that information brought into one place.

Then… Begin again.

Each phase above can inform the one before. As you search you will continually be presented with more information to add to your mapping. The information that you get through monitoring will also inform you mapping. Your monitoring may not continue to be relevant – you may need to go back and adjust saved searches and cancel subscriptions that do not yield helpful insights.

I talked in more detail about these three phases of Internet Sourcing in my Beyond The CV presentation at the Social Media In Recruitment conference on 7th April 2011.

How do you search systematically?