Advice for Employers and Recruiters

How does job wrapping differ from job scraping?

Steven Rothberg AvatarSteven Rothberg
April 13, 2023

Job boards as we know them today came into existence in the early 1990s with the commercialization of the Internet. College Recruiter was likely one of the first 200 job boards worldwide when it launched in November 1996 using the domain of

Why and not Because the company that owned our job board product was, at the time, named Adguide Publications, Inc. We later changed the company name to College Recruiter, Inc. Much better, don’t you think? But I digress.

For years, virtually every job posted to every job board worldwide was done so manually. Typically, a recruiter would log into their job board of choice, purchase a job posting ad for a couple of hundred dollars, type in or copy-and-paste relevant details such as the job title and description, and hit submit. Then they’d do the same for every other job that they wanted to post and to every other job board. Posting even a dozen jobs to one site could take hours and if you wanted to post them to multiple sites, well, that could consume the better part of your week.

The whole process begged for automation, and automation surely came. Job distribution companies like eQuest and Broadbean sprang up with integrations between the major job boards, including College Recruiter, and the major applicant tracking systems (ATS). The recruiter could now log into their ATS, post a job to their corporate career site, check a box, and also have the job posted to one or more of their favorite job boards. Better, but still not great.

Posting the job to the job boards at the same time as it got posted to the ATS was great to activate the job, but jobs are often edited and even inactivated before the end of a standard 30- or 60-day period of time. So, if the recruiter wanted to edit or inactivate the posting on the ATS, they then needed to remember and have the time to manually do the same at each of the job boards to which they had posted the job, and that often didn’t happen. The result? Jobs running on job boards that differed, sometimes substantially, from the same job on the ATS or even jobs running on job boards many days or even weeks after they were no longer running on the ATS.

The whole process begged for better automation, and better automation surely came. Around the same time, many of the leading job boards, including College Recruiter, began to offer to their employer customers job wrapping and job scraping services. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between the two and what they mean for recruiters and job seekers.

What is Job Wrapping?

Job wrapping is a process where a job board partners with an ATS to directly access job postings. This means that as soon as a job is posted on the ATS, it is automatically pulled into the job board’s database.

The “automatically pulled” varies some job board to job board, but what often happens is that the ATS creates a file containing some or all of the employer’s jobs. The file format is often an XML, but I’ve seen many which are CSV and others. The job board then typically automatically downloads that file once a day, so whatever jobs and whatever versions of those jobs are in the file are then imported by the job board. At College Recruiter, we use a “kill and fill” system, so if a job is not in the XML, that’s a signal to our system to automatically remove the job from our site. If there’s a new job in the file, we add the job. If there’s a job in the file that was already running on our site, we check to see if there are any differences and, if there are, we edit the version on our site. At the end of the process, what we have running on our site is then the same as what the employer has running on its ATS for the jobs that it wants us to run.

This method is often used by job boards that specialize in a particular industry or niche, as it allows them to offer up-to-date job listings without requiring employers to manually post them. Job wrapping eliminates the need for recruiters to post the same job across multiple job boards, thus saving them time and effort.

What is Job Scraping?

Job scraping, on the other hand, involves the use of bots, crawlers, or web spiders to extract job postings from various sources on the internet, including company websites and job boards. This process is automated and requires no true integration with the employer’s ATS.

Job scraping is often used by generalist job boards that cover a broad range of industries and job categories. While this method allows job boards to provide a large number of job listings, it has some downsides. One of the main issues with job scraping is that job postings can be duplicated, outdated, or may contain incorrect information.

At College Recruiter, we scrape jobs from many of our employers’ ATS but always with permission. They tell us which jobs they want us to run and then we scrape just those. Sometimes, the employer can’t tell us which jobs to run as they may have hundreds or thousands and so they’ll give us rules such as, “Run every job that requires 0-3 years of experience”, or “Run every job that has the word ‘internship’ in the job title”. Although many general and aggregator sites offer scraping, few of them are able and willing to scrape just certain jobs. For a niche job board like College Recruiter, that’s a necessity as the employers who advertise their jobs with us rarely want us to run all of their jobs. They wouldn’t want, for example, a Chief Financial Officer job posting running on an early careers job board like College Recruiter.

The timing and frequency of scraping is typically the same as wrapping: daily. We do have some customers, however, who have thousands or even tens of thousands of jobs or for some other reason might have a lot of variation in the jobs they want us to run and so we’ll scrape four, six, 12, or even 24 times a day.

Differences Between Job Wrapping and Job Scraping

The main difference between job wrapping and job scraping is the method used to collect job postings. Job wrapping involves a direct partnership between the job board and the employer’s ATS, while job scraping uses bots or crawlers to extract job postings from various sources.

Here are some other key differences:

  1. Accuracy

Job wrapping provides a more accurate representation of a company’s job openings as it directly accesses the employer’s ATS. Job scraping, on the other hand, can produce inaccurate or outdated job postings as it relies on bots or crawlers to extract information from various sources.

  1. Timeliness

Job wrapping offers real-time job postings as they are posted on the employer’s ATS. Job scraping can result in delays in posting new jobs or removing outdated ones since the process is automated.

  1. Duplication

Job scraping can result in duplicate job postings, which can lead to confusion for job seekers and recruiters. Job wrapping eliminates the possibility of duplication as job postings are only sourced from the employer’s ATS.

  1. Customization

Job wrapping allows for more customization of job postings, as job boards can work directly with employers to ensure that job postings meet their specific requirements. Job scraping offers less customization as job postings are automatically collected without input from the employer.

Which Method is Better?

The choice between job wrapping and job scraping ultimately depends on the job board’s niche, target audience, and the needs of the employers they work with. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and the decision should be based on the goals of the job board.

Job wrapping offers more accurate, timely, and customized job postings, making it an ideal method for niche job boards. Job scraping offers a larger pool of job postings, making it ideal for generalist job boards.

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