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What HR-XML Means and Why You'll Care

May 27, 2000
Few HR professionals have ever had the need to fiddle with HTML coding for a Web site, so it’s unlikely that they will need to know any more about XML than what itmeans and why it will soon be making their lives easier.

XML is theacronyn for eXtensible Markup Language. A markup language like HTML defines thelook and feel of a document in a reader or browser. XML is a method for puttingstructured data in a text file. Structured data includes such things asspreadsheets, address books, technical drawings, or of more interest to HRusers, résumés. One of XML’s main reasons for being is to allow the exchange ofinformation between different, and potentially incompatible, systems connectedto the Internet. Documents coded with XML will be much easier to transmit andsort than HTML or text files.

The payoff forHR will be significant. Resumes will be much easier to collect and sort in XML,and financial data will be easier to transmit and analyze. Expect to see a moveto XML within the next six months to one year.

About a NewGroup: The HR-XML Consoutium.

The consortium(www.hr-xml.org) is open to all interested parties, but membership is targetedto:
Software Vendors. For example, vendors providing HRIS, staffing andrecruiting, or workforce planning software solutions.
Employers. Particularly large, multinational employers seeking torationalize workforce management processes.
HR Service Suppliers. For example, providers of recruiting, payroll,benefits consulting, and temporary staffing services.
XML Tool Vendors/Technology Companies. Vendors of XML editors, servers,and data management tools Non-Profit HR-Related Associations. SHRM, IHRIM, EMA,and other HR-industry groups.
Human resource professionals. Human resources and recruiting andstaffing professionals, compensation and benefits administrators, and HRISadministrators.

The HR-XMLConsortium has developed three provisional schemas. The schemas are verypreliminary and are intended to generate discussion. They do not represent a consensusamong Consortium members.
A distribution file for each schema is available for download. The distributionfiles contain Document Type Definitions (DTDs) as well as MicrosoftBizTalk-compatible schemas. Following are the schema:
JobPosting. The JobPosting schema is intended for use in structuringexchanges of information about job openings. Documents conforming to JobPostingcan be more freely and more predictably exchanged among and between employers,recruiters, career web sites, and workforce staffing solution providers than ifproprietary protocols were used. A JobPosting document contains contactinformation for the hiring organization and information about the job opening,including a job title, a job description, and information on how to apply.
CandidateProfile. CandidateProfile is intended for use in structuringexchanges of information about job candidates. Because documents conforming toCandidateProfile explicitly identify job candidates’ personal data, employers,recruiters, and job sites would be able to apply standardized measures tosecure the privacy of job candidates. While similar to resumes,CandidateProfile documents are more concise and are structured moreconsistently.
Resume. The Resume schema provides a way for job candidates to addvaluable metadata to their online résumés. The richly descriptive taggingavailable in the Résumé schema will enable the creation of resume databanksthat are easier to index and search. In addition, XML-enabled resume databankswill be better able to secure job candidates’ personal data at the elementlevel. Encryption and filtering techniques also will enable the creation of“try-before-you-buy” databanks that recruiters can search and evaluate fortheir suitability before having to commit to purchasing resume or job candidatedata.