The following is a guest blog post written by Kim Bartkus, Executive Director, HR-XML Consortium.

If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you’ve had to purchase an adapter plug or converter to use any of your electronics. A converter allows you to connect your device to an electric power source using a voltage your computer or phone charger can understand and utilize. Data exchange standards work the same way. If you want your system to talk with another system, standards help with that conversation.


HR-XML data exchange standards have been developed by Human Resource industry experts so your systems can talk to each other. The standards provide a template of data so you know what the data is, and where it will be within the file being transmitted.

Think of a resume – it typically starts with the person’s contact information, an overview of their experience and interests, followed by details of work, education, certifications, etc. It’s usually in a similar format so you can easily scan to find what you are looking for. HR-XML standards provide that same type of template – so you know where to find the data, the definition, and the type of data to expect. Then you or your vendors can develop software that sends or receives data in a known template or format.

Imagine the time and cost savings to implement new products or integrate with external vendors. The HR-XML standards have been defined for most of the employment lifecycle, including recruiting, screening, assessments, onboarding, benefits, payroll, performance management, and provisioning. If you are already working within these areas, these open data templates are freely available.

Another major benefit is avoiding vendor lock-in. If you work with vendors that use the standards, it’s much easier to change to another vendor using the same standards; or to have multiple vendors working together to provide you the best solution. It’s a win-win scenario for both you and your solution provider.

If you are developing in-house, check out the free standards – it can help increase revenue, decrease expenses (and risk) and reduce time to deployment. If you are searching for a vendor, ask them if they use the HR-XML standards so you can benefit from years of industry experience. For more information, visit

Special thanks to Kim for contributing to our blog. Members can view her presentation from our 2012 Annual Meeting & Conference in the Pipeline under Annual Meeting Archives.

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