Rethinking SKILL, and working on it

At HireWand we have been treating skill as a single term, be it “Java” or “Programming”. Over the last few months we have come to realize this is an incomplete model to represent a candidate’s capability. This is also not how recruiters think about skills when they interact with a candidate.

Through many a conversations with recruiters, we have built a new model to think about skills that better reflect the screening that a recruiter or hiring manager does.

A typical conversation between a candidate and a recruiter – “I have been programming in Java for the last 5 years”, “I have worked on B2B sales“, “I have specialized in lead generation for enterprise SaaS products“. You will recognize here that the section underlined reflect the candidate skill.

Lets take one example – “I have been programming in Java for the last 5 years”. Here Java – programming is the skill. Before we dissect this part, lets consider a few variations:

  • Java or php  programming
  • Java architecture
  • Java training

Can you see a pattern now?

Though both experience in Java and programming can be considered as stand alone skills of the candidate, it is obvious that experience in “Java programming” is different from experience in “Java architecture”. Java is the area of specialization and is common between the 2 skills. Programming is the specific activity where the candidate’s competency lies in. Both together reflect the candidate’s skill. This is reflected in the model we plan to use in HireWand to define a candidate skill:

Every skill is composed of skill-area and skill-activity. Skill activity is the activity that the candidate has acquired competency in, and the skill area is the domain/area where the competency was built in.

In our example Java is the skill-area and programming is the skill-activity. This way of thinking about skills allows HireWand to rank the candidates much more accurately. It also allows us to architect some very cool capabilities within HireWand. We will keep you updated on these over the next few weeks.

Search happens to be the first change where we have incorporated with this new model.

We have ensured backward compatibility for all our existing searches and also ensured the default usage remains the same as before. Hence, no learning curve for existing users. Having said that we strongly recommend you use the new search model when you create a new requirement. You will see more accurate results.

An example of why you should use the new search metaphor – A search for Java – programming will return a Java programmer as a better fit than a “Java trainer” who also had experience in “php programming”.

Now you can build searches like “Java, J2EE – programming <Mandatory>” or “B2B – Sales <Preferred>”.

This is a big change within HireWand and lays the foundation of the roadmap we have built for our matching capability. We have some very useful features lined up over the next few weeks that leverage this new skill model. You will hear from us about these soon.

Please feel free to send us your feedback or queries.

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