Over-complicated or Over-simplified. Getting data on skills “just right” is hard!

  • Skills data is typically over-complicated – in the form of resumes and job descriptions – or over-simplified – in the form of skills selection interfaces that are too basic
  • Resumes and job descriptions are text based and carry too much information for today’s world of skimming through content
  • At the other end of the spectrum, many job portals offer drop down selection lists to select relevant skills – these fail to take into consideration the context and subsets/specialisation
  • The IYS Skills Ontology strikes a fine balance by offering a selection based interface with intelligent data capture including context, sub-skills, related skills and quantification of skills into Skills Profiles for jobs and individuals

A major problem that faces the talentscape is identifying how best to express skills data – both qualitatively and quantitatively.

It is important not to flood the reader with an excess of data which they will most likely not have the time to read – a classic case of less is more. But at the same time, there is a lower limit to brevity too – the reader needs to be able to absorb important skills information that may be simply left out in the pursuit of keeping things simple.

This tendency to either over-complicate or over-simplify the presentation of skills data is a universal phenomenon. The need of the hour is to strike a fine balance that conveys all necessary information in the simplest way possible.

Just a few days ago, a data scientist – a potential customer for IYS’ Skills Ontology and Profiler API – was having a discussion with me on this subject.

The data scientist is in the process of executing a project for one of his customers to better match the skills of people and jobs. He wants a database of skills to run at the back-end of this application. We got to talking about what kind of database would actually serve the purpose he has in mind.

Over-complicated Resumes and Job Descriptions

Resumes and Job Descriptions are just too complex and verbose for today’s world of skimming through information. Somehow the legacy of resumes and job descriptions has continued largely unchallenged for decades.

Job descriptions and resumes are over-complicated, verbose textual formats

There is a large volume of information about the person or the job in these documents – background information, skills, experience and so on. Parsing and comprehending so much of information becomes challenging. Whether it is a recruiter receiving many resumes or a candidate reading through many job description for open positions – they both have to deal with a surfeit of textual data.

The other extreme is a shortcut that many people take – they over simplify the way skills data on jobs and people is captured. Many job sites simply provide a dropdown list from which one can select and add skills. So the user can search and add, say, “Java” and some more skills (i.e. words) from the list available.

Capture of skills data is often over-simplified, resulting in incomplete information

However, this method fails to capture the whole picture. For example, “Java” could be used in different contexts and for programming at different levels. There could be application developers or system side developers working with Java, the job could involve server-side programming or front-end programming using Java. When we just add a keyword “Java” and start matching people and jobs on this basis, the end result is ineffective at best.

Elements such as context, subsets of skills, related skills and others are important to gain a complete, holistic understanding of the skills related to a job or a person – or their “Skills Profile”. Yes, resumes may contain these elements within them, but the format is inefficient for easy comprehension.

It is based on a deep understanding of this problem and the critical need for a solution that It’s Your Skills has created the Skills Ontology and Profiler which facilitate covering the elements that should go into a Skills Profile while keeping the format simple for easy comprehension.

skills inventory AD

Bringing together the benefits of precision, completeness, simplicity and standardization, a Job Skills Profile or an Individual Skills Profile created using the IYS Skills Ontology and Profiler offer a solution that helps strike the right balance between over-complicated and over-simplified.

The Data Scientist appreciated the benefits of the IYS solution and has gone back to his customer to persuade them to use the Skills Ontology, and not just a dump of skills (or keywords) for their application.

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