Skills Taxonomy – Issues and the importance in resolving them

In the web world we rely a lot on words and phrases. Matching between finder and seeker is done through these words and phrases. If I want a book that is a thriller, then I search on “thriller” and Amazon would show books which it has tagged or classified under “thriller”.

Words and phrases are key for matching seekers and providers – of information, knowledge, services, products et al.

The talent landscape relies on texts and phrases as other functions do. When we are looking for a job we search on a word or phrases in the web or a website. When an employer is looking for prospects, the employer searches on a word or phrase – maybe a title or a skill. In a day millions of searches are performed for searching for prospects for a job and for searching for suitable jobs. Needless to say the quality of match is critical to the employer finding the right prospects and vice versa. The matching is done to identify the words and phrases that may exist in the target doc, web page or web form.

But today, in the talent landscape there are severe issues that we need to resolve to make this “match” better. By better I mean one simple thing for now – the prospective people should not be left unfound. But the probability of this happening is quite high today. Why? Because of the challenges in the words and phrases we use. Let’s examine some of the key issues:

Acronyms: Different people express the same skill in different ways. We could have a job description saying “Enterprise Java Beans” and some of the target resumes using “EJB”. They are both referring to the same skill. However, a search on Enterprise Java Bean will not fetch resumes that have EJB in them. There are many such areas where acronyms are used and a straight search on them will yield poor result (prospective suitable targets could be left out.)

Synonyms: This is similar to but different from Acronyms. Different people use “Internet Marketing”, “Web Marketing” and “Online Marketing”, while referring to the same thing. If a search were performed on anyone the results may not include those that have used the other phrases.

Pseudo-synonyms: I call this so for want of a better word. These are similar skills written differently by different people. Classic example is that of .Net which some also write as DotNet. C# is written as C # and even C Sharp or CSharp.

Skills API AD

Finally we have the issue of context. Oracle is name of the company as also a database. The true import of what one used Oracle for or refers to will come out when we see the context in which the word “Oracle”  has been used. This is similar to making sense of a word by seeing the sentence in which the word has been used.

All the above issues have profound impact on the talent landscape. They inhibit our ability to “maximize” on opportunities – for example, opportunities for the job seeker to find the job that suits him or her and vice versa.

How can we overcome this problem?

It’s Your Skills has embarked on this tough challenge of creating a Skills Taxonomy. The Skills Library as it calls them is an expanding organized library of skills. It also seeks to address the issues stated above. The Skills Library is offered for use to anyone who wants to develop applications around Skills Taxonomy.