Have Skills, LinkedIn?

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LinkedIn tells us we are moving toward skills-based hiring and stresses the updated skills search that is smart about the content of members’ profiles and can guess skills. Is that so? Please review LinkedIn Wants Me to Pack Groceries and Learn Fluoroscopy if you haven’t. It’s a (sad) joke.

LinkedIn Engineering observes that Recruiters find and contact only a small percentage of members. The idea to expand Skills beyond what members enter comes from their wish that we find others. (But we would find others if not for the issues described in LinkedIn’s Members and Companies Disconnect, You Are Missing Seniority, LinkedIn, and other similar cases where LinkedIn misinterprets profile data!)

So here is how the “new,” wide skills are assigned, per LinkedIn Engineering:

“Please don’t confuse skills with “that list of skills you entered on your LinkedIn profile”.  Yes, of course, we use those, but we intuit skills from MANY places.  For example, we will give you “credit” for a skill if you (these are examples and not exhaustive):

  • Have it explicitly listed as a skill on your LinkedIn profile (what you were talking about)
  • Have it in your profile some place.  We actually convert all the text in your whole profile into one big field behind the scenes and use it to keyword search for skills.  The goal is to give people “credit” for skills they likely have, even if they didn’t think to explicitly list it.  We don’t want everyone having to do some crazy optimization of entering every keyword they can think of.  That sucks.  We want to give people credit for skills.
  • Have it in a resume we have access to (this is permission dependent).  We scan resumes for skills. 
  • We also “give credit” for skills based on connections at times.  So, let’s say you have a bunch of connections, and you are all “similar” profiles, and all those other folks have X skill and you don’t.  We will “infer” that you have that skill.”

What happens in practice is that the Skill search more or less equals the keyword search. As an example, it would find an experienced Developer for “Java” which she used in college years ago. Or she didn’t, but her connections did!

Additionally, Skill search in Recruiter has a unique syntax (why?). Looking for clinical therapy is not the same as looking for clinical AND therapy.

However, there still is a way to search by self-entered skills, via search  operators.

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