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July 31, 2013

In Big Data, Jobs Search For You

Alex Woodie

You may not know it, but if you’re a software developer, there is likely a profile of your talents, skills, and work experience that exists on the Web. And if it doesn’t yet exist, it can easily be assembled from social media websites and other big data sources by those in charge of hiring developers and other positions in the IT industry that are in high demand.

The intersection of social media and the job market has not always been a smooth one. You might even know someone who has nuked his or her Facebook account with the hopes of wiping out words and pictures that could compromise his or her ability to land a new job.

But the social Internet is being used in a decidedly different way these days. According to a recent story in Computerworld, a new class of search engines is emerging that can canvass the Web for every piece of data about a person, assemble it into a master profile that ranks their knowledge, skills, and experience, and serve the data to recruiters, who can slice it and dice it to find just the right person for a job opening.

This new class of talent search engines is being offered by firms like Gild, RemarkableHire, TalentBin and Entelo. Part of the allure of these services is the capability to peruse a list of “passive” job seekers who aren’t actively looking for a new job. It can be difficult to locate top talent, the Computerworld article says, because many developers skilled in using open source tools don’t bother keeping their LinkedIn account current or posting their latest resume to the major Internet job boards.

The search engines take a wide approach to gathering and assimilating information. For example, if an individual has a lot of reputable followers in their Ruby repositories on GitHub, the search engine will conclude that you are skilled in Ruby development. On the other hand, if a Java developer is often spotted posting to Twitter about writing Java, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything, because unskilled Java developers are just as likely to Tweet about Java as the good ones are.

Just about any public Internet site that might attract developers to say or post something about themselves and what they do–email lists, user groups, even the U.S. Patent Office website–is indexed regularly by the search engine crawlers.

This targeted approach to job recruitment is primarily relegated to the field of software developers today. But the odds are good that it will be used in other industries where skills are a premium, including healthcare, law, engineering, and other aspects of high tech.

“In the future, your online body of work will speak more loudly in the recruiting process than will your resume and interviewing skills,” Red Hat CIO Lee Congdon told Computerworld.

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