Gregory Ronczewski leads the design of the TeamFit platform

Profiling (prəʊfʌɪlɪŋ / noun) – the recording and analysis of a person’s psychological and behavioural characteristics, so as to assess or predict their capabilities in a certain sphere or to assist in identifying categories of people.

Some of the best information about people comes from what they put into their search queries. You can tell a lot from examining search logs. Apart from gaining a direct knowledge of a person’s needs or interests—search for Nordica Enforcer skis as I did last winter, and suddenly every site show adverts for Nordica—we can learn about their habits of thought and long-term goals. There are several different patterns of search and the patterns a person uses most often tells quite a bit about their cognitive style.

Some of us are not very happy about this constant monitoring of our online activities. It can seem like a violation of privacy and the information gathered is being used to further other people’s interests and not your own. You can, however, turn this around, and start using the profiling for your benefit. Let’s look at this in the context of TeamFit. TeamFit gathers a lot of information about you, but it does so to provide you feedback about your skills and how you use them. An example is the system for how you can sort your skills. The idea is basically to turn profiling around so that you are in control. Instead of being profiled, we allow you to build a profile to reflect your current professional position, your aspirations and goals. We also allow you to hide skills that at this moment of your career may obscure the clarity of your skill profile. You don’t have to delete those skills – just hide them. We have on our drawing boards a possibility to have multiple profiles as many of us have more than one identity and skill path. Some of those hidden skills may be relevant in different contexts.

 

Core Skills  are those are skills you are really proud of. Skills that you use often and that are strongly connected to your current role. Think of this as a front window display of a bookstore. Best sellers are in the spotlight. When you make a skill a core skill, think carefully about the SkillRank, number of projects and supporting evidence for the skill. If you have a Solid Skill used on several projects backed by many people it means you are good at applying this skill. Think of this section as a mood board. It sets a tone of your profile. Skills that go well together will result in a balanced, well defined profile.

Target Skills – this is an even more important group. You can tell a lot by looking at a person’s list of target skills. It shows aspirations, desires and wants. It “indicates” the future course of a career. It also shows curiosity and willingness to jump into unknown waters. For me, this group is the best indicator of many qualities that I will look for when I build a team. It indicates if the person is “just cruising” comfortably or is trying to be right on the edge looking for the next skill to improve. When you open a summary view of a Target Skill, TeamFit will show list of people who have this skill. By visiting their profiles users can find Experts and hopefully Gurus in this area and perhaps connect with them. Finding mentors is pretty simple on TeamFit.

Downgraded Skills – during development we had many intense discussions about this group. On one hand we should allow the user to simply “delete” a skill from their list. But, it is not that simple. As you add evidence to your skills they become cross connected to many parts of the system, not only your profile but also projects that you are part of. Besides, I have always believed that skills don’t really disappear. They may not be in active use at this time, but somehow they are part of you. Let’s look at my own example – few years ago Flash and Actionscripting would have been on my core list. Today it would look odd to have Flash as a Core Skill. Few projects use Flash anyone. However, a person with Expert Flash Skills will most probably have “animation” skills, solid knowledge of JavaScript, motion graphics and so on. We decided to give the user option to “hide” skills by selecting “downgrade” category. Those skills will not be visible on Public Profile, or leave Skills without selected category. Those skills will be listed at the bottom of your list. We are also working on the ability to move skills up and down on the list so that the order you show skills in helps to tell a story.

Which skills are hot and show up in many searches? Which skills are not searched for at all? What is the location that generated queries? Demand and Supply. Skills are your most valuable assets and TeamFit will help you to keep an eye on this constantly changing domain.