Frequently Asked Questions

Find answer to the most asked question on HardSkills R&D recruitment platform

Patents & patent classifications

I am not a patent expert and have never seen or used one before, how does HardSkills help me to search and filter skills?

HardSkills uses machine learning and Elastic Search to translate the recruiter's terminology into search hits in the patent database in terms of skills. In filtering, we have created an intuitive user interface, where a well-illustrated hierarchical system has been created in consultation with recruiters with different levels of technical knowledge. In this way, we have made the tool easy to use for anyone, regardless of earlier experience of patents.

Are all relevant fields of technology represented within the international patent classification system?

The detailed classification system, with 61,500 detailed areas of expertise, is updated annually to constantly incorporate the latest technology trends. The system is often updated as soon as a new technology area is mentioned in academic research, several years before commercialisation. 

To account for possible gaps in the system, HardSkills smart algorithms also searches the full-text patent documents, in search of further categorisation opportunities.

How are patent categorisations related to skills validation?

The patent technology classification system, IPC, is a more than 50-year-old guiding document to systematise the categorisation of new technologies by all 193 patent offices using the system. The detailed system, with over 61,500 technology classes, is designed to allow easy comparison of categorisations between all member countries. 

Hardskills assigns the innovators behind each patent one or more of these 61,500 technical skills, as validated by the patent offices' experts. 

The result is the world's largest, and most detailed, human-validated database of technological skills - 29 million R&D experts in 61,500 expert fields. We call these skills Hard Skills. 

Searching for patent holders

How do I find candidates who do not have published patents?

HardSkills focuses primarily on the recruitment of experienced R&D experts in a variety of technology areas - 29 million candidates in 193 countries. 

For people who do not have published patents, there is not yet a way to categorise skills at the level of detail that Hardskills does. We are constantly working to improve and refine our product, and we are of course looking at this opportunity for the future. 

At present, however, Hardskills offers the world's largest human-validated recruitment database for R&D experts, with thousands of search hits for even the most detailed of technological skills.

How many candidates are there in Hardskills recruitment database?

At the moment, Hardskill's international database contains approximately 29 million potential candidates, spread across 193 countries. 

As HardSkills skills validation function is based on the time of the published patent document, generally the older the validation, the fewer candidates are still working. HardSkills automatically filters out candidates validated earlier than 2000, but you can move the time horizon forward or backward in any way you like.

How does Hardskills help me find the right candidates?

HardSkills allows easy free text searching. The interface is easy and intuitive making the platform straight-forward to use regardless of previous computer-experience. 

Whether you have access to a detailed technical job description, or simple keywords, HardSkills’ innovative algorithms will interpret and rank search hits based on their relevance in relation to your search. 

Hardskills of course allows boolean searches, as recognised from well-known recruitment tools such as Linkedin Sales Navigator.

Contacting patent holders

How do I contact candidates who are not on Linkedin?

Not all candidates are members of LinkedIn; R&D experts are no exception. 

Linkedin is certainly one of the world's largest social media sites, with over 700 million members, but both fluctuating activity (about 50% are active on a monthly basis) and active absence choices can make it difficult to get a response in the desired timeframe.

To bridge this issue, Hardskills also offers a direct link to Google, to facilitate the search for alternative contact routes.

How do I contact the candidates I have found in the Hardskills recruitment database?

Hardskills offers, through a unique matching algorithm, a link to the recruiters' favourite tool; Linkedin. Hardskills will not create an internal chat function as most recruiters want to keep track of fewer communication channels, not more. 

In the future, Hardskills plans to create links to alternative candidate systems, such as Xing, Researchgate and more specialised tools.

Creating lists

Does HardSkills offer API connection directly to my ATS (applicant tracking system)?

Currently, Hardskills offers formatted exports of CSV and Excel files, which can be easily imported into most established ATS systems on the market. 

We are always considering new development opportunities and looking at the possibility of API interfaces for future versions of HardSkills.

Can I export saved lists of candidates?

Yes, with a single click you can export lists in CSV or Excel format. The lists are optimised for good visibility for the recruiters' employers. The lists also enable the possibility to import information into the many ATS systems (Applicant Tracking Systems) already used by most recruiters on the market.

Is there an upper limit on how many lists or candidates I can save in Hardskills?

No, in HardSkills there are no restrictions on the number of lists or candidates that can be saved. 

However, for reasons of visibility, we recommend that lists and candidates are limited to a level where they can be effectively managed by the recruiter.

How do I save the relevant candidates that I have found in HardSkills?

In HardSkills it is simple to save candidates into lists. Simply click the checkbox next to the candidates profile and click the plus-sign to add it to a new or existing list. In this way you can have several different lists, for example for different on-going recruitments.

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