How to use filters to narrow your search

Filters can be of great help if too many or too few candidates are displayed on your initial search. Here is how to use them.

Numerous filters exist on the HardSkills platform. Here are the different ones we can utilise to find the perfect candidate:

Find patents based on patent classifications

There are several established patent classification systems, including International Patent Classification or IPC and Cooperative Patent Classification or CPC. We have chosen to use the IPC system because it is precise and also includes clarifying headings in non-patent language.

The IPC system is a logical and hierarchical system that enables users to filter down to a detailed enough level for most needs. Today, there are approximately 64,500 patent classifications if we dig down into the very depths of the hierarchy. However, using one or two abstractions above the deepest ones is usually enough to find the right candidates. The following are the head categories of the patent classifications:

Competency and patent classifications you can use as filters to search for technical candidates
Competency filters available in HardSkills

You can find all patent classifications and any sub-category here

How to add or remove patent classifications from search

To add any patent classification(s) to your search, simply click the small plus (+) sign in the left of the filter. If you would like to browse among each patent classification’s subcategories, a dropdown menu will appear if you click the arrow to the right. 

Dropdown menu of sub-filters for a competency classification

If you want to return to the overarching view, just tap the back arrow next to the patent classification’s name.

It is possible to add any amount of patent classifications to your search. This is especially useful if you’re not certain about what classification or category your ideal recruit’s patent will be found in. Once again, it can be valuable to return to the brief or job ad to see what technical areas will most likely contain the patent and patent holder you are looking for.

Add filters from candidate view

Candidates can also be filtered by a variety of criteria directly from the candidate view. If you have found an interesting candidate this allows users to find similar candidates – those who also match your specific needs in terms of technical knowledge. If you are in the pop-up view of a candidate’s profile, go to the classifications section and click the symbol to the right to add the category to your filtering. 

Competency classifications related to the current search

This also makes it a whole lot easier for patent novices to perform advanced filtering. This means that after a free text search, users can look at the first candidates that pop up and, from the summaries, select candidates with similar profiles. 

Find patents and candidates based on location or patent office

The next kind of filtering available is regarding location. More than half of the candidates in the HardSkills database have information about their country of origin, and 29 million have information about their exact place of residence. This means it’s easy for us recruiters to find qualified candidates in close proximity to our place of work (if it’s not a remote working position).  

HardSkills filters allow us to screen for candidates within 1km-200km of their place of residence. Type in the city where the position is based, and choose the city, region or country you are looking for. Auto-fill will help you here. Choose location and then pull the location radius bar to your preferred distance. You can also search for and choose a country. 

Tip: Begin with a larger radius and then narrow it down if you need to. This way, you won’t miss any qualified candidates, and the chances are high that the people you find even within a 200 km radius will consider commuting or doing hybrid work.

Psst… Research shows 70% of researchers and R&D-experts can consider geographical relocation, so don’t be too quick to reduce the location radius! 

Find patents and candidates based on filing and publication date

The rate of emergence and retirement of new technologies is accelerating at an unprecedented pace. In some cases, skills and knowledge acquired by a patent-holder can become irrelevant within a year of publication, while in others they can remain relevant for decades. It is therefore important that candidates can be filtered based on when their skills were last validated. Other important implications of the filing and publication date are also the years of experience it indicates. If the patent is older, the individual patent-holder has had the opportunity to gather even more experience. But if it is too old, the candidate may not be working any more.

To choose the date(s) you want the patent to be filed and granted before, after or between, click the calendar icon and choose a date in the calendar dropdown menu. 

Choose publication date of competency verification
Calendar view of a month

In this way, you can experiment with finding seasoned engineers and experts in fields with a relatively low degree of technological advancement, or fresh expertise from a fast-changing field. If you are lucky, you might be able to find both! 

Example: How to narrow your search with filters

Now when we have familiarised ourselves with all filtering options available in candidate search in HardSkills, it’s time to put them to the test. If we go back to the previous example used for search which you can find here, we have collected a set of keywords and concluded that two of the key competencies should be part of our candidate of choice’s skill set. We can see that the company that recruits for the role is situated in Warsaw, Poland. Meaning, Poland should be our pivot point of search. 

A search in hardSkills conducted with filters applied

Instantly, candidates appear that either have filed for the patent when working in a Polish company, filed for it to the Polish patent authorities, or are situated in Poland currently. 

If we would like to make sure the patent holders are current residents of Poland, more specifically Warsaw, we can instead apply the location filter. Then, we can be certain the candidates that are displayed are situated in the desired geographical location.

HardSkills search with filters applied

Once we apply the location filter on our current search terms, the selection gets narrowed down. If we’re fine with the small selection this is fine. Otherwise we can experiment with removing one of our two search queries if one of the competencies is a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than a ‘must’. This allows our selection base to get much broader once again. 

HardSkills search interface with filters applied

Let’s now say we know for sure the patent holder must have knowledge in both ‘electricity’ and ‘chemistry’ which is why we add those classifications to our filters. To make it even more granular, we have now concluded that the knowledge must be recent as it is a quick-moving field. Hence, the publication date is set to be post 2014. Lastly, we delimit the physical proximity to the desired location to 60 km as that is a fair commuting distance.

We now have our final search query of candidates! This has left us with approximately 50 candidates, all ready for us to contact them. Our next step is to save all candidates to a list so we won’t lose track of the search. 

What filters should I use?

Different levels of filtering are available to users – from general filters like ‘Innovator's Place of Residence’, ‘Gender’ and ‘Industry’ to more complex, detailed searches that are reserved for expert users.

It is also possible to select filters directly from the candidate view, making it easier for patent novices to perform advanced filtering. This means that after a free text search, users can look at the first candidates that pop up and, from the summaries, select ‘similar candidates’.