When human resources practitioners test hard, soft, or elastic skills, keeping assessments up-to-date is often the most challenging task of the process. With programming languages and other business skills constantly evolving, an HR professional can be overburdened with the job of developing and redeveloping skills assessments. Dave Balter, the co-founder and CEO of Smarterer, says that is the purpose behind the Smarterer API.
“We started off with a fundamental assessment that skills were evolving way too fast for organizations to keep up with them,” Balter says. From that assessment, they developed a crowdsourced database to maintain question databases. From that beginning, the Smarterer API was launched. “We wanted to create a platform that lets any organization measure the skills they needed to,” Balter continues.
The database behind Smarterer is comprised of two core functionalities. In the first, crowdsourcing enables anyone with knowledge of a skill to create questions that assess that skill and enter the question into the Smarterer database. Next, machine learning is applied to the question bank. Through this process, the questions are evaluated for their validity and accuracy, with the automated system able to process and rank as few as ten questions every 120 seconds.
Why is this important? As Balter puts it, “There is an issue with HR professionals knowing what skills people have. There are so many ways to evolve learning that HR cannot keep up with what their employees know.” There is also a constant evolution in the skills required for certain tasks. While marketers used to be required to focus just on marketing hard and soft skills, there is now an additional need for them to learn “hybrid skills,” such as HTML5 and WordPress.
In addition to hard and soft skills, Balter has also begun to identify “elastic” skills that grow and shrink in importance over time. For example, communications with colleagues is ever-changing, so today’s top executives might need to have skills in Dropbox, Evernote, or Slack to be effective communicators. In a few weeks or months, though, other technologies could emerge to replace these tools. Through the Smarterer API, HR practitioners can pick and choose from over a thousand tests to see if their candidates have the appropriate skills.
The Smarterer API used to be a fee-to-use database, but since the company was acquired by video learning firm PluralSight, the API has been opened up for free usage. Human resources professionals can go into the database, get the test questions, and be certain the questions are up-to-date, all for free. Smarterer’s test database is currently being utilized by organizations such as the University of Phoenix, eLance, and Degreed.com.
As an HR professional, it is important that you maintain accurate test banks for gauging your candidates’ capabilities in required skill areas. Smarterer is an excellent means for doing that, with question databases that are curated and monitored for accuracy, timeliness, and relevance. In short, this API helps you create “smarterer” skills assessments for your candidates and employees.