Storytelling About SkillGigs With Kashif Aftab

Are you ready to meet the game-changer in the hiring arena? We’re bringing you an insightful conversation with Kashif Aftab, the innovative CEO of SkillGigs. SkillGigs is an interesting platform that’s been shaking up the staffing industry lately. With its unique approach to talent marketplace, SkillGigs is ensuring that travel nurses and software programmers craft their career paths with the best contract opportunities. But it isn’t just about job listings, SkillGigs offers a secure credentialing vault for safeguarding your essential documents and a 3D resume tool which gives software engineers the edge by presenting their skills and experiences in an interactive way. So, what’s in store for SkillGigs’ future? Stick around to hear about the expansion plans for other specializations.

But that’s not all! What if the job hunting process could be more than just a chore? SkillGigs is turning the tables by revolutionizing the job bidding process. So, imagine a world where the intimidation of negotiations is non-existent, the process is transparent, and recruitment feels like a swift ‘speed dating’ experience. This platform is ushering in the era of gamified job hunting, making it thrilling for job seekers and recruiters alike. Be prepared to explore how SkillGigs is weaving magic by quickly filling roles, ensuring that the crème de la crème of talent is found and hired. Join us as we uncover the future of recruitment with Kashif Aftab.Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.

Thanks, William

Show length: 19 minutes

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Kashif Aftab
CEO SkillGigs

Kashif is a passionate tech entrepreneur who serves as the Founder and CEO of SkillGigs. He oversees all aspects of the company, including product design, innovation, engineering, and business growth for the SkillGigs Talent Marketplace. Kashif is known for his groundbreaking work in launching eCommerce-style talent marketplaces and creating patented 3D resume technology that utilizes AI and ML. He has also founded SwipeFox, a cutting-edge recruiting and job search app, where he serves as CEO.


Storytelling About SkillGigs With Kashif Aftab

William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup, and you’re listening to the Use Case Podcast. Today we have Kashif Aftab from SkillGigs, and we’ll be learning about the use case, or the business case, cost benefit analysis, etc. Like, how do you justify buying software? And in this case, how do you justify buying SkillGigs? Kashif, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself? Make sure I got the pronunciation of your name correctly, and also tell us a little bit about SkillGigs.

Kashif Aftab: Thank you, William. Absolutely. My name is Kashif founder and CEO of SkillGigs. [00:01:00] SkillGigs is a talent marketplace where we’re disrupting your typical staffing industry and converting the staffing process into taking that into a technology process, if you will, and using technology to help travel nurses.

As well as software programmers land their next contract gigs across the country.

William Tincup: Oh, I like that. So right now we’re focused on those two niches, or can we do everything in between?

Kashif Aftab: What’s… No, so we totally focus on those two niches. That’s our bread and butter. We have over 200, 000 candidates who have joined SkillGigs in the last couple of years.

A lot of them are travel nurses and nurses. Software programmers, developers, engineers, database developers,

William Tincup: etc. What I love about nurses and travel nurses in particular is everything can be gridded out. Like they, they either have a degree or they don’t, they either have certification or they don’t, they have a specialization or they don’t, they’ve worked in whatever they worked in or, for how long they have it’s, you can almost see like a [00:02:00] matrix of their nurse anesthesis, they’ve paid, they’ve got their certification and all that, they’ve done all that stuff and they’ve been doing it for 10 years.

It’s okay. It seems like that’s easy to kind you all seen the same things?

Kashif Aftab: It is easy to grid out, absolutely. But I think the challenge is how do you bring it all together and organize it in a manner that it’s effect, it’s effected it’s effect, for the hiring managers.

They get the best out of us. That’s one of the problem statements, the use cases, right? Which is like a lot of these nurses have background checks, they have licensure checks. There’s so much that goes on when you’re in a healthcare delivery situation and when you’re servicing acute care facilities.

And that’s one of the problems that we solved using Skillgates, which is, you keep all of everything in this one credentialing system that we created, a vault, if you will that is constantly updated and it, the workflow the user experience and the UI is simple and easy enough [00:03:00] that you can keep coming back and using it as a nurse or as a hiring manager on the other side.

William Tincup: Oh, that’s nice. And you called it a, it’s a board.

Kashif Aftab: It’s a board like a skill gigs, credentialing board where documents are secure because a lot of this stuff is, proprietary and you want to keep people’s information as

William Tincup: secure as possible. I love, what I love about that is the portability again, take that wherever they want.

Yes. I love that. And the hiring managers, again, they can take that if they move to another place. They can then, sign back up, etc. The kind of, I can see some symmetry between software is engineers and nurses. Is there a desire or an appetite down the road to go after other types of specializations?

Are you good where you’re at?

Kashif Aftab: Yeah, no, great question. I think the name Skill Gigs derives from a vision that anything that we can measure skills on, we want to promote within the marketplace and help, land them their next firm jobs or contract jobs, whatever it [00:04:00] may be.

Initially, we started Skill Gigs as a Focused business on contract nurses or travel nurses and contract software developers and engineers, et cetera. But over the years, we kept getting hit and being asked to open it up for full time workers as well. And, we did. And so a lot of full time job seekers are also using skill gigs as a different way than your typical Indeeds and LinkedIns of the world, which are a little bit more static and more cold calling based concepts.

Whereas this is more of a using a technology to promote a certain candidate and then promote a certain job and then bring them together. So we use that. Concept on the full time as well. So yes, short answer is eventually we’re looking at other skills that could be measured and graded in some manner and bring them into skill gigs as well.

William Tincup: And again, I like the phrase of credentialing a platform, [00:05:00] being able to actually make sure, validate these things, which is really important. I can see that both where you’re at with nurses, but also with engineers. Yeah, be able to understand. Do you all to understand their skills? Are you doing more of the testing or how do you credential them, if you will?


Kashif Aftab: great question. Actually, we started SkillGigs if the first market that we attacked was software engineers in the Silicon Valley, and we’re like, let’s target these folks and see if they adapt to SkillGigs. And that was our riskiest assumption back when we started. And what we did for them is we built something called a 3D resume, which we patented.

And what it is that you come in and when you set up your profile in SkillGix as part of that process, we give them an option to go create their 3D resume. And, we feature that as a, a personal brand building tool within SkillGix or a feature. And what you do is you come in and you tell us hey, look, I’ve been working on Java J2E [00:06:00] in this particular job.

60% of my time in this job is spent with, let’s say, microservices or API development or cloud, work, etc. And we start gathering these data points from you in this profile development. And then what we do is… We take that over your career and in your job and we start populating these bubbles in a 3D resume format and we give these percentages.

To, that particular document so people can look at your three D resume and within seconds, determine what kind of a developer you are and what are your real skills versus, what are your strong skills, what are versus what are your weak skills, et cetera. And that kind of helps in that process of credentialing.

It’s what you mentioned earlier and that’s some of, that’s something that we have done proprietary in skill gigs to give developers that brand effect, if you will.

William Tincup: I like that. I like that. The thing is, I like the three [00:07:00] dimensionality of that have. And also what’s, what’s great about AI is it can then see.

Something that’s not stated, but it’s implied. If they’re doing this, they’re also doing this. It can round that out. And then what’s great is if… The hiring manager has an idea of what they’re looking for, not in a list, not bullets, like the old way, right? Okay, I need this checklist of things, but if they can look at something and build something a three dimensional to understand these are the skills that we need right now, but also the potentiality of these other skills.

Does this person have some of those skills and some of that potentiality?

Kashif Aftab: No, the potentiality is all key. And look, even today, recruiters are using edit find on resumes to find keywords that match what the hiring manager is looking for, right? And, and keywords don’t tell the right story, right?

A keyword might just be there because that is [00:08:00] something that a person was on a team doing a certain skill set, but really, they didn’t have hands on knowledge of it. And it’s akin to let’s say you need heart surgery, you want to go to a surgeon. Who does at least 15, 20 surgeries a month versus a surgeon that does two.

And I think same thing holds for hiring developers. If you’re hiring for a certain tech or you’re trying to solve a certain problem, you want to know that this person had hands on knowledge on this. Obviously, that’s what you do. Try to validate in an interview process, but what we said was, why don’t we validate this for you at a primary level in a 3D resume format so that you’re not wasting your time talking to somebody that’s not a fit for you.

That’s what’s

William Tincup: great. Obviously, what’s great about that is it’s also for great for candidates. So we can obviously see the great part for hiring managers and recruiters because it bubbles up the most, it bubbles up to people that are the most appropriate. You can’t spend time on all 100 candidates.

It just doesn’t work. [00:09:00]

Kashif Aftab: Yeah, you absolutely cannot do that. You cannot spend time on 100 candidates. You want to have a targeted list. And, then it helps, as you said, it helps on the AI side as well. A lot of these data points that we’re collecting and that’s the AI engine that we’re building which comes…

From our perspective, the goal is that once we track your, your hiring habits for certain roles and the 3D resume and your hiring habits coming together, it starts giving us a lot better idea of what works for you and what kind of candidates to bring to you when you post for jobs or when you’re recruiting.

William Tincup: I like that because it also gives some flexibility. For both sides of things that change, we’re doing such a rapid changing market with, AI and everything else that’s going on in our lives that, sometimes they used to say this about books. The very moment that you publish the book is the very moment it’s out of date, right?

Yeah. And it’s the same way with job descriptions and this old way of recruiting, [00:10:00] that, you post a job and that made sense at that moment. A month later, it doesn’t make as much sense. So having the flexibility of understanding what, again, which candidates to focus on, who has the most, who’s the most matched to it currently, but also who has some upside.

Let me ask a little bit about the marketplace itself. So for the candidate or importer.

So with the candidate, the, how do you sign those? How do you sign candidates?

Kashif Aftab: We built Skillgigs to mimic your typical e commerce marketplace, other marketplaces and platforms out there. So we wanted people to have a very simple, easy to use user experience into Skillgigs. So you come in, you sign up, you create a skill listing, you create your profile, you publish it, and then you enter the e commerce marketplace, if you will.

Now, the secret sauce [00:11:00] in all of that is our bidding process, which basically, allows the candidate to transparently go bid on jobs and vice versa, the employer to come and bid on you, so the employer is actually applying to you through the bidding process. It allows for a couple of things to happen.

Number one, it means there’s real action, real jobs, right? And everything is just sped up, if you will, so it’s like speed dating in that sense. But what it also does is it just takes away this whole fear of negotiations that happens for a lot of folks out there who are trying to find a job, and that creates this transparency where now the staffing agency is not determining the economics of the job with their own margins, sometimes going up or sometimes coming down, whatever it is, it’s all hidden in the staffing world, but in our world, it’s all transparent and both parties negotiate a placeholder If you wait, if you will, compensation first, and then they get to do an interview.

So it’s, that’s like how

William Tincup: the process works. I like that a lot. I like that a lot. And it makes sense to me because it’s like, again, it [00:12:00] makes everyone move fast. So they’re always sitting on a resume, so to speak. Now the hiring manager can’t wait around because talent’s not going to wait for you.

And it’s also great for candidates because they get to know their market value, put something out there. If, if you put something out there, let’s say 150 an hour, and no one bites

Kashif Aftab: yeah, you know for a fact

William Tincup: that the market’s telling you, okay? But you don’t know that in the kind of the historical or traditional way.

You don’t know. You’ll, you just ask for something and they either say yes or no, and they don’t there’s no way to actually know. Let me ask you a couple buying questions real quick. One is, your favorite part of the demo, when you get to show skill gigs to somebody for the first time. What’s your favorite part?

Kashif Aftab: I think for me personally, it is when they get into the marketplace and they get to see the candidates live interacting right then and there, that speed to recruit, when they see that and when they, [00:13:00] when you get that happy look on their face, which is like, Oh my God, a relief that the can is right there and I’m not having to go through a whole pipeline of cold calling, engaging and all that.

Other stuff that happens in recruitment. I think that is that happy moment when they see that, when I’m looking for a director of nursing, or I’m looking for an AWS developer or a Java developer, with certain, important skills that I need, for example, Kubernetes or something like that, right there, there’s not just one person, there’s 50 people in the marketplace, right now.

In front of me that are active, not just names that I have to go contact myself. That is the most, for me in the demo, that’s the

William Tincup: best moment. I can see that being really exciting. You know if you ever watched an eBay bid. Where it gets down to the last, it gets down to that last minute and people are just crazy, doing jockeying and doing different things.

There’s an excitement to

Kashif Aftab: that. Absolutely, there’s gamification to it and I think there’s relief to it. What I really love the fact is like, look, all of us who are responsible for some kind of a project or running anything, you [00:14:00] cannot do that without good people on your team. We know that. Our success directly related to the.

And I think if you ask anybody who’s managing anything or leading anything, they would tell you that their biggest fear is not having the right person, the right role, and then failing because of that. And I think that sucks, right? And especially in healthcare, where There’s a direct correlation between filling that role and being able to save lives, being able to provide healthcare and the speed and time needed to do that is so essential, which was very obvious to us, in during COVID times where a lot of our new customers who started up with us, they really came to us because they were struggling to fill these roles.

And especially in Houston which is the fourth largest city, but you know what, they were being out competed by cities like New York and LA and Chicago and those places. And, that relief [00:15:00] when they were able to bring in hundreds of nurses to their floors through skill gigs was just an amazing thing to watch and see.

That’s fantastic.

William Tincup: Okay, so two things. One’s buying questions, like for the employer side. What are questions, if they’ve never used a marketplace, if they’ve never, obviously, if they’ve never used Skillgates, what questions should they be asking your sales team when they first interact with them, when they first do the demo, see something they’ve never seen before, like what questions would you love for them to be asking you?

Kashif Aftab: Yes, that’s a great question. I think the number one question they should be asking is how do we differ from your typical and I’m talking about procurement, right? Contractors or travel nurses, so this is a procurement department that is already using a VMS or an MSP model. And they should be coming in and asking like, look, how does Direct sourcing helped me fill my contracting and procurement needs.

And how does it save me [00:16:00] money? And how do you ensure that the talent you have is as good as your old model? And I’m going to get that in, at least, I’m going to fill the same amount of roles or more through you versus using your traditional model. I think those are the top two or three questions I would ask as a customer coming in.

And if I was a customer who’s looking for… Contract that. Now, if I was a customer who was, looking to form fill POM roles, and a lot of our customers do both in skill gigs, they come in to fill POM roles, as well as, the contract and travel roles as hospitals. I would ask myself, how does this help my recruiters bring down my cost of acquisition?

Reduce my time to fail and ensure that I get access to the best talent possible in today’s environment. And then how is this different from me using a LinkedIn recruiter or Indeed? And how does this really help me in my day to day? I think

William Tincup: that’s pretty just in this phone call, I think that’s pretty that’s pretty self evident.

That’s the, again, those are both, all of [00:17:00] those things have a place. The recruiter, they all have a place. But not when it comes to something that’s specialized. I just don’t, I think that you need something specialized that, that understands the hiring manager’s needs and the candidate’s needs.

The last thing is to shift your favorite success story without telling brand names or any of that type stuff, but just. Do you have your favorite story that you like to tell people or your most recent favorite story that you like to tell people about SCOGIGS?

Kashif Aftab: Yeah, I think I’ll go back to the time when the largest hospital system in Houston approached us to help them out during, the throes of COVID and the fact that we were able to supply them nurses at scale.

I think we ended 2021 by supplying them at least five to six hundred nurses and became the top vendors when it came to procuring these nurses in just in time. I think the fact that we had such a direct impact on people’s lives during the scariest, probably, moment in American history in the last, maybe, I don’t know, 40 [00:18:00] years where we were actually dealing with stuff and not, we had Cold War, but, in Cold War, we were all thinking something might happen.

Right here. In the pandemic, it actually happened. Unfortunately, millions of lives were lost all over the world. And being able to impact that and being able to supply the nurses and manage that supply chain using technology was an extremely proud moment. And then everything our team did to step up. I think I can’t say enough about the leadership team, about, the people who are helping.

The hiring managers and as well as the nurses to get going and move at speed and doing whatever it takes, I think that was an especially a proud moment. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that whatever I do.

William Tincup: Drop, Mike walks off stage. But I love what you’ve built and I love the markets that you’re serving and the way that you’re serving with credentialing and mark in the marketplace.

I just love it. I just think it’s a wonderful way to help talent both count, talent never [00:19:00] sleeps. Talent moves really fast. It’s moving even faster today than it was a year ago. And that helps everybody. It helps the hiring managers if they want to move fast, and they usually do, and if they want to move fast, you can’t move as fast as the cadence you’re moving, so I just love what you’ve built, and thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Kashif Aftab: Oh man, thank you so much, it’s been a pleasure, and great questions, and let’s do this again sometime.

William Tincup: 100%, 100%, and thanks for everyone listening. Until next time.

The Use Case Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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