One day this fall, Ashutosh Garg, the chief executive of a recruiting service called Eightfold.ai, turned up a résumé that piqued his interest.
It belonged to a prospective data scientist, someone who unearths patterns in data to help businesses make decisions, like how to target ads. But curiously, the résumé featured the term “data science” nowhere.
Instead, the résumé belonged to an analyst at Barclays who had done graduate work in physics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Though his profile on the social network LinkedIn indicated that he had never worked as a data scientist, Eightfold’s software flagged him as a good fit. He was similar in certain key ways, like his math and computer chops, to four actual data scientists whom Mr. Garg had instructed the software to consider as a model.
The idea is not to focus on job titles, but “what skills they have,” Mr. Garg said. “You’re really looking for people who have not done it, but can do it.”