What’s Hot for 2007?

I am always looking for trends and emerging practices that are changing, or at least influencing, the way we source and recruit talent. The Internet is the engine that drives all the innovation we are seeing and has already, in little more than a decade, revolutionized how we attract, find, assess, and even communicate with candidates and how they interact with organizations.

Over the past year, several applications and new tools have appeared that are both exciting and a little frightening. Some of them will most likely go nowhere. They are just too edgy to ever become mainstream. Others may turn out to be the dominant tools of the next few decades.

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Here is a look at some that I see as significant. Please send me your ideas on what other tools, applications, or practices may emerge as key.

  • Candidate screening and assessment. Defining who is a candidate and who isn’t hinges more and more on being able to quantitatively define qualifications. Efforts to reduce turnover and improve retention are focusing on the quality of the hires we bring in. The use of screening and assessment tools promise to meet legal requirements and improve that quality. Charles Handler released his 4th Annual Rocket-Hire Online Screening and Assessment Usage Survey and reports a significant up-tick in the number of organizations using skills testing, personality measures, and background checking. Also on the rise are tests that measure cultural fit and cognitive ability.The use of these tests helps do that and will continue in popularity. Another merging practice is the use of simulations as a way to assess competency and skill.
  • Candidate/position matching tools. Right along with an increased interest in assessment are tools that will attempt to match candidates to positions. One is QuietAgent, which is already available and reportedly doing well. Some of the tools offer anonymous matching where neither the candidate nor the organization know each other until each has expressed interest. Each will urge candidates to create extensive profiles that include screening and assessment data. The more complete the candidate’s profile, the more successful the matching process. Most of these tools are using O-Net competency databases or other similar lists of competencies to help consistently define positions and improve the assessment process. Over the next five years, we will see a steady increase in the number of tools and the amount of energy that will be used to apply more stringent competency criteria to positions to meet legal requirements and to improve the quality of hires.
  • MySpace and similar sites. Young candidates are seeking corporate profiles on MySpace and use their presence (or absence) as an indicator of how “cool” an organization is. If they have a profile, they must be an okay place to work! The U.S. Marine Corps has a profile and has easily met its recruiting goals this year. Individuals are also creating their own recruiting-oriented profiles, in effect online resumes, and are assuming that recruiters will search through them. MySpace and Facebook are examples of destination sites. These are sites that people make their home page or ones that they visit every day. They become portals to connect with friends, to share ideas and communicate, to set up collaborative work spaces, to meet new people, and to look for employers. Smart recruiting organizations will be designing a profile for MySpace and will be experimenting with ways to use these types of destination sites more effectively.
  • Recruitment processing outsourcing. RPO has grown in popularity as recruiting management figures out what should and should not be outsourced. Last year many organizations made the mistake of seeing RPO as a cheap solution to their recruiting dilemmas. This year there is a better understanding that RPO can be a real help in filling specific types of positions, may improve the speed to present a candidate and time to fill, but it may not result in lower costs. Small organizations are finding that the right RPO provider can replace their recruiting function and deliver great results. Like all outsourcing efforts, choosing an RPO requires good planning, specific goals, and a careful search for the right RPO firm. RPO is becoming better defined and a non-profit association, the RPO Association is attempting to define and apply standards to the industry to improve acceptance and quality.
  • Referral remains strong but will give way to more. It seems clear from my conversations with recruiters that networking, referrals, and relationship building via the corporate website and portals such as Jobster dominate early 21st Century recruiting. Referral tools such as LinkedIn are becoming more robust and allow recruiters to reach wider audiences than ever before. Jobster will continue to evolve into a recruiter portal where recruiters can ask for referrals, do online search, and post to job boards. Overall referral will become less popular as the pool of referees is depleted and quality goes down. At the same time, these portals will expand the ability of a recruiter to tailor his or her search to the type of candidate being sought. Direct and personal referral may work well for senior executives who are used to being tapped that way, but to find a middle-level technical person may require steering them to a website or blog such as this one from Microsoft. Here, they can interact with skilled people like themselves and convince them that a change would be good.
  • Online people search becomes more sophisticated. Tools such as Zoominfo have changed how we use the Internet to find people. Zoominfo allows a recruiter to find a person and get a mini-resume of that person that was created by the Zoominfo software from a variety of online sources. This is a powerful tool to find candidates and to learn more about a potential candidate. Other tools such as W3 Data and Accurint help recruiters find emails and phone numbers for candidates whose names they know. As the Internet matures and more people have an Internet presence, these tools will be the cornerstone of good search.

While this list is far from comprehensive, I hope it has given you a bit to think about and a few new ideas to try out next year.

Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.

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7 Comments on “What’s Hot for 2007?

  1. Kevin, one of the biggest changes I think you will see if customers becoming savvy and aligning themselves with vendors and products and tools that are pay for performance similar to what we offer. Companies are tired of bells and whistles because the end result is all that matters, did I make a hire from this tool, product and or vendor and what was my cost per hire.

  2. Kevin, as an outsourced provider of admin, research, and sourcing support through an offshore delivery model, I am regularily speaking with corporations, search firms, and RPO’s about offshoring in recruiting. In 2007 we will see continued growth in recruiting organizations establishing offshore based recruiting support functions, either through their own, existing offshore service centers or to outsourced partners with offshore operations (or both). And keep in mind that this isn’t only about labor cost arbitrage anymore nor does it eliminate jobs or the need for a high performing recruiting function at home. It’s about the war for talent and tapping global resources to win it.

  3. We run 2 (soon to be 3) niche job boards here in Ireland and I am interested / amazed as to why the big companies / HR dont use us more. They stick doggedly to the standard generalist market 3 leader’s yet I am told again and again they dont get the quality cv’s where as all I hear from our existing clients (sme’s and agencies) is they love the quality of the cv’s.

    Is it that HR are too busy to do the admin?

    Any feedback from on-line savvy HR professionals on how we could get their business much would be appreciated. (suggest if we were to post their jobs, would this be of interest?)

    niall
    http://www.SalesJobs.ie
    http://www.ComputerJobs.ie

  4. Niall,

    Good to see some folks from the old country here.

    I assume that your issue is in sales, perhaps also in the way you approach your selling.

    HR / Corp recruiting in Ireland and the UK is a fairly recent phenomenon, and TPR / exec search is a very well established phenomenon. I checked out your website briefly and you obviously have a largish number of jobs, but 85% of them are posted by TPR / exec search.

    Perhaps you need to sell THIS fact (that the TPRs are using it to generate candidates that they could generate themselves at a much reduced cost), wouldnt those savings be great to show to their senior management the next time their review comes around or when asking for a bonus plan.

    Your issue is converting the target market to believe that yes… they can ideed recruit themselves for those elusive IT / sales folks that they pay search firms thousands of euros / pounds to find.

    The proof is ALWAYS in the pudding so you might want to give away a 2 week free trial, you also have to show that you are marketing to the right folks:

    when I ask the hard questions:

    How old are these resumes (does it show that on the site).
    How are you marketing yourselves to the folks you want to bring to the job board as candidates (sales / it).
    What companies can you give me as references (these need to be in a similar industry or area).
    How active is the site (traffic).
    How much.

    The big three or four are fairly proven and well marketed and so our challenge is to bring value based on the fact you are only focused in niche areas and the big ones cover everything for one (yes inflated) price.

    What messages are you selling now and how do you sell? Inside / outside sales?

    Eamonn

  5. We look for 3 things

    1. We want to know that the site will bring us resumes for the experience and location we need candidates. Many sites claim to have 1000’s of resumes but we end up finding nothing for our large metro area or the resumes are very old. Niche sites have to give us a free trial or we look for referrals that recommend the site.

    2. We usually stay away from sites that are not US based because those sites tend to provide international candidates vs US leads.

    3. Industry specific sites generally do not provide us with the full spectrum education and experience we need. Our ROI isn’t enough to pay the high costs normally associated with subscriptions to fill the positions.

  6. Kevin,

    What an excellent topic to discuss…….These trends have certainly made the Recruitment process more interesting.

    However the difficulties of recruitment still remain with many corporations short staffed. There is also the issue of companies …..taking too much time to hire top talent in the hiring process.There are instances where companies are taking 3 to 6 months to hire top talent. There are companies who waste a lot of time and effort by interviewing candidates……therefore lengthening the hiring process and making the hiring process more time consuming for the candidate, the hiring managers and the corporate Human Resources Staff.

    The reality is that companies are losing top talent when companies fail to hire talent because of variety of reasons:

    1. Poor Management teams.
    2. No authority to increase corporate head count.
    3. Hiring process 6 months or more
    4. Too many interviews 12
    5. No alternative career benefits offered to potential job seeker that is better than current job

    As a professional recruiter I feel these valuable tools have certainly made the recruiting process a lot easier. But the reality is that there are still internal obstacles within. There is simply no justification for a company to take 6 months to hire candidates especially middle managment, professionals or junior staff. It is unreasonable to expect candidates to wait six months for company to evaluate the credentials of a potential candidate who will simply seek alternative employment elsewhere.

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