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.