What’s Hot for 2008?

I am always looking for trends or 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.

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.

Web 2.0 Interactive Websites

As I wrote last week, the emergence of Web 2.0 websites is going to change the face of recruiting. We are finally seeing some really cool tools that allow any size organization to put up a great recruiting website. One of the best of the tools is provided by Standout Jobs. By using a flexible modular approach, a recruiting team can put together websites with video, pictures, blogs and many other applications. Take a look at Yoonew or Zurb for some examples of what they provide. Some organizations are also putting together career sites using Ning, which also uses a modular approach to website design.

Simulations for Screening

For a long time now, organizations have used paper-and-pencil tests to assess candidates’ personality, cultural fit, intelligence, and aptitude. Some of the tests have been adapted for the Internet, although they still emulate the old paper-and-pencil tests. Recently, online simulations have emerged, especially in assessing call center staff and other positions where skills are straight-forward and success measurable in quantitative ways.

Firms offering simulation advice or tools include Rocket Hire, a consultancy led by Charles Handler in New Orleans, a simulation for real estate professionals provided by Real Estate Simulator, Previsor, and FurstPerson, which specializes in call center screening simulations. The Shaker Consulting Group in Ohio is also developing some very interesting Flash-based simulations that mark the beginning of creating simulations for management and other positions. Some clients include CVS, Starbucks, Diebold, and National City Bank.

Candidate/Position Matching Tools

Right along with an increased interest in assessment are tools that will attempt to match candidates to positions. There are several similar tools in this category including JobFox, which has been around for several years, Itzbig, which I wrote about last July, and QuietAgent, which has also been available for several years now. The tools offer anonymous matching where neither the candidate nor the organization know each other until each has expressed interest. They all 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.

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.

The continued growth of social networks sped to the forefront of the news in 2007, and this year, it will continue to evolve as a useful recruiting tool. LinkedIn is the largest and most well-known among professionals, but young candidates are being wooed through Facebook and MySpace. Lots of younger folks gauge your brand and your “coolness” factor by whether or not you have a profile on these social networks.

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The U.S. Marine Corps has a profile and has easily met its recruiting goals this year. KPMG’s video-based profile showcases the capabilities. Many hundreds of other American and international organizations have profiles as well. 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,” or websites that are visited 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 profiles and will be experimenting with ways to use these types of destination sites more effectively.

Recruitment Processing Outsourcing

RPO has grown in popularity this year as recruiting management figures out what should be outsourced and what shouldn’t be. 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.

Emergent Worlds

Other areas of excitement include the use of virtual or emergent worlds, for example, Second Life. Manpower is an example of an attempt to use Second Life as a recruiting tool. The jury is still out on how this will evolve, but hats off to Manpower for leading the effort!

While this list is far from comprehensive, I hope it provides some food for thought and a bit of introduction to what is coming.

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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