Friday, December 29, 2006

My New Year's wish

baby new year
It's that time of year again. When gyms fill up with people who swear this will be the year they lose weight, and stick to their new schedule for all of two weeks. When people stay up until midnight for no other reason than to say they did. When we come up with resolutions only because we feel like we should. And who am I to buck the trend?

There are a lot of things I'd like to see happen in the field of personnel selection in 2007:

- Making utility easier to grasp and communicate
- Increasing the visibility of professional assessment
- Re-doing Schmidt & Hunter's famous 1998 meta-analysis
- Increasing the use of videos (e.g., for job previews)
- Developing realistic computer simulation tests

But then I figured...why limit myself to these goals, which are somewhat obtainable? Let's throw caution to the wind and come up with something crazy. So here goes.

The recruitment community goes bananas on a regular basis for social networking/relationship management/candidate sourcing aggregation websites. These are your LinkedIn's, your Jobster's, your MySpace's, etc. These websites do (at least) one thing well: they create huge searchable databases that can (supposedly) be "mined" for talent. Whether they actually work or not is largely up to the skill of the miner.

So here's my question: what has the assessment community provided? Where is our cutting-edge tool that helps employers get objective data about job applicants? The closest thing I've seen is, a UK site where employers can provide "reference scores" for previous employees. But it's targeted at students applying for temporary jobs. And it's entirely dependent upon hypothetically-good-but-often-inaccurate references. But it's a start.

Here's what I want in 2007: I want to see at least the start of an effort to aggregate objective measures of applicant proficiency in a searchable database. I want to look up Sally Garcia from Escondido, California and find out what her analytical skill is like, how she scores on the Big 5, and what her computer skills are. I want this to be based on quality assessment tools, and I want to be able to easily communicate with her about her scores and about potential job opportunities. I want the system to narrow down the candidate pool based on my position-specific requirements. And I want to be able to link it with the other networking websites (see above). Whether this data comes from the applicant or (preferably) a computer system that uploads results in real-time, I don't so much care. But I want to know where the data came from.

Is that so much to ask? Maybe we can just get started. I hope so, because it would be a heck of a tool and would vault the rep of assessment to somewhere close to where it should be.

Here's to hopin', and...

Happy New Year!


Jamie Mistlin said...

Hi Brian,

Google has just informed me about your blog which I enjoyed reading.

When we developed the Online Reference Score our goal was to create a competitive temporary market place where only the strongest survive. We also introduced a facility where candidates and clients can pitch hourly pay rates which combined with the Online Reference Score provides a job tendering/bidding platform.

The scores and comments are completely objective as they are left by the employers and not The Online Reference Score addresses four areas: Punctuality, Presentation, Productivity, Quality of Work and users even have the option to view a detailed analysis for each booking the candidate attended. encompasses many features that are constantly exciting the companies that we deal with. You mentioned in your blog that you would like to be able to see what skills a candidate from a particular location possesses; well you can with All candidates are invited to perform a clerical test (Word, Excel and typing test) upon registration. The results are then published in their summary overview along side the number of general, computing and language skills that they possess.

Our clients also have access to a free service called Peace of Mind which enables them to test, profile and question short-listed candidates. Essentially we provide companies with 5 tools to assist the recruitment decision as well as the facility for us to arrange a telephone and/or face-to-face interview where you can speak to the candidate about their skills and anything else that you require.

In terms of communication offers of a fully integrated and seamless communication system. There is no need to download documents or send messages via a separate browser, instead simply press one or two buttons to either book, test and invite a candidate for an interview.

P.S. Our market is students and graduates of all ages 18-18+ however we are increasingly seeing non academic candidates registering and using the site.

Anonymous said...

The danger I see in having a searchable database for candidates, with all kinds of test scores, is that if it really caught on (in my opinion, quite unlikely), candidates could really have their job options narrowed down, as less than ideal tests are used (e.g., less than highly valid). No test, just as no interview, is perfect. So, I believe there is a danger in an "universal test scores."

Just my thoughts -- Michael Harris

BryanB said...

Jamie and Michael, thanks for the comments. Good points, and I realize this is pretty much pie in the sky. It would require monitoring of test quality as well as a high degree of sophistication on the part of the employer.

On the flip side, as Mr. Harris points out, less than ideal tests are used, and they will continue to be used. Might it be better to have test scores from high quality instruments to rely on, rather than the typical "Interviews are easy; I can put together a great interview in 5 minutes"?