With 2010 right around the corner, here are some predictions for what the new year will bring in the area of recruitment and assessment:
1) More personality testing. Year after year personality testing continues to be one of the hottest topics. Look for more research, more online personality testing, and new measurement methods.
2) More boring job ads. Even though we know better, don't expect to see any big leaps in readability for 80% of job ads. Same old job descriptions. Maybe we'll see some pictures. On the plus side, more organizations focus on making their career portals attractive.
3) A slow trickle of research on recruiting. The amount of large-scale, sophisticated research on recruiting methods remains a shadow of that found in the assessment literature. Don't expect this to change.
4) More focus on simulations. 2010 sees more focus on simulations, particularly those delivered on-line, as highly predictive assessments as well as realistic job previews. Oh, and they likely have low adverse impact (research, anyone?).
5) Leadership assessment gets even hotter. With the economy improving and more boomers deciding the time is right to retire, finding and placing the right people in leadership positions becomes an even more important strategic objective.
6) Federal oversight agencies get more aggressive. With more funding and backing from the Obama administration, expect to see the EEOC and OFCCP go after employers with renewed vigor. By the way, have you seen the EEOC's new webpage? It's actually quite well done.
7) More fire departments get sued. In the wake of the Ricci decision, fire dept. candidates feel emboldened when they fail a test or fail to get hired/promoted. Look for departments to try to get out ahead of this one by revamping their selection systems.
8) More age discrimination lawsuits. With so many boomers, expect to see more claims of discrimination, particularly over terminations. Keep words like "energetic" and "fresh" out of your job ads.
9) Automation providers slowly focus on simplicity. Whether we're talking applicant tracking or talent management systems, vendors slowly realize that they need to make their applications simpler to increase usability and buy-in. No, simpler than that. Keep going...
10) Employers get more sophisticated about social networking sites. Many realize that rather than jumping on the latest Twitter-wagon, it's best to figure out where these sites fit with their recruitment/assessment strategy. Watch for more positions whose sole role is managing social media.
11) Online candidate-employer matching continues to be a jumbled mess. Without a clear winner in terms of a provider, job seekers are forced to maintain 400 profiles on different sites and may give up altogether and focus more on social networking. Meanwhile, employers continue to try to figure out how to reach passives; LinkedIn continues to look good here but needs to expand its reach a la Facebook.
12) More employers face the disappointing results of online training and experience questionnaires. Will they go back to the drawing board and try to improve them (hint: don't use the same scale throughout), or abandon them for more valid methods, such as biodata, SJT, and simulations? More research on T&Es is badly needed, even if we are just putting lipstick on a pig.
13) Decentralized HR shops centralize. Centralized ones decentralize. Particularly in the public sector, these decisions unfortunately continue to be made based on budgets rather than best practice. Hiring supervisors wonder why HR still can't get it right.
14) Fortunately, HR continues to professionalize. With much of the historical knowledge walking out the door and the job market improving, HR leaders are forced to re-conceptualize how they recruit and train recruitment and assessment professionals. This is a good thing, as it means more focus on analytical and consultative skills.
Keep up the good work everybody. And Happy Holidays!