Recently, when cleaning up my office, I came across an SIA research article on trends and predictions for 2008, which came on the heels of the Ensemble/Chimes bankruptcy that shook the industry — and on the cusp of the Great Recession. Interestingly enough, some of the trends discussed then are relevant even now in light of these uncertain times.

Financial stability with our technology partners. Anyone who was in the industry at the time can remember the chilling effect the Ensemble/Chimes bankruptcy had on VMS and MSP provisions.  The article painted a dire picture and urged caution as smaller VMS firms attempted to enter the space. “Having a VMS go bankrupt with thousands of temps on the payroll and thousands of unpaid suppliers should be a wake-up call for customers and staffing firms across the United States and around the world,” the article said.

The article described how more and more companies — providers and enterprise clients alike — would need to seek enterprise guarantees and do a significantly greater amount of due diligence to ensure they would not be left holding a similar bag in the event of an unexpected bankruptcy. Now, more than 10 years later, with some economists warning of an economic slowdown by 2020, the same message applies. This remains relevant even now as the industry is far more complex with freelancer management systems, online staffing companies, niche firms and direct sourcing trends are creating what could be significant liability.

Social media in sourcing talent. The report also predicted the emergence of more creative, ever-increasing levels of technology. It cited professional networking sites like LinkedIn and Ryze (who?), as well as social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Friendster to play larger roles in how recruiters would source talent. Additionally, it said candidates would become reliant on nontraditional forms of résumés, specifically citing that video résumés would become more mainstream in 2008.

So far, those predictions have proven only partially correct. Companies are relying on social and professional groups to source candidates, but video résumés have not quite become mainstream even yet. Interestingly enough, online communities, such as for nursing, IT, and engineering professionals, are becoming much more important for recruiters to tap into, thanks to the rise of direct sourcing and technologies that rely on curated talent pools.

Of course, the 2008 article made other forecasts, such as the growth of RPO and the rise of outplacement, but it’s important to reflect on the past when dealing with the issues of today and recognizing common themes in the market over time gives us the opportunity to prepare for an uncertain future.