Children, Families, and the Law, Center on


Date of this Version



Published in On the Job in Child Welfare: Recruiting, Retaining, and Supportinga Competent Workforce, edited by Floyd Alwon, Sue Steib, Barbara Schmitt (Arlington, VA: CWLA Press, 2009), pp. 119-161.


Copyright © 2009 Child Welfare League of America.


In this chapter, the focus is on recruiting and selecting new staff and on the steps agencies can take to ensure that they are doing the best possible job to attract and hire a high-performing, committed workforce. This chapter reviews a number of strategies for improving recruitment and selection processes and provides case examples from the authors' work with child protection agencies in several states. These projects have been accomplished by a team of researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Center on Children, Families, and the Law (CCFL). Some of the techniques described here will be familiar, whereas others are less well known in human service settings. All of the techniques are supported by empirical research, and readers are encouraged to refer to the references at the end of the chapter for more detailed information. Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize a caveat:Although research may show support for the use of a particular tool for a similar job or in a similar setting, it is critical that organizations marshal evidence to demonstrate the necessity and job relatedness of these tools for their agency. For this, the authors recommend the use of a consultant in industrial-organizational (1-0) psychology. These professionals have received specialized training in the methods discussed here, and they can help agencies develop tools customized for a particular setting and ensure that selected measures are valid, legally defensible, fairly implemented, and cost effective. 1-0 psychologists can often be found as university faculty members or can be located through their professional association, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SlOP; Division 14 of the American Psychological Association), at