On the surface, recruitment seems like a simple concept; it involves people finding jobs and companies finding people. In reality though, the industry is constantly evolving to meet the needs of everyone it serves.
Nowadays, the internet is usually the first port of call for those on both sides of the interview desk. Sites like LinkedIn and even Twitter are obvious places to find both vacancies and the talent to fill them. You’ve also got recruiters’ websites, which are all filled with the latest listings. It hasn’t always been this way, though.
THE WWII EFFECT
The first stages of what we could call modern recruitment were sparked by WWII in the 1940s, but it wasn’t for soldiers. It was around this time that agencies started cropping up, calling on workers who weren’t obligated to undertake military service to fill the gaps by those who had left for war. Once the war was over, there were huge amounts of people returning home, armed with new skills they could apply to domestic industries. The next task was to place them back in jobs, and it was at this point that the importance of CVs started to increase.
In the years and even decades that followed, more and more large companies began outsourcing their recruitment efforts – realising that leaving it to the experts was the best way not only to get the right people, but also to free up their own time for other business-critical tasks. By the time the economic boom of the 1970s had arrived, the relationship between recruiter, recruit and company had evolved. Most agencies’ focus was on serving the organisations, as opposed to serving recruits. Fortunately, things are back to being a little more balanced these days.
The 1990s brought about plenty of change for the recruitment game, for it was then that personal computers and the internet started to make their way into people’s homes and, of course, agencies’ offices.
On the job-seeker side of things, we started to see job boards being published online, meaning prospects could access and respond to new adverts, 24 hours a day, from the comfort of their own homes – the days of searching through newspaper listings every other day were numbered.
For agencies and even the companies themselves, access to talent pools became much easier. We had databases on which to keep huge numbers of prospective employees, all organised by the appropriate details (specialisms, experience, location etc.).
THE SOCIAL REVOLUTION
Of course this database concept quickly grew and by the 2000’s, it wasn’t just recruiters with access. Social media sites like Myspace and Facebook started showing up, with the simple intention of bringing people together. The recruiting world quickly realised the potential, and employers started using the platforms to spread the word about new vacancies and research prospects and hopefuls. This opened the door for dedicated professional networks – the most obvious example of which is LinkedIn.
Now that social media and mobiles are such dominant technologies in the western world, traditional recruitment methods – from billboards to newspaper adverts – all seem pretty redundant. The same can’t be said for agencies, though. Instead of damaging the industry, this new wave of technology is helping recruiters in a number of ways.
Most importantly, social media makes it considerably easier to identify and approach top talent, even if these people are in positions already. It’s also possible to cross-check applicants’ forms with profile information, reducing time to hire significantly. With most users seemingly addicted to checking and editing their profiles too, you always have access to the latest, most up-to-date information.