A Brief History Of Time (The Recruitment Edition)

I started working in recruitment back in 1998. It was the year that the Good Friday Agreement was signed, Google was founded, France lifted the World Cup and Billie reached No. 1 because she wanted to (remember that?)

The Digital Revolution was still in its infancy and we were operating in a world with painfully slow internet.  Young people might shake their heads in disbelief but CVs were still hard copy, posted or faxed through to your office. My fellow 90’s recruiters may remember the joy of cutting a roll of faxed CVS down to the right size!

Databases were kept on floppy disks. These came with limited storage and you were always terrified you were going to damage them but they paved the way to where we are now.

Mobile phones were just phones, although Nokia’s came with one of the greatest inventions of mankind – ‘Snake’, a gaming phenomenon.

Perhaps most bizarrely of all, reference checking was an optional extra – it seems incredulous now but yes that really did happen in the 90s.

SAP at this point was v4.6c, a standalone system that did not operate in real time, with SAP S4/HANA and the move to the Cloud still some time away.

Vive La Revolution

As tech changed so did our industry. One of my favourite things is the introduction of social platforms such as Linked In.  As it evolved it became the perfect platform for recruiters allowing us to network, headhunt and connect to people across the globe. Add to this, recruiter portals and online job boards with searchable CVs and it feels like we are living in recruitment utopia!

Another game-changing piece of tech is video calls. It started off with Skype and meant that face-to-faces can now happen remotely – goodbye to coordinating meetings for a time when everyone involved is on site.

Psychometric testing and analytics are another way recruitment has changed for the better. These allow us to improve retention, costs, legal processes and I think most importantly diversity.

But is it all good news?

It’s true that tech advancements can be a double-edged sword. As we gained the ability to interview remotely, we’ve lost out on face-to-face interactions. Giving candidates the opportunity to look around their potential new workplaces, shake hands with new managers and try out the commute. Does this really matter? There has been an increase in candidates leaving roles after underestimating a commute so I think it does.

Digital tech also means that you can apply for a role at the click of a button. We’ve seen people casually applying for roles, when they don’t even want it! It leaves recruiters with the critical task of weeding out those who really want a job from the ones who just want to see how good their CV is.

Next Steps

Despite some drawbacks, it’s an incredibly exciting time for tech at the moment, and it feels like the latest advancements are made for the recruitment industry.

AI is going to make us work smarter. From predictive technologies that will enable us to identify the perfect candidate to tools to write the perfect job ad. It’s a game-changing moment for recruitment.

I’m also waiting with baited breath for further developments in our software. It’s going to make data even more accessible and processes even more streamlined.

We’re now on SAP S4/HANA, the fourth version of SAP business suite.  Through it we can simplify data, access the Internet of Things, view big data and so much more.

In the last 23 years, technology has changed the face of the recruitment industry. It’s made things smarter, faster and on the whole easier. It’s been an unbelievable ride and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.

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