What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in recruitment over the years?


When I first came into recruitment, there was no internet. There was no email.

Advertising was something that had to be planned in advance. Job ads went out in traditional media – magazines, trade publications, newspapers, that kind of thing. And you had to get copy and artwork in at least two or three days beforehand.

It was highly expensive, which meant we had to work much harder to get that kind of stuff out there. There were a lot more creative ads out in those days, for those very same reasons.

And then the internet and job boards happened, and – to cut a long story short – it threw creativity out of the window.

From the early 2000s right through to, probably, about four or five years ago, maybe a bit longer, it was all about quantity. Suddenly, jobs were very inexpensive to publish. Anyone could do it, from anywhere.

Job boards made it very easy for recruitment agencies to build accounts and banks of jobs. And it became all about the volume rather than the quality.

And that’s actually where the habits that Jackie and I train people out of, took root.

You take the client job spec, you doctor it a little bit to take away the identity and you put it out there. And if you put it out there often enough, you’ll pick up some people who either are desperate to get out of their job or were recently made unemployed.

In the early days of that kind of movement, those ads would attract pretty decent candidates because applying for jobs pre-internet was also a pain in the backside. It involved stamps and envelopes and printing off CVs.

So there was a novelty factor for a few years, where candidates didn’t really bother about the quality of the ad. They were just grateful for the fact that they could find out about jobs very quickly and apply very quickly.

But, as the volume and the quantity increased, and they started getting messages via social media and LinkedIn, eventually it just created so much fatigue that it created an environment where creativity started to become fashionable again. And good content started to produce results in terms of re-engaging people who otherwise had got bored of looking at job specs or very dry job content.

So things are moving back in another direction. But that was probably for me, from the way I look at recruitment, was probably the biggest change. The internet killed one of the skills that I had back then, which was producing good ads. But, thankfully, it’s come back.

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