Recruitment past, present and yet to come

Now brace yourselves. I'm about to say something so mind blowing that Kim Kardashian's attempt to break the internet will merely make a dent when compared to the potential repercussions of these revelations. Ready?.....There was a time before WiFi. There was a time before smartphones and there was even a time before Facebook (so I'm told).    

In this pre-'like' age where people actually communicated in prose and tone rather than suggestive emojis ;) the recruitment landscape painted a very different picture. From the spinning of a worn out rolodex to having a global LinkedIn network at the click of a mouse, how far has recruitment really come and where could it possibly go from here?

Ghost of recruitment past

As we start the timeline from offline to online, lets close our eyes and set the scene of shoulder pads and brick sized phones that severely questioned the meaning of the term 'mobile.' Though Tomorrow's World had us dreaming of flying cars and paper pants (don't ask), technology hadn't quite been able to automate the recruitment process just yet.

With the inability to contact clients through a convenient portal of pixels and programs, much of a recruiter's time was spent meeting people face to face. It might seem absurd to many but interaction in the physical world was once common place and speaking to companies, attending networking events and personally interviewing candidates was just part of the everyday. Now while we can't ignore the amount of time spent creating magazine and newspaper ads, this is nothing when compared to the ultimate bain of the old school recruiter's life; reading CVs. Without the help of an online filtering system, consultants would spend countless hours reading through mile high stacks of posted or faxed resumes (oh how that fax machine was loathed) to try and find the best candidate for a job. If only they could have created an app for that.

"Come in! And know me better man!" (recruitment present)

How times have changed and the role of savvy recruiter has become akin to a Schwarzenegger-esque cyborg who can source candidates, sieve through CVs and contact clients in a matter of minutes. The effect technology has had on the recruitment industry has long been heralded but it's easy to overlook just how much agencies have had to adapt to the digitised noughties and a half.

Online forms and keyword checkers have completely cut the amount of time consultants spend reading through CVs. These filtering systems have not only sped up the process but also increased the likelihood of finding the best retail jedi, dream alchemist or wizard of light bulb moments. Increasingly though, CVs are beginning to fade away altogether as agencies and employers latch onto the latest trend in recruitment; video applications. Though webcams have been facilitating (and in some cases ending) relationships for the past decade, video resumes and even interviews are becoming the norm in a world that seems intent on keeping tangible interaction to a minimum.

Any dispute over the king of recruitment revolutions however lays the crown firmly at the feet of social media. LinkedIn and it's not so suited and booted counterparts Facebook and Twitter, have entirely changed how candidates are sourced and vetted with a global study suggesting that 92% of recruiters utilise these platforms. Social media enables consultants to cast their virtual recruitment net far and wide, whilst also allowing for snap decisions based on drunken profile pictures and misjudged bios. These online portrayals give agencies more of an insight into a person's character than a two sided list of achievements or nicely edited video package ever could.

So what's yet to come?

Nostradamus may have tried his hand at predicting undefined doom but it appears the stars promised him nothing when it came to the future of recruitment.

If we were to look into our very own Mystic Meg branded crystal ball, current trends would suggest that the industry is going more mobile (all hail the recruitment drones). It's thought that around 70% of candidates look for jobs on a mobile device and as smartphones continue to rise up and enslave mankind, this tendency is likely to increase. The shift ultimately means that recruiters will have to optimise their sites and services to target the 24 hour connected job hunter.

The future of recruitment almost completely lends itself to technological advancement and those who are able to adapt to changing markets and buildings rising up on hydraulic legs are the ones that will stay ahead. While these developments may make the recruitment process more efficient, technology could never totally replace a true judge of character that can only come via personal interaction.

One thing that's for sure though, is that consultants will have to be proficient online marketers as much as they will recruiters with a growing talent shortage meaning competition for skilled workers will be stronger than ever.