Type to search

Agency Central at 20: 840,000 employer leads delivered to recruitment agencies!

Back in 1999, our Managing Director, Kevin Drinkwater had the idea for an online directory for recruitment agencies.

He noticed there was no simple way to pinpoint recruitment agencies specialising in particular roles and industries – and set about creating an online start-up providing a solution to this common challenge …

A Recruitment Marketing Tool for the 21st Century 

The Agency Central website launched the following year, and as of today, we have introduced more than 840,000 employer leads (and 12 million candidates) – and counting, to specialised recruitment agencies! 

But, what benefit does our website offer to the recruitment agencies who advertise with us? Let’s learn a little more about how our site and lead generation tool work …

How it Works: Lead Generation and Business Development 

Every agency listed on our website is uniquely advertised, according to the type(s) of role they recruit for, which makes it easier for them to get found by relevant employers and candidates.

Advertising with Agency Central can help your recruitment agency generate more qualified leads. Why not get in touch with us today to learn more about our unique business development and marketing tool?

As it’s our 20th year, we’d like to tell our readers the story of our early days as an online startup. We’ll also take a look at the launch day version of our website and how it compares to today’s. Plus, we’ll give you an exclusive preview of our new look website before it goes live … 

Agency Central’s Own ‘20 Year Challenge’

When Agency Central was founded, back in the spring of 2000, the recruitment industry was drastically different to the one we know today. Cold-calling was still cool, social media recruiting did not yet exist – and web marketing opportunities for recruitment agencies were scant, to say the least!

The first iteration of the Agency Central website was launched the following year, after Kevin and his brother, Phil Drinkwater, our Technical Director spent many hours of their spare time perfecting it!

We’d like you to picture an online recruitment agency directory from the year 2000. How do you think the homepage might look?

In our very own twist on the #10yearchallenge, we’d like to take you back a full 20 years and reveal the Agency Central homepage as it appeared on day one … 

The Agency Central website as it appeared in 2000.

A Simpler Time for Web Design

So, there you have it – that’s how our site looked when we first joined the world wide web.

Many of our readers will recall this simpler time in the internet’s history. Recruitment marketing was very much in its infancy and a comprehensive directory website advertising agencies was rather a novel idea!  

To those from the younger generation, the look and style of our very first website may seem a little cluttered and frugal.

A Recruitment Directory in the Days of Dial-up

Bear in mind that at the time of our launch, the nation’s internet ran solely on dial-up, with typical connection speeds of just 14, 28 or 56 kilobits per second. For comparison, a typical UK internet connection today runs at around 50Mbps – almost 1000x faster than the best available 20 years ago! 

During dial-up’s glory days, pages with too many resource-intensive elements would load in tectonic time, so designers had to use images sparingly …

How Have We Changed?

So, how do you think the Agency Central homepage looks two decades on?

The Agency Central homepage as it appears today.

We were intrigued to see the two designs side by side after so many years. We’ve aged rather well, wouldn’t you say?

In order to remain competitive, we’ve had to freshen up the design and layout numerous times, in addition to ensuring that our site is meeting the needs of the ever-changing recruitment market that we serve. Here are some of the key changes we’ve made:

Improved Search Tools

Although the purpose of our website (a searchable recruitment directory and a business development tool for agencies) has remained relatively unchanged, the earliest build was far less intuitive than most modern websites – there was no search feature present.

With each upgrade of the site, we considered how to improve the user experience and make it easier for visitors to find recruitment agencies suited to their requirements. A big part of this has involved tweaking the search bar, which has appeared at the top of the homepage in more recent versions of our site.

Agency Central's Search Bar

The current version allows users to search by Location, Industry, Industry sub-sector and Employment type (contract, permanent, temp to perm, temporary or part-time).

Before completing a search, users must state their required industry and whether they are looking to hire staff, looking for a job, or neither. This allows us to suggest the agencies most relevant to their needs.

Of course, the search bar is not the only aspect of our website that has evolved. In fact, even the way our pages are designed has changed considerably …

Fixed vs Responsive Web Design

This early build of our website (which you can partially explore, thanks to Wayback Machine!) featured a fixed design, optimised for a 800×600 resolution. This worked well with most standard screen configurations around the year 2000. However, the chances are, if you’re viewing the page today, you’ll be left with a large blank space to the right.

Graphic explaining how to test whether a website is responsive.

Today, most web designers consider responsive web design a necessity, especially as in 2019, 53% of web traffic came from mobile devices! Designers must now consider a wider spectrum of screen resolutions than ever before, with users browsing on smartphones, tablets and TVs, in addition to standard computers.

Before Content was Crowned King …

The first version of our website was periodically updated with snippets of recruitment industry news – and we also curated articles from the now defunct Globeroom, which was a free online magazine aimed at young professionals, focusing on technology and professional development. 

While this approach may seem somewhat redundant today, 20 years ago, publishing original content was something very few businesses attempted. This is no longer the case and many businesses, from international tech leaders to SMEs publish industry news and commentary for their readers.

Enter the ‘Recruitment Spotlight’ … 

Agency Central is no exception and we now employ a team of full-time content writers who regularly contribute to the Recruitment Spotlight section of our website. We’re committed to bringing our readers fresh insights on the industry topics that matter, including getting the most of out of social media, how AI will impact recruitment and the challenges around unconscious bias to name just a few!

Our New Website: What’s around the corner?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our journey into Agency Central’s past and present. Now, as promised, we’re going to offer you a little glimpse into our future! 

Over the past few months, we’ve been hard at work perfecting the style, layout and features of our website. Here is an early preview of our brand new site:

Preview of the design for the new build of Agency Central's website.

We’re keeping some details under wraps at this stage, as some aspects of the design are yet to be finalised.

Advanced Search = Higher Quality Employer Leads

Having said that, we are planning to add a brand new ‘advanced search feature’, which will allow users to specify their requirements in greater detail, making it even easier to pinpoint the recruitment agencies they need.

This, in turn, should help generate higher quality employer and candidate leads for our clients! 

We’re excited about the coming launch of our new website and look forward to bringing you more details as they become available.

How have your agency’s website and marketing approach changed over the years? Leave a comment and let us know. We look forward to reading about your memories!


You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *