My career in recruiting started back when the internet was still in its infancy. The invention and implementation of the world wide web took place in the late 80’s and 90’s however, it wasn’t until about 1996-1998 that the commercialization of the web really started to take off. Despite this, the internet was still not widespread and most job seekers did not have computers or smart phones they could use to search for jobs.
Post internet Recruiters are incredulous at the idea that Recruiters could find candidates without the use of the internet and looking back now, it is hard to imagine recruiting without the use of the internet and technology we have today.
Given that standing on a corner wearing a sandwich shop sign and ringing a bell to advertise that that we were hiring was not an option, we had to resort to other ways of recruiting.
Our principal way to find candidates was to advertise in multiple newspapers, however that was very costly and not very effective, especially for our hard to fill positions. Before the internet it was very challenging to find passive job seekers and we would often use the yellow pages to locate a business’s information to call directly into a company. This method of identifying passive candidates was not always effective for every position.
Recruiters did not have resume databases to search for candidates and we often had to wade through hundreds of resumes that had been mailed (yes mailed) or faxed in from job seekers. Today Recruiters use Linked in and similar websites to invite passive candidates to join their network or to get referrals.
Companies would advertise recruiting events that were held in hotel conference rooms, job fairs at the local EDD office, and other venues. Additionally, we attended major job fairs, and we visited various university, city colleges, and vocational school campuses to recruit candidates. Recruiters built relationships with various local resources such as One Stop Centers and Workforce Partner organizations who referred candidates to us. We manually built our network and candidate pipelines and entered that information on index cards kept in our ever-expanding rolodexes, as opposed to populating the information into our Applicant Tracking Systems.
Attending networking events for different organizations was another effective method of building a pool of candidates; however, building a true referral network took time and effort back then. Today Recruiters network with online communities like Linked in and have access to a multitude of other social media sites, and a never-ending supply of search engines all of which produce much faster results.
Subsequently whenever we get frustrated with sourcing candidates in a resume bank, search engine, or ATS, we should bear in mind the impact that our current technology has had on the ease and expediency of our recruiting efforts.