I was recently reflecting on how much Recruiting has changed since my first days as an HR Intern/Assistant back in the mid-90s. Before FaceBook and LinkedIn, Taleo and Twitter, Recruiter's Lounge and ERE.net - before the Internet was available on every work computer - what did we spend our days doing? Come along as I take a trip back down memory lane.
The Old School Job Search
In the 90s, job seekers would read their local newspaper's Classifieds section to find out who was hiring. If a candidate didn't apply in person, they may have gone to a local Kinko's and paid to fax their resume (and cover letter) for consideration. (Depending on how serious they were, they'd wait around for a fax confirmation!) Resumes received by HR departments would actually be read by a person, not scanned by software for buzz words. I was tasked with skimming resumes before submitting (i.e., walking over and placing in the inbox of the HR Coordinator) for further review.
When it came to professional development, there were no webinars or eLearning options. Instead, I would request approval from management to attend a meeting with my local PIHRA or SHRM office. Or maybe even sign up for a Bernard Hodes seminar to stay abreast of employment law and market trends.
Back then, "apps" was HR speak for "employment applications," not for "a special type of software application for a smartphone or mobile device."* Thanks to technology, I have the awesome opportunity to blog about my HR experiences. Ironically, when I started in HR, the word blog hadn't even been invented.**
At Castle Rock Entertainment (CRE), we sent a nifty two-sided pre-printed postcard to candidates upon receipt of their resume (which I would address in my neatest cursive on the postage side). The verbiage on the postcard confirmed receipt of the job seeker's resumes and let them know they would be contacted via phone in two weeks if we were moving forward with their candidacy. I recall mailing these postcards within two days of receiving the resumes.
In my days at NBC as an employee relations assistant, my favorite task was to update the "job hotline" on a weekly basis. I would use my most professional phone voice, being sure to enunciate every word, knowing full well that if I stuttered or misread my script, I would have to delete the entire schpeel and begin again. In terms of applicant flow, employees would often hand deliver (or interoffice) resumes of their friends/family to the office. For externals, I received the mail in a crate delivered by the mail room staff, opened letter-sized envelopes with my favorite silver letter opener (the paper cuts were killer), and checked the fax machine for resumes hourly.
When I wasn't answering the phones and redirecting candidates to the job hotline, I was filing hard-copies of candidate resumes in letter-sized hanging file folders labeled by position. When positions were filled, I moved the files from one drawer to another. I mailed a closeout letter (signed by the HR Manager) to everyone who applied, thanking them for their interest in the company.
I remember when I started at E! Entertainment as a Contract Recruiter. I was placed in a closet (hey, they were short on office space), given a desk, phone, computer and a 3 foot high stack of resumes (possibly from walk-ins or received via fax). With no job descriptions, and very little understanding of the TV Production world, I was instructed to call candidates and start interviewing. I started phone screening and conducting face-to-face interviews, and quickly learned about various positions - from Tape Logger to Creative Director - by talking to the people who were actually doing the work. A few weeks after interviewing what felt like 100 candidates, I spoke to several internal department heads about their needs, completed the necessary paperwork (then called an "RFP," Request for Position, in triplicate) and submitted my requests to the HRIS technical folks. Magically, within days, the jobs I submitted were "posted" electronically on the company's website.
Present Day: 2012
Unlike the days of yore, the pace of today's recruiting scene has reached a fever pitch. Recruiters are busy keeping up with Web 2.0, scrolling through 200,000,000 tweets a day, managing hundreds of applicants per job, sourcing additional talent by scouring the net, scheduling & conducting phone screenings for 20-50 separate positions, meeting with hiring managers, carving out time to watch video resumes via YouTube, and the list goes on. It's amazing how much the recruiting process has evolved. I don't miss the paper cuts, but at times, it's nice to reminisce on how it used to be. Just imagine how different it will be 10 years from now!
-->What do you remember about your earliest days in HR/Recruiting? I'd love to hear your fondest memories!
In case you need help managing the myriad of social media tools at your disposal, check out:
20 Apps to Help Manage Social Media http://www.informationweek.com/thebrainyard/slideshows/228200568
In case you're a glutton for punishment, here are 33 online recruiting tools that you may not be using: http://www.ere.net/2011/09/08/33-online-recruiting-tools/
*Campbell, A. Small Business Trends. What the Heck is An App?" Retrieved from http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/03/what-is-an-app.html
**The word blog (short for weblog) can be traced back to it's origins in nineteen-hundred and ninety-seven. Yes, the 1900s! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog
Maisha Cannon is a Senior Recruiter and Researcher committed to introducing employers to talent that will enhance and grow their businesses. Over the span of her 15 year career in Human Resources, Maisha has filled over 1,000 positions, and has coached hundreds of candidates on resume writing, interviewing skills, and career planning. She spends her free time blogging, engrossed in social media, and singing along to the thousands of songs in her iPod.