Monday 5th October 1998. Can you remember your first day in recruitment? What has been the biggest change you’ve seen or experienced? If you take away the technology we all use today. No LinkedIn, no CV boards to search. No Facebook, twitter or Google. No internet full stop. All you have is your phone and a fax. How long would most recruiters of today survive?
I will never forget my first day, Monday 5th October 1998. Until that day I never actually knew recruitment existed. I’d never come across, nor heard of a recruitment agency. I’d never met a recruitment consultant, and the truth be known the only reason I’d accepted this job in recruitment was due to my cousin telling me to work for him as he’d set up a recruitment agency.
Day one I was still pretty clueless as to what the job involved, and to complicate matters more I was now an IT Recruitment Consultant. Other than playing ‘Donkey Kong’ on an old hand held electronic game, I had zero IT experience. I’d never used a computer at work, only a phone. My typing skills included me using one finger on each hand, one of which was constantly on the space key (I now use three fingers and a thumb).
I had a stack of calling cards with a company name, and phone number. That was it. I now think back and wonder how the hell I generated money from just a phone, and them calling cards.
I touched on this in an article I did the other day (Time to type? ‘You’ve got time to talk’), whereby 90% of my day was spent on the phone. Every single client contact was sourced by way of phoning up the company and asking for their name. I remember one of the ways I would generate a list of names to headhunt was by finding out one person’s name within the IT department, then speak to another individual within the IT department telling them I was organising a surprise birthday party such a person, and would they be able to send me a list of his/hers co-workers so I could send out some invites. I can imagine some of you now cringing at the thought of this. I must have organised more surprise parties that year than most people do in a lifetime.
The one thing I will never forget is the time my company first introduced Monster as a tool for us to search for candidates CVs. That for me was when I saw the biggest change in recruitment. Overnight the atmosphere changed from an office full of consultants stood up speaking to clients and candidates over the phone, to an office of consultant sitting at their desks in deep concentration. We had gone from an office full of vocal sound, to an office where all you would hear was the scroll of a mouse, and the click of a keyboard. That one tool had revolutionised the way our company started to work.
Like most things in life, businesses, and how we conduct our business is forever evolving. Take away the internet as a tool for recruiting now. How would recruiters survive?
I’d love to hear what has been the biggest change you have seen since starting out, and how you could imagine recruitment to be without an internet connection.