How the Recruiting Process has Grown through the Years
Until the early 20th century, recruitment of the workforce in the United States was largely an informal process, based on local hiring from the community through word-of-mouth.
In the 1940s, a significant part of the workforce was called upon to serve on military duty in the Second World War.
This created major gaps at the workplace. After the war, there was an industrial boom in the country, and a paradigm shift from agriculture to manufacturing took place very fast.
Suddenly, there was a demand for thousands of skilled workers in a wide range of businesses across the country. To fulfill this demand in an organized manner, a new solution was found: the recruitment agency.
Proliferation of Recruitment Agencies
Recruitment agencies rapidly mushroomed in the urban regions, and began to advertise for young and capable individuals who had either not been called into military service or had returned from the war. As the war ended, the role of the recruitment agencies became more prominent.
They were given the task to recruit war veterans at a time when the working talent was in short supply. As the trade and industry expanded, the workforce needs of the country grew and the recruitment agencies proliferated.
Shift in Focus from Candidates to Employers
During the 1950s, the key focus of the recruitment agencies was to identify and develop talent, and make sure that the deserving candidates found the right jobs and were satisfied. However, over the next two decades, as the talent pool increased, the focus of the recruiters began to shift towards the needs of the employers.
Corporations were growing fast and had little time or capacity to identify and hire the best talent on their own. Clients began to outsource this task to recruitment agencies, while the agencies became increasingly attentive to the client’s unique hiring needs.
Use of Technology in Recruitment
Until the 1980s, recruitment was still heavily dependent on newspaper advertising and word-of-mouth references.
Storing of candidate information was also a challenge. But with the advent of the PC and the Internet, online candidate databases and Application Tracking Systems came into practice, making the hiring process much faster and more efficient.
Social Networking Added a New Dimension to Recruiting
The emergence and popularity of social networking sites from 2010 turned out to be another milestone for the recruitment industry.
Social networks allowed candidates to promote their personal branding, while the recruiters had a whole new opportunity to explore millions of professional profiles just with a simple click of the mouse.
The professional social network called LinkedIn was a game-changer for the recruitment industry. Candidates recognized the importance of social engagement and made a conscious effort to present their unique “online personality” via LinkedIn. The rise of Facebook and Twitter also helped in this process of transformation.
The growing popularity of these online networks has resulted in a kind of universal digital database of candidates, which has substantially enhanced the quality of candidate search for recruiters.
The Changing Face of the Recruitment Agency
With the social and mobile revolution, the recruitment agencies that have been quick to adapt themselves to the change, have managed to differentiate themselves from competition.
Smart recruiters are using innovative digital tools and recruiting techniques to deliver greater value to both the candidates and the clients, and thereby making a profound contribution to the American economy.