Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How recruiting has changed...

People always say they want change; but the truth is most people are afraid of change and struggle to embrace it. Why? Who knows but try floating some new ideas around your office and see what happens.

I’ve been recruiting for over a decade and I can tell you without a doubt…if you don’t like change don’t get into recruiting. Here are just a few ways things have changed since the pre-internet days (and yes, I’m dating myself):

1) Rolodex, what the hell is that? Right, anyone have a hard copy rolodex anymore filled with cards? I doubt it. But that was THE tool back in the day and if you didn’t have a good one you were clueless. (I still have “most” of mine, in a stack of nasty cards on my desk, I call that Old School). Nowadays we use LinkedIn (you’re welcome Janice) or Plaxo or Facebook or something to track our leads……..paper rolodex on the desk? Not so much.

2) Cold calls – I love cold calls and frankly miss them but they just don’t work like they used to back in the day. Why? Most people don’t answer their desk phones or even have them anymore! I know a TON of great engineers who never answer the phone and only respond things via email. Ten years ago, you had to make your 100 calls a day (minimum)….now, you need to keep making contact via email, “In-Mails”, Chat or Facebook……cold calls are for dinosaurs.

3) Research – Ten years ago, research was the holy grail of recruiting. Hit the library for some data; cold call the after-hours night security guy for some names, read the paper for articles on a company etc. etc. Now? Um, “Google it”. Post a question on a “Linked In Group”, we’ve literally got hundreds of sources to do research, all of them at the tip of our finger, free and produce results in seconds. Amazing.

4) HR Generalists who recruit – This may be the biggest change of all. When I started, HR Generalists did 90% of the recruiting and outsourced the work to agencies…than in the late 90’s or so companies started hiring “recruiters” to do the staffing. HUGE HUGE HUGE change! Why? Because you now had companies building teams of people that could fill any job, in any industry without paying an external fee to find the person.

There is more change coming. Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc are all changing the face of recruiting again. Social networks, video resumes, tweets, blogs etc etc make recruiting a never ending game of innovation, creativity and competition to find the best people you can for your organization.


  1. Hi Jeff,

    a few comments

    1. I think moving away from paper happened about 15 or so years ago. Once email and PC databases became popular.

    2. are you saying that if you made 100 calls today that you would get less response now that in the past? I don't see those type of results and I believe that we are already moving back to a more personalized approach and away from the impersonal email or inmail.

    3. I am seeing anecdotal evidence that says the best contributors, especially in high demand fields, are choosing to opt out of the Linkedin "hunting preserve".
    Sure we obtain results from search and Social Networks, so does every other recruiter. Maybe that apple low on the tree and easy to pick is not as sweet as that hard to find one up near the top?

    4. the majority of companies cannot afford in house recruiters.

    I enjoy your blog, just thought I would add my contrarian 2 cents.

  2. Hey Tom, Sorry for the slow response! I think the real "great" recruiters use the phone, email, internet, inmails etc to find great people. I know a lot of recruiters who make very few calls and/or don't rely much on the web. I think you have to use "all of the above" to truly thrive in the industry now.

    Thanks for reading!