Recruiting basics: Old vs the new


Transport yourself back to a time when eager young recruitment professionals spent hours trawling through piles of CVs and narrowing down candidates in face-to-face interviews.

It may sound prehistoric to some of you, but this was the recruiting basics only a few years ago.

Let’s face it, the industry has been moving fast and today’s high-fliers are out-geeking teenagers with the amount of time they spend staring at computer screens, stroking iPads, tapping frantically into mobiles and slaving over social media sites.

Arguably, the old way is more personal and the new is more scientific, but the big debate is which method gets the best results? We reckoned it would be useful to take a look…


Recognising tradition

You can’t deny it. Before technology took hold, there was a lot more personal interaction. Recruiters spent hours speaking to clients and industry contacts either on the phone, in one-to-one meetings, over lunch or at networking events. Besides getting down to business, they were picking up valuable industry trends and hot tips on who might fit a role along the way while building relationships.

When they weren’t connecting with potential young jobseekers at college careers fairs, they’d be finding candidates by analysing their target market and placing ads in the relevant newspapers and magazines as well as cold calling and trawling through business cards and old CVs.

Then the job applications poured in and recruiters would knuckle down with a stack of CVs and make a shortlist based on subjective information such as availability, qualifications and personality. In the absence of an online filtering system, they’d often have to sit through countless face-to-face interviews, too, before passing on a list of potential candidates to the client.


Thoroughly modern

New technology, including the Internet, smartphones and tablets, means information is available anytime and anywhere, making today’s recruitment world smaller – and more competitive.

Armed with a smartphone, recruiters can access online information, email and texts wherever they are. This means they can react quickly to developments during the process of making a placement and update candidates and clients easily and efficiently.

They can also raise their profile by putting information about their company online, which means more candidates and clients seek out their services.

Even better, they can save time and increase their chances of finding the best recruit by using online filtering programs to scan CVs and job applications for key words, or by getting candidates to fill in online psychometric tests.

Social media is another phenomenon that recruiters now ignore at their peril. Forget newspapers and magazines, most young professionals use Facebook and Twitter more to upload personal or general information. This makes social media a great source of potential talent and a foolproof way for recruiters to engage with job candidates.

But, while communication has arguably become continuous and easy, it is less personal. There’s a trend to use email or texting rather than speak on the telephone as it is quick and succinct. Similarly, more impersonal video interviews are increasingly used to cut down traveling time and cost.


So which is best?

Ironically, both traditional and modern recruitment methods are trying to achieve the same ends, which is to communicate with jobseekers and employers.

The undisputed benefit of modern recruiting is that communication is faster and the giving and receiving of information, updates and feedback is immediate and easy. Today’s job candidates are glued to their smartphones and tablets, so it makes sense that recruiters are switched on, too.

Even better, in today’s frenetic world online filtering programs save time in sifting through hundreds of CVs in a competitive employment market. Online psychometric tests are also a more scientific method of finding top performers. In the modern business climate, clients want to look beyond qualifications to assess behavioural patterns, drivers and so on. Old recruitment methods simply can’t deliver this, although the final face-to-face interviews to ensure candidates have the personal attributes needed to do the job can never be replaced.

In short, clients are coming to rely on these new, slicker recruitment techniques, so they are certainly here to stay. But they should complement the traditional, more personal methods, rather than replace them. Certainly, you need to spend time with your clients if you are to understand their business.  Equally, you need to meet with candidates to gain a personal knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses for when that dream job comes along.

It’s really a case of taking the best of both worlds …

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