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How the Recruitment Industry has Changed

I answered this question on LinkedIN today, and thought our readers would appreciate the response:

How has the recruitment industry changed in the past 30 years?

The biggest change in the recruitment business has been the evolution of automation – software and hardware.  In the mid 80’s we had databases on “dumb” terminals that cost mid 5 figures for a small office to buy.  But, if you would code your candidates, paste their resumes, you had pretty good data.  More recently, we have the ability to connect with social media, which is incredibly powerful.

One of the most interesting factors will be automated candidate screening, which I believe ultimately will fail badly at anything above the lowest level of employment.  Candidates already know how to “game” the system, and build their resumes with carefully seeded keywords that will be found by a job site search engine or automated screening software.  So there is no reality, only what the candidate and employer “create” (keywords) to describe needs and capabilities.

Once you get to the manager level or above, objective analysis must be supplemented by subjective analysis (can the person really do the job?), and this can’t be accomplished by automation.  Ironically, the need for skilled recruitment people will probably INCREASE, as the supply of talent dwindles with baby boomers aging out of the workforce in the next 10-15 years.