How Technology Has (And Hasn’t) Changed Recruiting

Bristol Updates

Me at my desk back in 1995

Having been an executive recruiter for over 25 years, I can attest to the fact that developments in technology have vastly affected the recruiting industry. The process of recruiting has become faster and  more effective thanks to advancements in technology such as… the computer! Yes, I was recruiting before our office had computers. More recent advancements like LinkedIn and databases have also contributed to my ability to recruit highly qualified candidates and serve the needs of my clients better than before. In this post I’d like to explore how technology has changed recruiting over the years- and what has stayed the same.

Back in 1989 when I started at Bristol Associates, our main recruiting tool was the telephone. We would call passive candidates and companies to gain leads and referrals. We had file cabinets filled with paper resumes, which soon enough would be replaced by our electronic database. We were given quotas for how much time we had to spend on the phone each week to ensure we were reaching out to as many people as possible. Today this seems crazy because we have a wider access to candidates and clients thanks to the internet, but back then it was the best way to develop those business relationships. Soon the fax machine was making it easy to instantly send and receive documents and resumes, streamlining the process even further.

Former Bristol Associates Owners Jim Bright and Lucy Farber busy on the phone in 1982

These days the process of recruiting is heavily reliant upon technology. A major technological update in recruiting has been our database that includes candidates whom I have come in contact with along the way. Gone are the days of searching through a rolodex or file cabinet, all our records are computerized now. I also use LinkedIn every day and it’s a key resource to find candidates in a much easier and streamlined way. Being able to search by keyword, job title, location, and other criteria narrows down a pool of candidates in a matter of seconds.

That being said, these technological advances have created a new challenge for recruiters- we now must focus more on building relationships than ever before. It’s no longer the case that a recruiter has their own individual rolodex with personal contacts, LinkedIn is everyone’s “giant rolodex”. Therefore, it’s even more important to stand out and build personal connections with candidates when they are getting bombarded with messages from competing recruiters. In this “candidate driven” market, candidates will turn to the recruiter they trust for their job search, not just anyone they are “connected” to on LinkedIn.

The core concept of recruiting has remained the same: it’s about building relationships. The saying “The more things change, the more they stay the same” really applies to the evolution of recruitment. These changes in technology are meant to facilitate communication and streamline the process, however databases and LinkedIn can’t replace human interaction. Building relationships will always be the key to successful recruiting. The more technology has changed recruiting, the more we realize that these advances can’t replace good old fashioned human connection.

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 50 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; Hotels and Resorts; Travel, Tourism, and Attractions; Facilities and Concessions; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Restaurant; Hospital and Healthcare; and Nonprofit industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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