28 January 2020

How recruitment has changed over the past decade


For years, the recruitment industry remained fairly static in its approach to hiring. The steps recruiters were trained to follow were routine: find a vacancy, place a job advert, screen the applicants, arrange an interview, and negotiate an offer.

Nowadays, however, that has all changed. Thanks to the growth of ‘digitalisation’ and the internet, the recruitment process has largely switched away from being in the hands of the recruiter. Instead, applicants have a lot more control over the opportunities they wish to pursue: long gone are the days of needing to respond to black and white ads in the newspaper.

In this article, we look at some of the ways in which the recruitment industry has changed over the past decade. From the implementation of technological advances, to responding to societal changes, let’s take a detailed look.


OK, let’s start with the big one: technology.

Over the years, technological advances have come around thick and fast, shaping the industry for the better. Back in 1990, the only means of communication between a recruitment agency and an employer was via post, telephone, telex (?!), or fax. Mobile phones didn’t exist, neither did email, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was only six years old at the time. It was a very different world!

Nowadays, it is possible to literally apply for a job on the other side of the world in just a few clicks of a button: that’s how far we’ve come in three decades. Recruiters can now utilise technology in every aspect of the recruitment process – from the initial application right the way through to negotiating the final job offer – and reach a pool of applicants they could have only dreamed about previously.

Social media platforms like LinkedIn have made it infinitely easier for both businesses and recruiters to identify talent. Likewise, the growth of job sites like Indeed, Reed and Glassdoor have enabled recruiters to consistently post job openings and attract an extensive number of applications. Skype and other video calling software have also replaced the need for face-to-face interviews, enabling employers and recruiters to get to know applicants before moving them on to the next stage.

As time goes on, technology is predicted to develop even further. With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), new types of software look set to be implemented capable of streamlining recruitment processes more than ever before. In fact, certain experts think AI will completely revolutionise the recruitment industry from the ground up, significantly improving a whole host of recruitment-focused applications.

From automating candidate sourcing and removing diversity bias, to improving candidate matching and enhancing language processing procedures, it’s not hard to see why AI is such an incredibly exciting prospect for recruiters.

Societal Impact

As time has moved on, so too has the generation of workers. Nowadays, graduates come equipped with a ‘millennial mindset’ – a set of working principles and values that differ substantially from the generations before them. In order to move with the times, the recruitment industry has needed to react, altering pre-existing processes to meet the requirements of a new generation of workers.

Millennials have grown up with the internet at their fingertips, and they know how to use it to their advantage. Today, if a worker decides they don’t like their job or place of work, they can just apply to a new one – wherever they want in the world. Many millennials also don’t understand why the traditional 9 AM – 5 PM five-day workweek still exists, and instead favour roles which offer flexible working or a reduced number of working days.

With this in mind, employers and recruiters have needed to respond, by offering specific benefits in job adverts or negotiating certain terms in job offers, to keep on attracting the best talent. There has also been an increased need to recognise that applicants don’t necessarily ‘need’ recruiters in today’s day and age, since the rise of the internet and social media has provided opportunities for direct access.

In order to combat this, recruiters have had to take a much more candidate-centred approach. They have also needed to move towards a more collaborative hiring approach; using a team of recruiters to make hiring decisions, rather than it being the sole responsibility of one employee.

Looking to The Future

So, what does all this mean for the future of recruitment?

Experts predict that, despite the dwindling need for recruiters, there will be a steady increase in demand over the coming years. This is because there will fundamentally be a greater need for talent and a reliance on overcoming the predicted skills shortage across various industries.

The rise of the internet may have made it easier to find jobs, but it has also made the employment landscape a whole lot more competitive. Therefore, employers will look to recruiters to narrow down the options, identifying the best candidates to put forward for their advertised roles. Being able to identify these candidates will, in turn, become increasingly reliant on the implementation of hiring teams and AI in recruitment processes.

Similarly, recruitment teams themselves will need to think about who they are hiring. According to statistics from LinkedIn, the coming five years could see a huge shift in the exact role of the recruiter. There is predicted to be a much bigger need for specialists in marketing, talent analytics and tech especially, for example.

Therefore, by the time 2030 rolls around, the recruitment landscape could look a whole lot different to how it does right now. But one thing’s for sure – it’s definitely not going away any time soon.

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Dakota Murphey

Dakota Murphey has over a decade of experience in numerous HR and Marketing roles. Since becoming a full-time Mum, she enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge through her writing and connecting with like-minded professionals.

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