Retro Recruiter – It’s back to the future

Some younger recruiters may not remember the welcome sight of a phone box in the middle of nowhere. Normally they were on the rainy side of the street and required a lot of u-turns. Invariably they didn’t work or indeed had someone in it who was in no hurry whatsoever – and when they did step out, would do so amid a puff of smoke.

If not remembering phone boxes, then certainly most recruiters will remember their first placement. I certainly remember mine.

My first placement was actually done on my second day in recruitment and that candidate, an Instrumentation Design Engineer, was called from a phone box.

My Mentor at the start of recruitment was none other than the early recruitment legend Alan O’Brien. He really opened the doors for recruiters and then the job was about selling the idea of the temporary consultant on an hourly basis under a deemed to be employed, contract of service. I am fortunate also to work closely with and under the wing of Tony Hewitt –  a Design Engineer turned Technical Recruiter (then called contracts manager – yes we created and signed our own contracts then without a legal team!). Being sent home with a folder full of CV’s to call, I didn’t want to admit to my new boss, that I didn’t actually have a phone installed yet, so armed with my lever arch file and thirty bob (£1.50) , it was time to find that trusty phone box down the lane. for more on your recruitment ancestors – then visit this post !

Recruiter in a PhoneBox

Certainly, as time went by then the mobiles came along that mostly ruined your jacket pockets and put holes in them in more ways than one. The ones pictured here are amongst the many I have called candidates from at all hours of the day and night – and I still have them today. Indeed these ones are on my desk.

I have many old phones, these ones on my desk, do you recognise any?

I have still many old phones and old technology I have used, these ones on my desk today, do you recognise any?

The future is just as in the past 

Since the early 90’s we have seen the onset of the en mass CV response from the job boards and today, it’s been pretty much the same model as it was since then, where on the Job board is just a list of cut and paste jobs waiting upon the hopes of the recruiter to be found or stumbled upon by the right candidate.

The candidate experience may not have been great in this model as recruiters got saturated with the response of course. Most recruiters around today, I’m sure, have grown up in this era of the mass CV but as that era now comes to a close, its time to get back to the future, to be closer to the candidate, just as before, just as the days of the Buzby!

This time we are armed with a multitude of tools and social channels, of course, depending upon where your audience hangs out, the opportunity must be great for those recruiters listening, engaging, learning and experimenting in Social, Mobile and Cloud. But don’t go shooting yourself in the foot like so many today.

One thing for sure is that recruiters doing well in the past were the ones that spent time listening more than actually talking and their good reputation did precede them. As such, the trust created and deeds done attracted great candidates and clients that remained for the long term. The ‘word’ gets around even faster today, good or bad!

The same is of the future, but this time with ears to the ground in social, the signal is amplified indeed. Hence today, although we are talking new words like Recruiter Brand, Employer Brand, Community, Talent Pools and Trust are all are not new.

For a while yet, someone is going to have to pick up that phone still.

It’s good to talk!

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