This week marks 20 years of being in recruitment and it is amazing to think what changes I have experienced in the industry. Being in digital recruitment now, the technological advances we have seen have been far outweighed what the likes of The Jetsons cartoon ever thought of in the 80’s! Instances like Covid have meant that we have all needed to become far more digitally savvy, but I have been reflecting this week on some of the changes I have seen in my time…
As a fresh twenty something graduate from Otago University, I started with a locally owned agency in Wellington with a suit paid for by my parents and the understanding that recruitment was something people did either for a very short time or a long time. I sat on reception to cover lunchtimes and it was then I quietly went through my call cycle to introduce myself as the new temp consultant and hope they knew where I was calling from! Email was only just becoming a business tool and as a result, as part of our service, we shortlisted candidates to clients by fax and then hand delivered hard copies all over Wellington! Print advertising deadlines always seemed to be upon us (Monday for Wednesday and Thursday for Saturday) and Seek was only just becoming a site people knew to look at for jobs!
Mid 2000’s saw me move to the UK and work for large International firms where the databases were huge, portfolios were extremely narrow, and targets were extremely high! Resilience is the word I would use to describe survival in this market as phones were often slammed down on you by clients, candidates were less loyal and email meant that whoever got the CV there first was the winner (no relationship necessary!). KPIs included outbound call times (min 4 hours a day) and quality sometimes felt like it was measured by the extra hours you did as opposed to what you got out of the hours you put in. Technology advanced to include LinkedIn as a searching tool which you could use to headhunt candidates for roles if you had a connection to them. I loved everyone I worked with as we spent some much time together (both in the office and in the Pub!) and have made life long friends but when Lehman Brothers crashed one September day in 2009 and the GFC hit, it was time to leave banking recruitment for the green, green grass of home.
Since being back in NZ for the last ten years, we have seen technological developments and automation that have streamlined how we work, giving us efficiency and overall made life a little simpler. Just think 4 months ago, if someone had suggested Zoom – most of us would have had no clue what it was! We are far more accessible due to the way we all work and sometimes need to remember things will not fall down if we don’t respond to an email at 9pm!
I wanted to write this personal reflection as we have seen so much change and will continue to see change. In NZ, we are lucky to say that we have beat Covid but I acknowledge the pain in the other parts of the world that it has caused, and to my overseas colleagues we care about you.
To all of those I have worked with, been mentored or led by and had the privilege of placing in a role, thank you for all that you have given me in what turns out has been a long and fantastic career in a role I never even knew existed at University. I cannot name you all personally, but you know who you are…
Whilst I can’t promise another 20 years (purely because technology will become harder for me to use than a TV remote) I can promise that I will continue doing what I love with the people I love working with both internally and externally.
To all the recruiters out there who are finding it tough right now and stick at it. It is such a rewarding career if you ride the waves. We got this!