Recruitment has changed tremendously over the past 25 years. It has always been a fast-paced industry, but technology has accelerated it even further. Online and web-based platforms such as job boards and Vendor Management Systems (VMS) didn’t exist when we started. Today, they’re almost old hat.
I feel sentimental for the days when we hand delivered CVs to our clients’ offices, driving around Aberdeen in the “company car” which was my second-hand red Citroen. Today, we embrace the speed and efficiency advantages of technology, indeed our younger team members have only ever known a working life with email, apps and social media.
In an industry that’s all about people, technology can also detract from a good recruitment experience though. Online resourcing without human interaction feels isolating and the lack of follow up or a courteous response can be soul destroying. We started the business because we wanted to offer a personal service based on good communication and trust. These principles are still how we differentiate ourselves today.
The first challenge we faced when starting up was what we would call ourselves. At that time our focus was exclusively on accountancy and finance recruitment, so we toyed with the idea of Abacus Recruitment, but whether it was foresight or just a realisation that the name wasn’t that unique – or great – we quickly dismissed it and opted instead for a more personal option – our names.
The adaptability of the name became even more pertinent when Amanda McCulloch joined Judith and me as Chief Executive and Thorpe Molloy McCulloch Recruitment transitioned into TMM Recruitment.
It’s not only our name that’s changed. The scope and range of jobs we’ve recruited for over the years have adapted and evolved, just as the economy and sectors which drive it have. Back in 1997 there were no jobs that specified “digital skills” as a requirement – now there are few jobs that don’t. There was no appetite for transferable skills either – no looking outside the box at what candidates from other sectors might bring to a role.
Fast forward, and transferable and cross sectoral skills are sought after. Now recruitment is much more than a straight matching of formal skills. Reducing bias and identifying soft skills, leadership skills and diversity of thought are all part of the resourcing mix as employers have a greater appreciation of what drives performance, productivity, and profitability.
There has been a change in candidate expectations. It’s not just about salaries. People are much more aware of the importance of pensions, benefits and working patterns which suit their lifestyles and career aspirations. They’re interested to understand how an employer will invest in their individual development just as much as how that employer contributes to the community in which it operates.
In the next 25 years we’ll be recruiting for jobs which don’t exist today, perhaps in sectors not yet created. Change is inevitable, it is to be welcomed, but my sincere hope is that there will be a constant element too: that the human aspect of good recruitment, the listening, curiosity, understanding, questioning, communicating and empathising, will always be valued.