It must seem like an eternity ago to some of my co-workers, but I started in recruitment back in 2004. I was a raw (and young) graduate with bags full of passion and determination to succeed. Believe it or not, we still did use computers back in that faraway era, but of course so much else has changed.

A day in the life – 2004

My days used to consist of getting into the agency at 6:30 a.m. and reviewing hundreds of CVs that had come into my inbox overnight. For those who might not remember, you would typically set up a “CV watchdog” with a Boolean string that would bring CVs in text file format from some of the common external CV databases. You would easily have 200 or 300 to sift through on a typical morning with the primary aim of shortlisting a handful of candidates to speak with by no later than 8 a.m.! We were in a small niche market with lots of competition, so we had to identify, screen and submit candidates as early as possible in order to beat the competition. This was a heavily sales-oriented atmosphere where the successful person would need to be ABC – Always Be Closing.

We all thought we were working “smart,” but the reality was that you would have to work 60+ hour weeks, spending most of your time identifying relevant CVs and screening candidates, all the while knowing that your competitor may have already beaten you to it.

I remember spending several hours a day having to cold call front desks/receptionists at companies that were most likely to have the talent I was looking for and ask to speak to their software manager. This approach yielded less than a 5% chance of success as the gatekeepers were very switched on and knew our tactics.

A day in the life – Now

Fast forward nearly 15 years and, my oh my, how much recruitment and HR technology have changed! We now have resources such as LinkedIn and XING at our disposal. These days, you can very quickly determine and map out who’s who within an organisation. Additionally, with the clever use of some complex tricks known as X-ray searching via Google, you can carry out a deep web search to gain some valuable intel without even having to pick up the phone. Best of all, you can get some tangible results in a very short time. With the rise of smartphones and social media, it’s easier than ever to reach out to active and passive candidates.

At Cielo, we work with our exclusive SkyRecruit system, a massive technological advancement and a perfect example of “working smart” compared to when I started. We now have the ability to store large amounts of CVs, carry out extensive automated overnight sourcing, create talent pools, set up and execute targeted campaigns, record candidate evaluation forms and allow candidates to self-schedule interviews.

Compare the above to my days in 2004, and I am sure you will agree this is what “working smart” should look like. One has to embrace and adapt new technologies and make it work for them. If you don’t, then the likelihood is that the person sitting next to you who is 15 years younger will yield better results despite your dinosaur experience.

It all makes me wonder, though … what will recruiting look like in the year 2030?


Post contributed by Saj Haji, Senior Recruitment Advisor. Connect with Saj on LinkedIn.