Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Nine Changes You Should Know About In (Advertising) Recruiting Over The Last Many Years

While everyone talks about how the advertising and marketing business has changed, few people write about the search business. I thought it was a good topic.
Companies Have Eschewed Recruiters For The Internet
Perhaps the biggest change is that all kinds of companies are trying not to use recruiters.  Rather than trying to negotiate lower fees, companies have turned to electronic recruiting, which does not work. This is especially true of people under $100-150k.

Previously, At Many Companies, HR did not do the recruiting or initial screening
At least at ad agencies, many account groups did their own recruiting with their own favorite recruiters.  When recruiters knew the people they were recruiting for and had direct contact with them, recruiting was more efficient and, frankly, easier. 

HR sometimes coordinated and tracked candidates, but was mostly removed from the process.

Obtaining feedback was often easier and faster. Getting feedback directly from the person who did the interviewing was really helpful and speeded up the process.

Recruiters often met in person with hiring managers they did not know
This gave recruiters a sense of who they were hiring for and enabled the company and the recruiter to make a mutual connection. Recruiters could actually question the hiring managers to determine accurate job specs.

If the client was out of town, recruiters sometimes went to see them or they spent a great deal of telephone time with the people directly involved with the search.

Before Faxes, clients relied on recruiters to actually do their job by describing candidates and giving reasons why they were right for the job
As a result, recruiters were actually held to a higher standard than they are today.  

With the advent of Faxes in the late eighties, the human resources coordination became more pronounced.  With that, companies started to see candidates based on their résumés, not on their skills.

Email made it even worse.

Even Though It May Have Been Illegal, People Used To Ask Recruiters To Find Women
Believe it or not, back through the early to mid-nineties, we often got assignments which, sub-rosa, asked us to find women.  Responsible companies knew that they were overwhelmingly male dominated and actually looked for women.

Today, the business, especially at mid to lower levels, is dominated by women.

Candidates Used To Have Much More Intensive and Thorough Interviews
It was not uncommon, even at the biggest agencies and companies for even junior candidates to meet the CEO or President.  Today, not so much.

I have written that the old Chiat\Day (before TBWA) used to have a candidate do a minimum of 9 interviews (my record was 17 interviews there) to insure that prospective candidates were a good fit.  While it may seem excessive, it went a long way towards insuring that candidates matched their culture.  Today, again, not so much.

Help Wanted Ads Were Still Important and Vital
“I got my job through the New York Times” was an advertising campaign the Times ran because their help wanted ads were a huge section of the paper, especially on Sundays.  Ad Age and Adweek also had vital job listings, as did every trade paper in the country. (I hired more than one recruiter by using Adweek.)  Help wanted ads have been replaced by the internet, of course.

Candidates Returned Phone Calls
Years ago, when recruiters worked for most agencies and had many job listings, when recruiters called, candidates almost always returned the call.  Today, not so much.  In fact, because most companies have stopped using recruiters except for senior positions, many people have no idea what a recruiter does or can do, so they do not bother to return calls or emails.  Today, a search person can call and email (at business) dozens of times before a candidate will respond, albeit reluctantly. The reluctance is that most have no idea what a recruiter does or can do.

Companies Relied on Recruiters As Trusted Advisors
Many companies used recruiters to help with business problems.  I can think of the old Messner, Vetere, Berger, McNamee, Schmetterer (MVBMS, now Havas) agency calling me to come over for a lunch to discuss how to cut down on turnover on the MCI Business, which was so busy that it burned out people quickly. 


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