Keeping pace with a fast-moving industry

The business world moves at a much faster pace than when Just Recruitment started 35 years ago. Here’s how the recruitment industry has evolved to keep up.

By Tim Gibson

Wind the clock back three decades and the world seemed to turn at a very different pace. Although they existed, email and the internet were by no means in widespread use, and social media would have sounded like an idea from science fiction.

It’s a similar story with tablets and smart phones, the antecedents of which appeared in fantasy TV series like Star Trek and Buck Rogers, giving every impression of being utterly otherworldly.

All of which goes a long way to explaining why the speed business transactions moved at was considerably slower back in the 1980s. Because everything happened at a steadier pace, no one had a choice in the matter.

“I don’t think it’s the case that we did things particularly slowly back then,” reflects Jenny Wrightson, who founded Just Recruitment Group Ltd in 1983. “We were always working to optimum efficiency. It’s rather that everything can happen so much more quickly and seamlessly in the 21st century. And what we’re seeing is that there’s a whole generation that has been brought up in the digital age, and therefore has no patience for processes that don’t happen in lightning-quick fashion.”

This has profound implications for a business such as Just Recruitment, especially as so many of the candidates it works with are of the millennial or “digital native” generation.

“We find that many of the people we’re looking to place in jobs are accustomed to instant communications,” Mrs Wrightson continues. “If they express an interest in a job, they expect to receive further details in the time it takes for one of our consultants to reply to an email. Likewise, they expect to be interviewed in a matter of days, and even to be in post within a week or so.”

Fortunately, technology exists that enables Just Recruitment to meet these expectations – which is good news for candidates and employers alike. The sophisticated job-matching software employed by the company uses a massive database to cross-refer candidates with opportunities, enabling an almost instantaneous identification of vacancies for which they may be suitable.

“Contrast that to 30 years ago and you’ll get a sense of how far things have moved on,” says Mrs Wrightson. “When we started out, a candidate would come to our offices and have their CV typed by one of our staff. This would then be photocopied, shared around the agency and posted out to prospective employers. If a match was identified, the process of shortlisting and interviewing candidates could last as much as a couple of months. Which means a quarter of a year could easily elapse between us meeting a candidate and them starting in a new role.”

Now, Mrs Wrightson says it is possible for a candidate to make contact with Just Recruitment in the morning and have a job lined up by the close of play. In some cases, they will even report for duty the next day.

“Obviously, some appointments take longer to fill,” she declares, “especially for more senior positions. But a lot of the opportunities we handle on behalf of clients can be filled in no time at all, and it’s all thanks to the speed at which the digital world operates.”

Alongside big-data-munching job-matching software and speedy modern communications, it is fair to say the processes employed by the recruitment industry have evolved, as organisations like the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and initiatives like the Recruitment Industry Benchmarking (RIB) index recognise.

“With the emergence of social networks like LinkedIn, it’s possible to be far more proactive about finding candidates for roles,” observes Mrs Wrightson. “We can develop a profile of a candidate before we’ve even met them, and that greatly improves the efficiency of matching people to opportunities.”

This speaks of a bilateral enhancement to the recruitment process: on the one hand, technology enables candidates to find jobs more easily, and on the other, it enables recruiters to locate suitable candidates with greater alacrity.

“The net result is an industry that’s global, highly efficient and very fast-moving,” concludes Mrs Wrightson. “The nuts and bolts of recruitment are the same as they ever have been, especially the soft skills required by effective recruitment consultants. But yes, the speed at which things move has rocketed. As technology continues to advance, we’re only going to see even greater sophistication in the way jobs are filled, making it a very exciting industry to be a part of.”

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2018

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