Tamara Scott

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HR teams and recruiting managers have come a long way since the days of paper, faxed, and emailed resumes. In celebration of how far we’ve come, here’s a short history of technology in recruiting, followed by three major recruiting problems that recruiting software now solves.

Pre 90s: paper resumes, manual data uploads, inefficient and expensive job fairs. If you faxed your resume into a company, you ran the risk of it getting lost in the shuffle. Most folks tried to drop off documents in person to get some face time with the new company. Other than newspaper ads and word-of-mouth, companies had few ways of marketing to find new candidates.

1999: Monster.com and Indeed.com: these were the first aggregators on the internet. They helped people find jobs, but didn’t do a lot for the companies who were hiring. SaaS started to take off in the late 1990s when online apps moved to hosted services. Companies could now purchase software licenses and subscriptions that didn’t require an entire on-premise server and expensive technical assistance.

Early 2000s: Social media wasn’t a thing yet. People looked for jobs on company websites, and some applied through company web portals, but these were difficult to navigate. Company recruiting websites sent some data to databases, but a lot of those same websites still required users to email their data to the company. Job fairs where recruits could sit down with HR professionals and recruiters still happened, but were already on the decline due to their expense and low ROI.

2008: The financial downturn changed things for recruiting. With fewer positions to fill and many more candidates (and the ability for those candidates to apply to tons of companies at once), companies had to be more selective as they evaluate applicants. Social networks were growing, but their use as a recruiting tool was sparse.

2010- Today:

Several factors are changing the recruiting marketplace:

  • Baby boomers are beginning to retire and vacate jobs.
  • SaaS is on the rise again, building a second tech boom. The number of recruitment software possibilities is again on the rise, with both greater specificity in functionality and more inclusive systems flooding the market.
  • Social Media is becoming commonplace, with Facebook topping 400 million worldwide users in February 2010, and social networks exploding in the tech space.
  • Younger generations entering the workforce no longer use newspapers and classifieds to find jobs, but online job boards, social media, and company recruiting websites.

Recruiting Problems and Technology Solutions

Problem: Increased Noise in the Job Market

Young people entering the job market are tech-savvy and interact online for most of their day. Job fairs and in-person resume drop-offs are a thing of the past, but the volume of resume uploads increases. Finding the perfect candidate or even a handful of interview-ready candidates among the hundreds or thousands of job applications sent every month can be overwhelming.

Solution: Recruiting software provides intelligent search and filtering functions to help reduce the number of resumes that recruiters actually have to read for a position. No more flipping through a pile of resumes until experience or some other random unknown feature po ps out at you. Search for degree types, keywords, and levels of experience within your online resume database, and find better candidates faster.

Problem: Movement to Online Job Boards

Online job boards make life so much easier for candidates. Instead of spending hours searching through classified ads and hitting up your network for possible leads, candidates can search online databases of jobs to find the perfect fit for their needs. While job boards make it easier to find positions, they do little to help recruiters organize and wade through the piles of resumes emailed or uploaded to the site.

Solution: Online recruiting software streamlines the process to post to job boards and aggregate and sort the resulting resume data. Many recruiting tools now allow you to post directly to niche and general job boards through the app. When the applications start to pour in, the same recruitment software can scan the resume and application data for keywords. Many of these same tools also include email automation to respond directly to unqualified applicants or begin the vetting process for those who pass your rigorous requirements.

Problem: Aggregating Paper Resumes

Remember when job applicants used to walk into an office to drop off a resume and cover letter at the front desk, hoping they would bump into the hiring manager or some other important stakeholder in the waiting room? Yeah, that was really inefficient and distracting for everyone, huh? Especially the hiring manager or HR professional who got lost under a desk full of resumes.
Solution: In an increasingly electronic world, candidates may still produce a resume in a word processing program, but they probably won’t ever print that resume onto an actual piece of paper. The candidate will likely email or upload their resume to the company website, which includes a candidate portal linked directly to recruiting software. Even better, the candidate can sign into the company portal via their LinkedIn account, which will automatically sync all information with the system of record. No paper resumes, no electronic resumes, just really good data!

recruiting software

Image of Monster.com circa 1996


Tamara Scott is a technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice, a research company that connects buyers and sellers of business technology. She writes about recruiting and HR, marketing automation, CRM software, and many other technology verticals.

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