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Recruitment Technology: Past and Present

In today’s job market, recruiters are challenged by the skill gap, expensive cost-to-hire, and the shifting online landscape. The market is flooded with recruitment technology startups, offering solutions to make the hiring process streamlined and cost-efficient. But what new technologies are going to stick around and change the recruiting game?

With so many recruitment technology options, it’s hard to know what solution is right for your company. By taking a look at the history of recruitment technology, we can gain insight into what the landscape is like now.

The History of Recruitment Technology

Recruitment technology is any tech that assists the hiring process, such as finding candidates, tracking and organizing applicants, and more recently recruitment marketing. There are other Human Resource technologies, but for now we’ll focus on recruiting.

The early recruitment technologies that shaped the field were ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and online job boards. The internet was a huge game-changer for recruiters. Suddenly applicants could apply via email, and the advent of the worldwide web lead to an influx in applicants. The greater volume of candidates had to be managed, and that’s where ATS came in. Early ATS automated the digital storage and processing of applications, and existed as internal programs in the companies’ computers.

Then, online job boards emerged in the late 90s. Now there was another way to reach candidates besides the classifieds in a newspaper. Monster, Careerbuilder, and Craigslist were some of the early job boards that are still around, with Monster and Careerbuilder still holding huge shares of the online job-site market. At their peak, the largest job boards were the only places worth going to, but these days there are multiple channels for recruiting, such as niche job boards and social media.

In 2003, LinkedIn arrived on the scene, heralding another major shift in the recruiting landscape. Now recruiters had access to a huge database of candidates and professional connections, whereas before such databases were proprietary. Greater access and connectivity lead to another increase in the volume of applicants. Recruiters could also reach out to people who hadn’t yet applied, also known as “passive candidates”.

Meanwhile, ATS was moving to software as a service (SaaS) web-based models, and being refined. Today, ATS is a very competitive space for startups. The recent changes make ATS more user-friendly and mobile-friendly.

Online job-boards, professional networks and applicant tracking systems brought incomparable changes and innovations to recruiting.

Current Trends in Recruiting Technology

Today, the recruitment technology industry is booming, but with so many startups promising to be the solution to your problem, it's tough to determine what will work for your strategy.

ATS providers are integrating other features to become your all-in-one solution. On a single dashboard, you can source, market, track, evaluate, hire, and onboard with technologies such as SmartRecruiters or Workable. Aggregating all the recruiting functions in one places means less time, and often less money, spent per hire.

The current zeitgeist is that recruitment is marketing. Recruiters are taking best-practices from marketing to entice candidates to apply even before jobs are posted, such as content marketing, branding, and candidate relationship management. New recruitment technologies are also automating job advertising, so you can manage your different recruitment channels in the same place.

For passive candidate sourcing, there are search engines that aggregate candidate data from across the web, such as Connectifier and TalentBin. There are also services that post your jobs across many platforms.

Analytics and artificial intelligence are improving as well. This means that gleaning information from data and sorting through applicants can be automated to a greater extent.

The technologies that are successful will likely be aggregated into all-in-one services by the largest HR technology providers. A service that has all the recruiting tools you need in one place will streamline your recruiting efforts and keep track of your multi-pronged efforts.

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