Chris Murdock: Reflecting on My 20 Years in Recruiting

Chris Murdock: Reflecting on My 20 Years in Recruiting

This October, I will celebrate 20 years in recruiting. That’s a long time and I’ve seen a lot of things change in research, sourcing, professional recruiting and executive search. Over the course of this year, I will write a few blog posts sharing what’s changed since I got started in TMP Worldwide’s Retail Executive Search practice, f.k.a. Lemming/LeVan.

The innovations in #recruiting that have come out in the last 5 years have made us more efficient, more productive and less prone to paper-cuts. Read more from @cmurdock: Click To Tweet

I remember my first week on the job like it was yesterday. Lemming/LeVan had just been acquired by TMP Worldwide, the parent company of Monster.com. The firm had just made the switch to FileFinder and they were still using note cards sorted in maybe six 3×5 card catalog cabinets. For those of you under 30, here’s an example:

Recruiting files in cabinet
As each of the partners had a call, we would grab the candidate record from the cabinet and then update and/or create their profile in FileFinder. Once they were fully integrated with TMP, they used their database which had a lot more people in it. I vaguely remember them using Encore by Cluen.

Pre-Google Recruiting

As the Research Assistant, my job was to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Back then, there wasn’t really a Google to google on. We had Altavista and DogPile. We also had paper directories. Specifically, we used the 3 or 4 directories put out by The Chain Store Guide. Again, for those of you under 30, here’s a picture:

Pre google recruiting
Think of it as a large volume of text relative to a phone book. But again, I’m thinking that a lot of people don’t know what that is and I’ve aged myself yet again.

Tangible recruiting materials
If a client needed a Wool Buyer, I would use a ruler and scan each page line by line looking for anything related to wool. My eyes and brain were the original search window and boolean search string. I would scan the pages looking for wool, sweaters, scarves, suits and various other words. I would type the names into a spreadsheet and then call into the operators at the various retailers and get the email addresses and phone numbers for these people. Most of the time, they were provided freely and without question. Today, this wouldn’t happen. Heck, it’s rare to get a live person when you call into company HQs.

At the end of my first year, The Chain Store Guide put out a CD ROM version of their databases which wasn’t much better than scanning the pages of the paper directory. The search functionality was archaic when you compare it to what we can do today. It was slow because computers were slow and you had to search for each word versus multiple words in a single field. That’s right, you couldn’t use ‘OR’ or ‘AND’ in your searches. Of course, now the Chain Store Guide is online and fully searchable.

If you’ve only been in #recruiting for last 5 years, you don’t know how good you have it. See how recruiting has changed from @cmurdock, Senior Partner at @IQTalent: Click To Tweet

Adapt to Survive

The Chain Store Guide, like recruiters, has adapted as technology has changed. Too many vendors don’t adapt and they get pushed aside for tools that have kept pace or accelerated change. Recruiters and Sourcers that don’t adapt may also find themselves getting pushed aside.

I’m now about to come across as an old curmudgeon, but if you’ve only been in recruiting for the last 5 years, YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW GOOD YOU HAVE IT! The innovations that have come out in just the last 5 years have made us more efficient, more productive and less prone to paper-cuts.

So in conclusion, get off my lawn and where’s my Geritol?

blog cta with group of diverse people collaborating on computer