A Nostalgic Approach to Many Years in Recruitment

Elaine McCrink

About a month ago, I had a big birthday. I can’t reveal my age – as no lady should – but let’s just say it started with a 5 …

It got me thinking about the amount of time I have spent in Insurance recruitment and how things have changed over the years. Specifically, over the past year, we’ve all had to adapt and pick up new technology along the way.

In both the insurance world and the recruitment world, we’ve always had to respond to the way our clients and candidates want to interact with us.

So, I thought it might be nice to reflect on all the things that have changed since I was a young ingenue, ready to make my mark on the Scottish Insurance market.

Sending CVs via fax

Back in the good old days, emails were something out of a science fiction novel. We sent all of our CVs via a fax machine. Sure, it made things a bit sketchy and blurry but it saved you making a photocopy and physically running round to a client’s office.

Tippex

Of course, if any of your vital documents had an error in them, this had to be remedied. Good old Tippex. It didn’t remotely match the colour of paper and, more often than not, the bottle was really old and dry, creating more mess and chaos than you had ever intended.

Desk phones

Of course, desk phones still exist. But we are all becoming increasingly reliant on our mobiles – especially while we’ve all been at home. Go back a few years and, if you weren’t at your desk and your phone rang, your client and contact had no other method of getting in touch with you. No email, no mobile, nothing!

Waiting on the dial up modem

“Can you get off the phone, I need to use the Internet!” A common battle cry in the 1990s, when you needed the phone lines to be free in order to access the limited Internet that there was. I was probably desperate to get on Ask Jeeves whilst a colleague was frantically making a BD call based on what she’d found in the Yellow Pages.

No LinkedIn or Google

Google wasn’t a major part of your Internet usage until 1998 whilst everyone’s favourite networking and headhunting site, LinkedIn, didn’t make an appearance until 2003. How on Earth did recruiters get anything done without these two major staples? We couldn’t even look up the address of a client …

Using the Yellow Pages

… Which brings me neatly on to using a phone book. I’m not sure print editions of these even exist anymore. But, if you wanted a new client to call, you looked them up in the phone book, where you’d find their business address and a general switchboard number. It wasn’t great for getting through to the right person, but it was better than nothing.

Using a Rolodex

If you did manage to find the right person to speak to during your hours scouring the phonebook, it made sense to keep a note of their name, number and address (physical, not email). So any good recruiter worth their salt invested in a Rolodex (or a little black book) to keep all their contacts safe. And forget about “back up servers”, we had lever arch files …

That being said, there are plenty of things in recruitment that will never change. Namely, the thrill of being able to tell a candidate that they’ve landed that dream job or helping a client expand their team and realise their ambitions.

Here’s to many more years of embracing the new.

If you have a talent requirement in the Insurance industry, or you would like to talk to me confidentially about career opportunities, click here to drop me an email and get in touch.

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